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Weak Links – Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security

Stewart Patrick


Conventional wisdom among policymakers in both the US and Europe holds that weak and failing states are the source of the world's most pressing security threats today. The international community's leadership sees such states as an existential threat as well, evidenced in Kofi Annan's 2004 claim that “our defenses are only as strong as their weakest links.” This is not surprising. The most destructive attack on the US in its history originated in one of the world's poorest countries. Deadly communicable diseases seem to constantly emerge from the world's poorest regions, and transnational crim ... More

Keywords: security threats, communicable diseases, transnational crime, Index of Weakness, energy insecurity, pandemic disease, state failure, transnational insecurity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199751501
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199751501.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Stewart Patrick, author
Council on Foreign Relations