The United States’ Role in Stabilizing Fragile States

As the United States slowly withdraws from world affairs, a power vacuum is created, and in many instances is being filled by either China or Russia. In certain parts of the world, these two powers are now the dominant players. The largest foreign presence in Africa is now China (see China in Africa from CFR) while Russia expands its influence in the Middle East and the Arctic, among other areas (see Containing Russia: How to Respond to Moscow’s Intervention in U.S. Democracy and Growing Geopolitical Challenge, especially pp. 15-17)

In these fractious regions, many nations are “fragile states“, states teetering on the brink of failure, chaos, and dissolution. Can the United States still play a role in these tumultuous times? Can this country still be a factor even as the current administration practices disengagement from world affairs/responsibilities? Can the United States mitigate the desperate circumstances in countries where infrastructure no longer exists and presents a breeding ground for terrorism? Can United States “soft power” offset the economic and geopolitical inroads developed by China and Russia? These considerations are examined in the just-released report – Beyond the Homeland: Protecting American from Extremism in Fragile States. This is an interim report; the full report will be released next year. But this slim volume does present scenarios and how the United States can counter or engage them.

An interview with the authors of this report, the same men who chaired the 9/11 Commission should be perused.




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