There are probably few French elections in recent times that have captured quite this level of international attention, particularly in the Anglosphere. Certainly, the stakes are high, as two candidates with vastly different views on French identity, French values, and the role of France in the world square off against each other. Much of the attention is of course being driven by the electoral experiences of the United Kingdom and United States in 2016, wherein both countries – albeit in considerably different circumstances – took hard turns to the right, with campaigns driven by divisive rhetoric and populist platforms. As political turmoil continues in America, and as Britain faces potentially painful Brexit negotiations, the question on the minds of many observers is, ‘could it happen in France as well?’
Published March 22, 2017 | By J. J. Messner
Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, commented in a March 19 interview on Meet the Press, "Could I, as a budget director, look at the coal miner in West Virginia and say, 'I want you please to give some of your money to the federal government so that I can give it to the National Endowment for the Arts?'” This quote boiled down the general opposition not only to funding the arts, but also to funding diplomacy, aid, and development. It assumes, perhaps accurately, that the archetypal “coal miner in West Virginia”, symbolic to this argument, would ask himself “what’s in it for me?” when it comes to the spending of his tax dollars.
As we come together to celebrate International Women’s Day, we are reminded there are still many areas of the world where women and children face violence and insecurity. In Nigeria, sexual abuse and violence perpetrated against women and children remains prevalent in communities throughout the country. The Fund For Peace’s (FFP) Violence Affecting Women and Girls (VAWG) initiative, implemented in partnership with the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP), aims to break the culture of silence around gender-based violence. Through improving incident reporting and combining local knowledge with cutting edge technology to better understand patterns and trends in VAWG throughout Nigeria, the program aims to foster early response and preventative action. We work closely with civil society organizations on the ground in the North, North Central, Middle Belt, and Niger Delta regions of Nigeria to track the main threats to women and children in five key states. The following reports summarize these findings and propose practical steps that could be taken to help end the abuse and ensure the safety and security of women and children throughout the country.
Published June 24, 2016 | By J. J. Messner
As the dust settles on the historic Brexit vote and its effects, it is easy to focus on the near term, visible side effects. Even in the unlikely event that Britain manages to negotiate an association deal that is as good as being in the European Union, it will now no longer have a voice in that Union. There are also murmurings of a second independence referendum that could see Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to “Remain,” finally leave the United Kingdom and rejoin the European Union, thereby ripping Britain apart. Add to that the ramifications for Northern Ireland, or the renewed Spanish questioning of the sovereignty of Gibraltar. The immediate crash of the Pound and the FTSE forebode financial turmoil to come as trade between the UK and its neighbors is threatened with a significantly less liberal trading regime, which even in a best case scenario will see transfer costs increase. Further, there will be much uncertainty regarding the future ability of millions of British citizens to live and work easily across 27 other countries – or that of millions of Europeans who attend British universities or staff its hospitality, trade, and financial sectors.
In the early morning hours of February 9, 2016, in a sprawling camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno State, three young girls thought to be looking for shelter, were welcomed inside. What the guards who admitted them didn’t know, however, was that each was wearing an improvised explosive device strapped to her body. Minutes later, two of those girls were dead and, with them, an estimated 58 other victims, including many families seeking shelter from a raging insurgency that had driven them from their homes. An additional 80 people were badly wounded. Attacks like this have come to characterize the insurgency that has raged in northern Nigeria since 2009. Recently, however, data and research by The Fund for Peace (FFP), a Washington, D.C.-based NGO, indicates that Boko Haram has fundamentally shifted its tactics and its targets.
Published January 27, 2016 | By Sarah Silverman
The continuous contemporary news cycle alerts us daily to the mass violence and destruction carried out by radical and extreme violent insurgent groups, and the far reaching flow on effects. Groups such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) in the Middle East, Boko Haram in West Africa, and al-Shabab in East Africa, and al-Qaeda in both continents, have resounding impacts, both regionally and internationally. The violence perpetrated by these groups is spilling across borders in Africa and the Middle East, causing a migration crisis not seen in scale since the end of World War Two. With the world’s attention focused on border controls and refugee quotas, what has gleaned less focus is the response to returning defectors and the deradicalization process.
Published August 13, 2015 | By Sarah Silverman
As a result of ongoing and deep-seated conflicts – particularly those in the Middle East and Africa -- internal displacement is at the highest level the world has ever seen. With over 11 million newly internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 2014, there were a reported 38 million IDPs globally by the end of the year, compared to less than 20 million refugees who have fled beyond their borders. Of the world’s IDPs, 77% are to be found in just ten countries, all but one of which are located in the Middle East and Africa.
Published August 12, 2015 | By Logan Cuthbert
The term “Grexit” has become a mainstay of political and economic discourse in recent times, becoming a necessary shorthand for one of the most significant challenges facing Europe in recent decades. The Grexit example demonstrates a number of important concepts – first, that in our highly globalized world, the struggles of one country of 11million people, can have wide reaching implications, particularly to its neighbors; and second, that metrics such as the Fragile States Index are just as applicable to advanced countries as they are to the most fragile in understanding weakness and charting their trends over time.
The annual findings of the Fragile States Index (FSI) are informative, but really do represent only a single snapshot in time. It is significantly more useful to observe a country's performance over time. That is why the Fund for Peace has assembled trend analysis charts for all 178 countries, listed below. These charts include analysis on overall country trend; indicator trends, year-on-year and long-term; and comparable and relative indicator performance.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Fund for Peace releases its eleventh annual 2015 Fragile States Index, the spiral of state fragility, and the cycles of insecurity and poverty that come along with it, are exceedingly hard to break. South Sudan has topped the Fragile States Index for the second year in succession, as the country continues to be wracked by internal conflict, fractious politics, and poverty. South Sudan is joined at the most fragile end of the Index by countries that have long struggled, such as Somalia, Central African Republic, Sudan, and D.R. Congo. However, a lack of change at the most fragile end of the Index -- not to mention a similar lack of change at the sustainable end of the Index, where primarily Scandinavian countries continue to excel -- belies the significant movement of a number of countries over the past year and indeed the past decade.