Anatomy of a Storm: Regional Impacts of the Arab Spring

Published June 24, 2013 | By Nate Haken

Does state failure matter? Obviously it matters mostly for the population of that country, but even for its neighbors, the answer is a resounding yes. Chaos in a single country can often impact an entire region. In 2011, as measured in the 2012 FSI, Tunisia and the wider “Arab Spring” were the case in point. In 2012, Mali — the most worsened state in the 2013 FSI — dragged the Western Sahel into a vortex of instability.

Delayed Effects: The Arab Spring

Published June 20, 2012 | By Nate Haken

In analyzing the Arab Spring, metaphors matter. If it was a seasonal awakening of democracy we should throw open the windows, that is, welcome it. If it was a contagion of unrest, then we should board up the doors, i.e., control it. If it was a pressure cooker blowing its top, the response should be cautious and deliberate; in other words, we should manage it. The Failed States Index (FSI) does not conclusively answer the question of which metaphor is most apt, though CAST, the methodology behind the index would tend to preference the last one, with its basic construct of pressures and institutional capacities as a theoretical framework for understanding state fragility and failure.

The Arab Spring: Where Did That Come From?

Published June 18, 2011 | By Nate Haken

After having contracted by 0.5% in 2009, global GDP is now very much in recovery mode, with growth of around 5% in 2010. However, this does not mean smooth sailing either for developing or developed countries. In the last year there have been massive protests against governments’ economic stewardship in countries as disparate as Greece and Burkina Faso, illustrating the sobering truth that under certain conditions recovery can be even more destabilizing than recession.