This chapter examines the continuity and change in U.S. policy towards failed and fragile states (FFS) in the developing world of Africa and Asia after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. We argue that with its sustained focus on security there has been significant continuity in FFS policy from Presidents George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump. U.S. foreign policy has largely focused on those FFS that affect U.S. strategic interests. To demonstrate this point, we examine and compare policy toward Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Pakistan. These three countries have been among the most fragile countries in the world and have received significant amounts of foreign aid from Washington in the last decade. Afghanistan and Pakistan are clearly stuck in a fragility trap while Ethiopia’s scope for improving over time is only slightly better. We also argue that geopolitics is playing a larger role in FFS, as Chinese and Russian economics and/or military assistance increase. The relevance of FFS for Washington will thus need to be increasingly gauged through the effects that these rivals have on core American interests in these countries.

Norman Paterson School of International Affairs

Carment, D, Haichin, M. (Mark), & Samy, Y. (2019). Failed and fragile states: The unfinished agenda. In Foreign Policy Issues for America: The Trump Years (pp. 175–188). doi:10.4324/9781351186872-14