The mere expression “failed state” implies a prior state of success. The apparent permanence of the designation “failed state” also implies that the multiple diseases that plague these infested places are also resistant to cures, from within or without.
However, states such as Sierra Leone and Liberia have been rescued from the brink of complete chaos. The same may not be true for others. This is not to say that failed states can’t be helped. But this always depends on the willingness of those who wield power in those states, to allow themselves to be helped.
Outsiders often encourage or help to mediate among those in the power circle to cede power. For some, these failed states are viewed as states suffering from a disconnect with the global markets which themselves may otherwise prosper had they been given the opportunity to have their innovative energies unshackled. The unfortunate reality in St Vincent and the Grenadines is that this state may prosper and perhaps excel if given the opportunity.
Unfortunately, ruthless dictators view economic and political freedom as challenges and threats to their powers. During his lifetime, Frederick the Great’s never-ending order to his subjects had been to “obey!” On his deathbed he remarked, “I am tired of ruling slaves.” Aren’t we dangerously close to this depraved form of arrogance in leadership in St Vincent and the Grenadines at this time?
Adolf Hitler declared, “Our divine mission was to lead everyone back to his origins, back to the common Mother, it was truly a divine mission.” This and the other commandments of the leader, standing in the burning bush of spotlights... compromise both law and virtue. His superhuman microphones gave orders only once for a crime to be committed, then the crime is handed down from chief to sub-chief until it reaches the slave who receives orders without being able to pass them on to anybody (Albert Camus, 1951).
Is there any wonder then that the level of homicides and other violent crimes in St Vincent and the Grenadines has increased exponentially over the last fourteen years? Every crime in St Vincent and the Grenadines today has its roots in the tone at the top.
The fall of the USSR ushered in a bedeviling number of dysfunctional states. The trend began in the 1990s with the collapse of numerous states, accompanied by untold violence, rape, mutilations and genocide, (Please see Patrick, FP. 2011). We may hope that these most extreme behaviours do not inhere in the Vincentian DNA.
However, take a look at India, Pakistan and Bangladesh pre-1947. Bangladesh used to be East Pakistan before it became independent with the help of India in 1971. The immediate past prime minister of India was actually born in what is now Pakistan and past President Musharraf of Pakistan was actually born in India. However, India has moved on, while Pakistan, loaded with nuclear weapons, lacks the ability even to secure its borders.
In the western developed countries, states such as St Vincent and the Grenadine at this time pose no immediate geo-political threats to the developed western nations; so they are essentially ignored. The reality is that most weak, failing states exert their threats primarily on their own citizens. When they cannot deliver basic services or basic functions, their citizens feel the weight of their brutality.
Countries in the highest levels of the failed state rankings face a much greater incidence of internal conflict, civil disobedience, and human calamities (both natural and manmade), evidenced by three major disasters in St Vincent and the Grenadines within the last four years. Of course, national disasters at times provide a bounty for irreverent corrupt leaders to gain political advantage through the help they receive from foreign aid donors!
Unfortunately, the world is not as interdependent as we would like to believe. Occurrences in the poorest, most marginalized and most dysfunctional states in the developing world very rarely show up as anything but a tiny blip on the computer screens of countries in the wealthier world. What happens in failed states, often stays in failed states (Patrick, 2011).
It is my belief, however, that the developed world cannot disregard failed and failing states such as St Vincent and the Grenadines, as these “nations” are the primary breeding grounds for mass atrocities against civilian populations, including situations that might merit armed intervention under the “responsibility to protect” doctrine.
Dane A. Bowman
Via: St Vincent and the Grenadines
Current Residence: Central Florida, USA