Why knowing about Failed States is a local concern

Foreign Policy issued its annual Failed States Index this week.

As usual, the report is depressing. It shows too many people living in areas that are chaotic at best. And with chaos comes violence, health problems and abject poverty.

So why should a LOCAL journalist in a LOCAL news organization care about the abysmal conditions people have to suffer through? (Aside from the basic humanitarian concerns we all share.)

Bottom line: Knowing what is happening in other coutnries is a matter of LOCAL concern.

Think about it…

When a government and a society fall apart, the number refugees skyrocket. And where do those refugees go? In many cases they come to the United States.

But the USA is a big place. Why the LOCAL concern?

The refugees have to go somewhere.

Who would have ever thought that the Minneapolis-St. Paul area would be ground zero for Somali refugees. (Somalia is #1 on the list.)

And just about every county in the the States has someone who has been touched by the wars in Afghanistan (#7) and Iraq (#9).

In the Western Hemisphere, Haiti is alone at #5.

In Africa, besides Somalia there is Chad (#2), Sudan (#3), Democratic Republic of Congo (#4), Zimbabwe (#6), Central African Republic (#8) and the Ivory Coast (#10).

With a little research we find that each of these “Failed States” has some sort of natural resource vital to modern society. And each country is a source of a large number of refugees.

Sounds as if there is plenty here for a LOCAL news organization to get a LOCAL angle on this international event.

Oh, by the way, Pakistan is #12 and Yemen, where the U.S. is also active, is #13.

Even China (#79) is seen as “In Trouble.” If that country goes, where will Wal-Mart get merchandise to fill its shelves?

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