Foreign Affairs Article

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite


Washington's Weak-State Agenda

A Decade of Distraction?

Authors: James A. Schear, and Michael J. Mazarr
May/June 2014
Foreign Affairs


In his essay "The Rise and Fall of the Failed-State Paradigm" (January/February 2014), Michael Mazarr heralds the end of "the recent era of interventionist U.S. state building," which he argues lasted from the mid-1990s to around 2010. Washington's "obsession with weak states," he writes, "was always more of a mania than a sound strategic doctrine." But as budget austerity and public opinion shake policymakers loose from this dangerous distraction, he predicts, the United States will finally be able to focus on "grand strategic initiatives" and "transformative diplomacy."

Request permission to republish or photocopy this Foreign Affairs article

Read full article at

More on This Topic


What Would Nixon Do?

Author: Gideon Rose
New York Times

Gideon Rose discusses President Nixon and Henry Kissinger's attempt to extricate the United States from the Vietnam War even as the local...


Anyone But Karzai?

Author: Max Boot
Washington Post

Max Boot compares the U.S. decision to back the overthrow of South Vietnam president Ngo Dihn Diem in 1963 to signals from U.S. senior...