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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."

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