The world hacked by a failed state

What does the US illegal invasion, occupation and finally capture of Saddam Hussein mean? Someone who thinks the world is now a secure place under the unchallenged power of the United States is extremely misguided.

It rather shows that the world is living at the mercy of a failed state, called the United States of America. The world’s helplessness before the illegitimate use of the US military might is no different than someone’s following every order from a psychopath at gun point.

Although instances of states failure reach deep into history, the “threat” of failed states to international security has become a frequently used concept only in the last decade or so. The objective of over blowing this threat is to give legitimacy to illegal acts and occupations of the super failed state.

We find the US as a failed state by all standards: whether we judge it by expectations from a state or by application of any definition or indicator of a failed state, which could be rise in group/public grievance; uneven economic development along group lines; continuing economic decline; criminalization of the State; suspension or arbitrary application of human rights; loss of civil liberties; security apparatus operating as a "State Within a State"; or rise of factionalized elite.

A reverse state failure

Generally we consider states with collapsed power structures and state institutions as failed. One may wonder how the US could be a failed state when there appears no paralysis of governance, a breakdown of law and order, or general banditry and chaos in the state.

Actually there is a reverse phenomenon of state failure taking place in the US. It needs a shift of focus to see, that instead of an implosion of the weakened structures of power and authority, there is Nazi [1] Germany or Fascist [2] Italy like hardening of specific power structures taking place. The growing fascist [3] tendency makes these structures impermeable and inflexible to any pro-people changes. The US is not just slouching toward Gomorrah, as Robert Bork has written. It is rather slouching toward Rome [4]. Or we may say the state structure and systems in the US have become a combination and consummation of all negative elements that one could find in the most powerful but failed states of the past.

From Political perspective

From political stand point, instead of near breakdown of structures guaranteeing law and order, we witness strengthening of these structures in a negative way. The established institutions such as Congress [5] are approving shifts in the balance of power [6] away from the legislature and the courts to the state agencies.

As a result of this fascist tendency, the notion of the citizen’s inviolable right to liberty [7] –” the underlying principle of the Declaration of Independence –” has practically vanished [8] from the American political landscape.

From historical perspective

From the historical and developmental perspective other failed states might be affected by the end of the cold war which kept shallow-rooted regimes in power which destroyed traditional social structures but not long enough to replace them with viable constitutional structures. Deliberate acts, such as economic sanctions and deionization through mass media, are other causes to purposely fail target states from outside.

However, it is increasingly becoming evident that the more than 200 years of written constitution are no guarantee of true freedom, democracy or pro-people policies and systems in the US. To many Americans, they are living under executive tyranny [9] at the moment.

The signs are all around us. Cops are shooting citizens on the street who dare voice their protestations to policies benefiting corporations and harming U.S. citizens. The incidents in Miami are a recent example. John Ashcroft is rolling back constitutional protections in order to "protect" U.S. citizens from "terrorism". General Tommy Franks just stated publicly that one single successful attack using weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. could result in abandonment of the U.S. constitution and installation of a military state in the U.S. itself.

Repercussions for others

Due to the reverse phenomenon of failed states, most of the byproducts of US failure –” refugees, killing, mutilation, starvation, and other human rights violations –” are not confined within its borders. The tyrannical rigidity in the US political institutions will melt many other states before cracking itself into the dustbin of history.

This tyrannical rigidity is an invisible form of political decay that we do not witness in other failed states where the weakened institutions gradually melt down. This failure is not associated with a particular figure in the US administration or the president. It must be viewed as a process and not as an occurrence that could be reversed with the change of Clinton to Bush and Bush to someone else.

Negative sovereign state consolidation

The basic reason for the failure of the putative political communities of the past, such as Aragon, Bohemia, Bavaria and Saxony from the history of modern Europe, was that they could not complete the process of sovereign state consolidation. In the case of US we notice that the sovereign state consolidation has taken a negative turn after reaching its zenith, thus leading to many of its problems.

Both the elements of power and consent are essential for state success. In the case of US, the structure and element of power [10] have come too far to supercede the element of consent. Due to the extensive use of mass media for “manufacturing consent” in favor of the ruling elite, many Americans seem to view the sovereign as a legitimate authority and trust in its judgment. But the ever increasing coercive powers of the sovereign alone will never be sufficient to maintain a political order.

The negative consolidation favors elite. It takes majority at home in a tyrannical grip and goes for unprecedented hegemonic designs abroad. No matter how effective it may seem at the moment, legitimate it is not. And that is the point from where all the rot begins.

State-society relations

The state power in the US is gradually weakening as its foundation in state-society relations is slipping away with the exposure of more lies and deception by the government and with the growing awareness [11] about the exploitation of the system in favor of governing elite.

Strong political institutions are the linchpin of state success. In the case of US, however, the increased vested interests have completely insulated state institutions from the people, leaving very few chances of cooperation with the society at large or respecting will of the people.

Eroding state capacity

So in the progress towards total failure, two processes are going on simultaneously in the US: decreasing political legitimacy and increasing lack of state’s capacity. State’s capacity is not eroding in terms of addressing basic needs of citizens; its resources to address public grievances, or even silencing its critics. It comes under state’s capability.

Here we talk about state’s capacity in terms of its growing isolation from the people. This can be gauged, for example, from comparing public feeling in Italy –” where Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and the Italian cabinet paid respect to the 19 Italians killed in Iraq at official state funeral –” with the feelings in the US where administration avoids to even grieving the death of hundreds of American soldiers.

Smokescreens of economic prosperity

Within the US, the state is not governing its people. It is merely coercing them through different means, used by various despots at war with their people in the past. This is not a result of the lag in the development of political institutions behind social and economic change. It is, in fact, due to lack of integration and a pro-people approach.

Instead of integrating social and economic development with political development, the former two have been used as Roman circuses; as smokescreens to keep the people blind to the reality that political adventurism of the governing elite has turned the country into the most consummate police state ever existed.

Tyranny vs. security

A stable state is expected to provide a substantial measure of security to its citizens. Under the banner of providing security, the US launched different wars at home and abroad after carefully calculated dis-information campaigns. As a result of brainwashing the public into various kinds of fears, the state enjoys the monopoly of the authority to use all kinds of force; incarcerates as many people as no other state has ever done before –” mostly in the name of “war on drugs” –” and occupies many countries in the name of “war on terrorism.”

The US monopoly over the exercise of violence is uncontested. It acts as the protector of norms of political behavior that are not accepted by all important political actors and by the citizenry in the US general. A recent Al-Jazeera poll shows 75 per cent of the respondents believe the US is not acting sensibly.

State vs. government

We must note that the two terms, State and Government, are often get conflated. This is where the question arises: How can the US disintegrate as a state if one liar replaces another at the top or its agencies surpass Gestapo in their approach?

Actually the tyranny of the elite at the top affects popular perceptions of the state as well. This is why the movements that aim to change authoritarian governments turn into struggles against the very existence of the state although originally this may not have been the intention of those who had initiated such movements. Secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan is a classic example of a movement that started against the sins of a government and ultimately brought legitimacy of the state into question.

Political decay, thus, delegitimizes both the government and the state. The former Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union are prime examples of this phenomenon.

To day the Bush-must-go campaigns are gaining momentum in the US because the US government knowingly misled the nation into war after wars. It is not one person, George Bush, alone who killed Ten-thousand innocent Iraqi civilians. A couple of presidents and their team alone did not rain down an unprovoked blitz of over 14,000 Tomahawk missiles, at a cost of a million dollars each.

It is the US Congress and Parliament and all its agencies, a cluster of systems and institutions, which ignored international law. The state systems ignored the voices of 40 Nobel Peace prize winners. Against the state system the pleas of heads of all the world’s main religions lost their value.

Efforts of the groups such as America Coming Together (ACT) and The Media Fund, to oust Bush will yield not much because Bush is not the problem. He is a symptom of the systems and state that feel no problem at all in approving invasions and subsequently approving 100 billion dollars for sustaining occupations.

In this case the state collapse is a direct product of criminal behavior and total loss of legitimacy on the part of the US government. In this case it is impossible to disentangle the sources of governmental and state legitimacy, which is the result of a deliberate policy by governing elites. A careful reading into statements of the US administration helps one find how they encourage loyalty to the state, of which they themselves are the chief beneficiaries.

Exercise of power

The American state faces the fundamental problem that it simultaneously exhibits too much and too little regulation in the exercise of its powers. On the one hand, it has neither been able providing a conducive environment for political and intellectual forces to operate freely. Nor has it developed the necessary competence and capacity to interact freely with common man and to avoid using majority of its people merely for legitimizing rule of the oligarchic stakeholders every four years and for making money to finance their unparalleled hegemonic designs.

Threat to global security

Hegemonic ambitions of the US increase in same proportions as it nears its total failure as a state. This phenomenon is the principal source of international political instability in the post Cold war era which many considered would be the age of peace and prosperity.

The US is a failed state by virtue of the strategic incompetence of its leadership in having a role in starting three disastrous wars and because of imposing more than a decade long economic sanctions, which helped the world achieve nothing other than killing civilians. Its infrastructure, wealth and military power are not signs of its perfection but sources of global instability. They did not guarantee peace in the world. Instead these factors tempt its rulers to undertake further military interventions.

Keeping the failure of the US as a state in mind, doctrines of preventive actions against the so-far considered failed states need thorough reevaluation. It is absurd to read Robert I. Rotberg in Foreign Affairs magazine (July/August 2003): “Weak states threaten not only themselves but also their neighbors and even global security. Preventing state failure is thus a strategic and moral imperative. If nation building is done on the cheap, the war against terror will be lost.”

Weak states are in no position at all to undermine global security. Instead it is the strongest of all states that has failed and whose failure is threatening the world peace beyond everyone’s imagination.


It is the consciousness of the people, particularly the Americans, and their re-evaluation of their state to see if the US is going in the right direction; if just changing a president and his team every four years sufficient for course correction, or a mini-revolution is required to purge the system of loopholes and the worst exploiters of freedom and democracy.

Their acts of revolutionary opposition will eventually stop the tyranny at home and the new imperialist drive to war and domination abroad in which the sovereignty and independence of other countries would be destroyed.

It is the millions upon millions of ordinary people who have to triumph because the real security and real interests of the people of the whole world is in their hands.














Abidullah Jan’s latest book "The End of Democracy" is now available here .