For years my “day job” was being a university professor in political science and international economics. I’d often speak on the subject of “failed states” – countries in which the government had become so weak, while the economic and social problems grew so strong, that governance was no longer possible.
The danger then – and now – was from the power vacuum created by the absence of any real ability for central decision-making. Decades ago, the problem of failed states was a fixture in Cold War thinking.
But over the past several years, the topic has become relevant for a different reason: it’s now a chief concern in the fight against terrorist groups. The lack of any leadership is an enticing invitation for other groups to take over.
Today, for the first time, we’re seeing the two previously separate spheres of collapsing governments and states with (apparent) raw mineral wealth merge.
Specifically, failed states are now members of the OPEC oil cartel.