The online edition of the July/August issue of Foreign
Policy prefaces its entire Failed States Index 2007 bit
with the following three sentences:
The world’s weakest states aren’t just a danger to
themselves. They can threaten the progress and
stability of countries half a world away. In the third
annual Failed States Index, Foreign Policy and The Fund
for Peace rank the countries where the risk of failure is
Now tell me something. — Are we supposed to believe that quote-unquote weak states such as those whose capitals are located in Khartoum and Mogadishu and Harare and whatever really does exist today in places such as militarily-occupied Baghdad and militarily-occupied Kabul are threats to the progress and stability of countries half-the-world away from them? Or, rather, that one or more very powerful states half-the-world away from the Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Iraq, and Afghanistan (not to mention Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, Colombia, Venezuela,…) are threats to these countries and their many peoples, with the risk to other countries (i.e., to "international peace and security") rising or falling in direct correlation with the relative power of the states of this world to interfere with other countries beyond their national borders — sometimes on a global scale?
I mean, at what point does "Give me a break" become the fairest and most eloquent response to enterprises such as these?
Race and History (Homepage)
Update (June 28): Gabriele Zamparini, emissary of the excellent Cat’s Blog (see, e.g., "Dissent this! — Part 1: ZNet between numbers and parallels") as well as The Cat’s Dream body of filmmaking, just called to the attention of a bunch of us two "profiles" of Jerrold M. Post, the director of the Political Psychology Program at George Washington University.
Zamparini begins with these paragraphs from Reuters, and adds the gloss "Isn’t that great how science has improved and can answer even the most challenging questions of our time?"
Insecurity, "malignant narcissism" and the need for adulation are driving Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s confrontation with the United States, according to a new psychological profile.
Eventually, these personality traits are likely to compel Chavez to declare himself Venezuela’s president for life, said Dr. Jerrold Post, who has just completed the profile for the U.S. Air Force.
Chavez won elections for a third term last December. Since then he has stepped up his anti-American rhetoric, vowed to accelerate a march towards "21st Century socialism" and suggested that he intends to stay in power until 2021 — a decade beyond his present term.
But Post — who profiled foreign leaders in a 21-year career at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and now is the director of the Political Psychology Program at George Washington University — doubts that Chavez plans to step down even then. "He views himself as a savior, as the very embodiment of Venezuela," Post said in an interview.
So I turned to the Jerrold Post profile at George Washington University (D.C.). It contains a wealth of compromising positions. Evidently, Jerrold Post can whip-up a profile of any leader at the drop of hat — on condition that Washington seeks to destabilize the regime and the civil society that surrounds it.
Post "has devoted his entire career to the field of political psychology," it begins. First he spent 21 years at the CIA, where he "founded and directed the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior, an interdisciplinary behavioral science unit…." He was a "founding member of the International Society of Political Psychology," and is the current chairman of the "Task Force for National and International Terrorism and Violence" at the American Psychological Association. He "has published widely on crisis decision-making, leadership, and on the psychology of political violence and terrorism, and recently has been addressing weapons of mass destruction terrorism: psychological incentives and constraints, as well as information systems terrorism." Among the figures about whom Post has constructed "political psychology" profiles are Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Yasir Arafat, Osama bin Laden, and Kim Jong Il. And, of course, now Hugo Chavez.
Nor would I be surprised to learn — depending on the length of Post’s career — that Post has also profiled several of the following figures: Fidel Castro, Sukarno, Tito, Ayatollah Khomeini, Muammar al-Qadhafi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Manuel Noriega, Nelson Mandela, the Assads (father and son), Omar al-Bashir, Robert Mugabe, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We probably should toss in the leadership of Hezbollah and Hamas, too.
Looking up and down Jerrold Post’s work, it appears that any state or population targeted by the Super Insecure, Super Narcissists headquartered in Washington (with branch offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Jerusalem, Brussels, Ottawa, Tokyo, and Canberra) will suffer the most malignant traits of these regimes projected onto them.
Exactly as the Failed States Index works.