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Tue Aug 24, 2021, 06:24 PM

Sarah Chayes: Failing States?

Last edited Tue Aug 24, 2021, 07:44 PM - Edit history (1)

https://www.sarahchayes.org/post/failing-states

I feel guilty that I didn't know about Sarah Chayes before a few days ago. To add to the pantheon of excellent writers such as Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel.net) and Asha Rangappa (https://threadreaderapp.com/user/AshaRangappa_)


I write this post with the dizzying impression of having stepped into a hall of mirrors.

In international development circles, it’s fashionable to speak of “fragile” or “failing” states. But such states are deceptive. They are in fact run by sophisticated networks. These networks may be failing at governing, but governing is not their objective. Self-enrichment is. And at that they are highly successful.

Now consider the McMansions that have sprung up like growths around Washington in the past twenty years. Consider the properties in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, the pay packages and portfolios, the offshore bank accounts — and the no-bid tenders — enjoyed by executives of defense contracting and financial investment firms, pharmaceutical and fossil fuel giants, and the lawyers and brokers who service them. Under administrations of both parties, many of those executives have cycled in and out of government.

This is the story explored in On Corruption in America — And What Is at Stake.

What is at stake, indeed? Now consider the public policies these executives have influenced or authored. They include two lost wars, a financial meltdown that nearly brought down the world economy, an addiction crisis and a bungled response to a global pandemic, both of which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. And the destruction of the irreplaceable habitat upon which we depend for our very survival, which has reached runaway speed in the same two decades. As I write, heaven — meaning the earth — is burning. Or flooded out.

This is what I mean by “Afghanistan holds up a mirror to us.” How competently have our own leaders been governing for the past twenty years? Meanwhile, how successful have they been at achieving that other objective: adding zeroes to their bank accounts? Which of those was in fact their primary objective?

Given the consequences, are terrorists really the greater threat to our homeland?



Those are the questions that have been flooding my mind. I’ll return to them below. But let me first take up some of yours.


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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Sarah Chayes: Failing States? (Original post)
erronis Aug 24 OP
elleng Aug 24 #1
roamer65 Aug 24 #2
Jerry2144 Aug 24 #3
Irish_Dem Aug 24 #4
2naSalit Aug 24 #5
Irish_Dem Aug 24 #7
2naSalit Aug 24 #11
erronis Aug 24 #9
2naSalit Aug 24 #12
2naSalit Aug 24 #6
Hekate Aug 24 #8
dmr Aug 24 #10

Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 06:28 PM

1. Ditto, only saw her recently,

where? Rachel? Lawrence?

Thinking our systems are REALLY f****d.

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 06:30 PM

2. I thought it would be an article on Alabama, Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Are they not failing states?

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 06:36 PM

3. I have so many zeros in my bank account

Too bad they are to the left of the tens digit and not between a one and the decimal point. I’d be happy with only four zeros between that 1 and the decimal point instead of the usual one or two zeros.

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 06:37 PM

4. American corruption has lead to the US being a failed state.

This article is spot on.

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 07:23 PM

5. It is.

Sarah has been correct about this for decades. I remember her being one of my favorite reporters for NPR and was bummed when she left. A few years later, when I saw some lengthy teevee report about her, I was glad that she made that choice.

Remaining in media would have been a waste of her gifts.

She is one of the most articulate, realistic and informed voices in our world and we should listen to her wise words and contemplate the answers to her questions for they are there to teach us something.

I am glad her voice is getting more volume of late, hope it continues to grow. And I hope people see the value of her argument.



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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #5)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 07:29 PM

7. First time I have heard of her. I am impressed.

Yes I hope people read her article and start waking up to what is happening here in the US.

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #7)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 07:53 PM

11. And I am glad she is speaking up.

I browsed her web site and it appears it has only been up since 2018. Funny thing, she came to mind in the early hours of the fall of Kabul, I wondered where she was and what she was thinking about this whole thing. And suddenly, there she was in an interview that I missed 90% of and now mentioned on DU the past day or two.

I'm glad more are finding out about her and her experiences.

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #5)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 07:42 PM

9. Thank you for that historical perspective. Too many bright people, intelligent voices aren't

amplified enough.

"On Corruption In America" is coming to roost on my groaning bedside table.

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Response to erronis (Reply #9)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 07:54 PM

12. For more info...

Truly, this is a great woman of our time. Check out her Bio... https://www.sarahchayes.org/

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 07:24 PM

6. K&R

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 07:35 PM

8. KnR

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Aug 24, 2021, 07:52 PM

10. She was interviewed on Morning Joe yesterday

I was very impressed. She is very informative and credible, so I Googled her.

I came across her website, and have yet to finish reading. I'll get back to it tonight, I hope.

She answered many questions for me. I think I'll start reading her books.
https://www.sarahchayes.org/post/the-ides-of-august

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