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Jesuit Centre assesses 'failed state' threat to Australia

The Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre has released a briefing paper responding to the question of whether so-called failed states pose a security threat to Australia and western interests.

"This paper argues that there is very little evidence linking state failure with international terrorism and other criminal activity," said Uniya Director Sr Patty Fawkner sgs. "Such an assumption paints a misleading picture and can lead to an unhealthy policy obsession with pre-emptive military attacks and other forms of intervention in neighbouring states."

Sr Fawkner said this week's visits by Indonesian and Malaysian leaders remind us how sensitive this issue is in the region. The leaders have expressed their opposition to the preemptive strike policy stated on several occasions by Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

Australian Government assistance provided to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea within the past few years to reinforce law and order has been motivated by a fear that
the states may fail and pose a threat to Australia's security.

"There does not appear to be a strong correlation between state failure and some of the worst forms of transnational criminal activity like terrorism and money laundering," concludes the paper. "Where there is a link, state failure by itself does not necessarily account for the activity."

The paper, which was written by Uniya researcher Minh Nguyen, is available for download from the Centre's website.

Failed states: a security threat? (Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre 7/4/05)
Minh Nguyen: The question of 'failed states' (Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre)

8 Apr 2005