A Disabled State

Today the debris of flight MH 17 is scattered across the flatlands of Eastern Ukraine where the sky rained bodies. It was shot down by pro-Russian rebels.

Henry writes:

“A nation is not a natural construct. Our nations were imposed by terror, sustained by terror and pride. Hatreds are ever ready to bloom in most states. Ambitious men stand ready to harvest anger. It’s never hard to implant the hatred of an enemy in the human brain.  This social animal is also a fighting animal.

If a state is weak, has little capital to share with its citizens, angry tribes will tear it apart.

Rich western states must remember this message too.

They may have more capital to share — roads, schools, hospitals, great firms and universities — but people get used to these things and take them for granted.

The most advanced countries are evolving into “market states”. A market state aims to be an attractive destination. It must be cool and fashionable. Large parts of any population are imprinted with a home, a country and a language. But the world’s cleverest people are mobile, making active choices about where to live, where to invest their

A market state must be a successful brand, know its strengths and weaknesses, shape its brand around them. It’s useful to excel in certain sports, to make films and TV that people watch in other countries, to be home to smart technology firms, to be visible.

It must take good care of its economy. The passive have to be energised by success and eloquent leaders.

There are always dangers and enemies. A market state’s armed forces may be small but they must be clinically expert.

Market states will continue to live in a world in which crazy people have the technology and weapons to hurt their citizens. Every day horrors are taking place. I think of them every day. Every day I feel the suffering of the maimed and the brutalised.

A market state must be ready to join effective military alliances, sometimes with much greater powers.

Failed states, disabled states, states torn by civil wars and terror — all threaten the prospect of a stable world.  Market states must also be able to field administrators who can create order and peaceful institutions where they are needed. Sometimes that will be by request. At other times it will not. The West cannot afford to lose any more victories.

Great new powers are still emerging. They will be a powerful attractive force. Ours is not their chosen model. A great emerging power like China hates the terrorist too,  but it does not share our values. Our best defence is to show that our values work. Our way of life and our values must win the case in the court of world opinion.

The Ukraine is now a disabled state.”

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