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What do we mean when we use the term 'failed states'? This book presents the origins of the term, how it shaped the conceptual framework for international development and security in the post-Cold War era, and why. The book also questions how specific international interventions on both aid and security fronts - greatly varied by actor - based on these outsiders' perceptions of state failure create conditions that fit their characterizations of failed states. Susan L. Woodward offers details of international interventions in peacebuilding, statebuilding, development assistance, and armed conflict by all these specific actors. The book analyzes the failure to re-order the international system after 1991 that the conceptual debate in the early 1990s sought - to the serious detriment of the countries labelled failed or fragile and the concept's packaging of the entire 'third world', despite its growing diversity since the mid-1980s, as one.
Great Power intervention in the Balkans since the late nineteenth century shows a striking continuity in motivations, methods, and consequences. The article proposes that current intervention practices are largely a response to the Balkan theatre in the 1990s and thus institutionalise this continuity more than arguments about normative and institutional change since 1990 suggest. Three continuities are emphasised: the concept of a ‘turbulent frontier’ to explain an unintended dynamic of nearly continuous intervention, the importance of local actors' interests (the pull of intervention) alongside those of major power interests (the push), and the primary influence on domestic orders and cause of the ‘turbulence’ of economic relations.