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Executive summary

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Through the Rotberg’s analysis, failed states see their authority collapsed and it becomes difficult to ensure the security of the inhabitants that cease trusting. In other words, the social contract is broken.

The Fund for Peace provides twelve indicators which enable to assess the vulnerability of states at risk of failure. The different factors are social, economic and political: demographic pressures, refugees, group grievance, human flight, uneven development, economic decline, delegitimization of the state, public services, human rights, security apparatus, factionalized elites, and external intervention(1).

David Carment focuses on the causes of failure. With regard to the macro processes, the essential factors which are the authority, the legitimacy and the political capacity of a state may lead to failure. With regard to the state-society relations, state failure may result from the failure of societal values that leads to the breakdown of the political and social order(2). Finally, the micro-level perspectives focus on the interactions between ethnic groups emerging from the increasingly anarchy(3).

But when does the international community have to intervene in order to avoid failure or collapse? The critical decision point is as the local leaders are able to lead the state in a violent or non-violent direction toward transition or transformation(4). If violent, the international community should intervene.
This phenomenon of failure leads to state building. It may be defined as the use of armed force and international control mechanisms in the aftermath of a conflict to promote a durable peace and to restore the sovereignty of failed states(5). Rebuilding governance is the main objective in the rebuilding process in order to enable the responsibility to protect.

Both Kosovo and Macedonia saw their conflicts coming from the breakup of Yugoslavia. With regard to the most important criterion of failure, namely security, Serbia and even the Federation of Yugoslavia were not able to maintain a sustainable security and to protect citizens. Kosovo (as an autonomous territory) was declared as failed. This situation led to the failure of the others political goods.

Kosovo faced with social pressures relative to food supply; it faced with massive movement of refugees. Due to the previous failure, Kosovo saw its economy declining. As for the political indicators, Kosovo faced with the delegitimization of the regime, mass public demonstrations, the deterioration of public services, the suspension of the rule of law and the violation of human rights. All these factors contributed to the failure of Kosovo and the intervention of the international community. The results of the international operations were half-hearted.

Macedonia knew an ethnic crisis that blew up in March 2001. Macedonia crisis is a consequence of the previous failure of Kosovo. It created an Albanian ethnic population that grew and faced with the Slave majority. With regard to security and the political apparatus, the government was not able to maintain a sustainable security in the north of Macedonia. Because of the security failure, the economic situation collapsed. Though there were still difficult ethnic relations, the majority of the Ohrid’s provisions passed into law. With regard to economy, reforms helped the Macedonian economic system to improve and the situation began to stabilize. In the case of Kosovo, conclusions may be raised about the consequences of a non complete strategy of state building: there are still internal conflicts and the failure of the process led to the future failure of Macedonia.

1 The Fund for Peace, Dr. Pauline H. Baker, The Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST), 2006, 2 David Carment, Assessing State Failure: implications for theory and policy, Third World Quarterly, Vol 24, N°3, pp 407-427, 2003.
3 David Carment, Assessing State Failure: implications for theory and policy, Third World Quarterly, Vol 24, N°3, pp 407-427, 2003.
4 The Fund for Peace, Dr. Pauline H. Baker, The Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST), 2006,
5 Caplan Richard et Pouligny Beatrice, Histoire et contradictions du state building, critique international, 2005/3 no 28, P.123-138.

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