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remedial measures for state failure

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Men Honghua ♦

The end of Cold War was not accompanied with the end of security history. Though global war or war between/among great powers will not happen in the foreseeable future, the possibility of civil wars, regional conflicts and non-traditional security threats has increased, and domestic or regional insecurity has become the most important factor that affects international relations and national strategies of the great powers. In a world grown closer and more interdependent, the failure of one state can harm other states as much as, or more than a potential foe. Accordingly, state failure has become one of the most acute and devastating factors to regional stability. State failure, as a reality in the international system, cannot be avoided completely. There are four steps to attack the root causes of state failure: preventive diplomacy, peace-making, peacekeeping, and post-conflict peace-building, with the last three steps called remedial measures. Preventive measures are the most important to be taken for state failure, but we must prepare for remedial measures since preventive diplomacy often fails. Thus, remedial measures for state failure could be regarded as a key to safeguard international security and stability. With the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, the primary strategic premise of Sino-U.S. security cooperation disappeared, setting the bilateral relationship adrift in the last decade of the 20th Century. In recent years, China has promised to be a responsible great power in the international community, and has become a much more


Dr. Men Honghua, Associate Professor of the Institute for International Strategic Studies, Central Party School, and Research Fellow of the Center for China Study, Chinese Academy of Sciences & Tsinghua University. The author is grateful to Professor Wang Jisi, Professor Angang Hu, Dr. Banning Garrett and Miss Huang Haili for useful input on the ideas. The views expressed here are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Central Party School, Chinese Academy of Sciences or Tsinghua University.


active player in the international arena.1

China’s new diplomacy has established a Since September 11, Yet, this view is

solid foundation for further development of Sino-U.S. relations. primary strategic premise of Sino-U.S. security cooperation.

anti-terrorism has been regarded by many observers and senior officials as the comparatively short-sighted. State failure is becoming a primary source of international instability, and poses a strategic challenge to both China and the United States. It is believed that the two countries could benefit from further cooperation in dealing with state failure, especially state failure in China’s periphery. This paper discusses what kinds of remedial measures should be taken by the international community in dealing with state failure, whether China and the United States can reach strategic cooperation on this issue, and how they would cooperate in dealing with state failure.

Possible Sino-U.S. Cooperation in Dealing with State Failure
China has experienced remarkable growth over the past two decades, and the manner in which China will choose to use its power is one of the most debated topics in policy circles, where the “China Threat” and “China Collapse” arguments were once rampant. Countries always design their foreign policies according to their Since 1978, especially in recent understanding of themselves and the world outside.

years, China’s ideas about itself and the world have changed greatly. With further reform and opening to the outside world, China is much more confident in its own future and its role in the world, and, therefore, its diplomacy is more positive, cooperative and promising. China no longer regards itself a weak country, but a rising great power, and its new position in the international arena would provide opportunity and space for the extension of its strategic national interests. 2 Accordingly, Chinese leaders and policy researchers put forward a new concept of “China’s Peaceful Rising”, which provides the driving force for the development of diplomatic thoughts and the ideological foundation for a new diplomatic strategy with multilateralism and strategic bilateral coordination as the foundation. The concepts of “Peaceful Rising”, “China Opportunity” and “China Contribution” have become the labels that have transformed Chinese diplomacy from introverted to extroverted.
1 Men Honghua, “International Regimes and China’s Strategic Choice”, Social Sciences in China (Men Honghua, “Guoji Jizhi yu Zhongguo de Zhanlue Xuanze”, Zhongguo Shehui Kexue), No. 2, 2001, pp.178-187. 2 Men Honghua, “To Extend China’s Strategic National Interests”, Strategy & Management (Men Honghua, “Zhongguo Guojia Zhanlue Liyi de Tuozhan”, Zhanlue yu Guanli), No.2, 2003, pp.83-89.

“Not only does China now accept many prevailing international rules and institutions; it is also becoming a much more capable and adept player in international politics…. as China expands its influence and refines its diplomacy, it will also get better at identifying and promoting its own interests.”3

First, China has a clearer understanding of its own position in the international arena, and the objectives of its own grand strategy are more feasible as well. The position of a country in the world is always decided by its comprehensive national strength (or national power), and affected by its international objectives and the reaction of the international community. 4 China regards itself as a regional power in the Asia-Pacific region, but with heavy world influence; the objectives of its grand strategy are to construct and protect an international environment that is beneficial to its domestic modernization, to protect and extend its strategic national interests, to expand its international influence, and to establish a peace-loving, open, responsible and predictable international image. Second, China put forward “the New Security Concept” and put it into practice. In the era of globalization, security is no longer confined to such traditional areas as military and politics, but extends to other realms such as the economy, society, the environment and culture as well. Thus, cooperative security becomes the way to protect international peace, and common security the ultimate aim. In the past, China was worried about its own security, while at present, China’s neighbors and other major powers are worried about the security threat posed by China. Those are the very reasons why China put forward “the New Security Concept” which pursues mutual confidence, mutual benefit, equality and collaboration, and put it into practice by setting up the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and making contributions to the setup of Sino-ASEAN FTA. Third, as China’s diplomacy becomes more extroverted and Beijing becomes more confident as an active player in the international arena, China is gaining a new international image as a responsible great power. China participates actively in the development of global institutions, the construction of regional institutions, and plays a key role in Asian international regimes. In the eyes of neighboring countries,
3 Evan S. Medeiros and M. Taylor Fravel, “China’s New Diplomacy”, Foreign Affairs, Vol.82, No.6, November/ December 2003, pp.22-35. 4 Angang Hu and Men Honghua, “Comparative Study on the Visible Strategic Resources of America, China, India, Japan and Russia”, Strategy & Management (China), No.2, 2002, pp.26-42 (Angang Hu and Men Honghua, “Zhong Mei Yin Ri E Youxing Zhanlue Ziyuan Bijiao”, Zhanlue yu Guanli, No.2, 2002, pp.26-42).


China has become a responsible regional power and an engine of regional economic development.5 Fourth, China is active in constructing an institutional framework of full-scale regional cooperation. With steady economic growth coupled with its vast territory, resources, sheer number of people, with increasing international influence, China is guaranteed a future spot on the world stage as a nation to be considered in shaping the future of the Asia-Pacific.6 On the other hand, China’s record in the Asia-Pacific is relatively benign.7 In early years, China was a passive or reluctant player in Asian Starting in the 1990s, China began to actively cooperate with regional cooperation.

its neighbors in constructing regional institutions, that is, to foster and set up a cooperative and mutually beneficial regional order in the Asia-Pacific to clear up misunderstandings, ease tensions via constructive interaction, and to set down new international codes step by step. As James A. Schear observed, China has played constructive diplomatic roles in regional affairs.8 In sum, this new era in China’s diplomacy comes with a new understanding of China itself and of the world outside. Beijing's diplomacy is focused on fostering regional cooperation and economic development, establishing China as a responsible and major player in the international arena, and, of course, advancing China's national interests. In the security domain, China is adopting a defensive realistic strategy that emphasizes self-discipline and cooperation. China’s new diplomacy and its security strategy present a solid foundation for Sino-U.S. security collaboration, while September 11 became the turning point in the international security environment for Sino-U.S. strategic cooperation as well. The unipolar hegemonic order that the United States pursues nevertheless requires cooperation with other great powers, and to set up stable strategic relationships with other great powers would be a basic condition of “Pax Americana”. Since the end of World War Two, the United States has played a dominant role in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific as well. China’s rising power should not only be seen as a challenge to
5 6 7

Washington Post, Nov. 15, 2003.
Avery Goldstein, “Great expectations: Interpreting China’s Arrival”, International Security, Winter 1997/1998, Vol. 22 Issue 3, pp.36-73.

Emma V. Broomfield, “Perception of Danger: the China Threat Theory”, Journal of Contemporary China (2003), 12 (35), pp.265-284. 8 James A. Schear, “Remedial Strategies for Conflict Regions”, paper prepared for a workshop of the U.S.-China Project on Areas of Instability and Emerging Threats, Beijing, 23-24 February 2004, sponsored by the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations and the Atlantic Council of the United States.


American domination, but also as a new opportunity to establish a stable regional security framework through Sino-U.S. cooperation. Increased institutionalization of bilateral relations will ensure the goal of guaranteeing peace in the Asia-Pacific. In a word, the Sino-U.S. relationship is the key to the future security of the Asia-Pacific and the objectives of both countries, and thus provides the strategic premise of sustainable bilateral security cooperation. Fruitful Sino-U.S. collaboration in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear crisis can be regarded as a positive beginning. The current international situation is now undergoing great changes with the interweaving of both traditional and non-traditional security issues. Dealing with non-traditional security or “new security threats” provides an opportunity for Sino-U.S. strategic cooperation. Problems relating to terrorism, illegal immigration, AIDS, weapons proliferation, drug trafficking and cross-border crimes emerge continually, and the gap between the poor and the rich is increasing throughout the world. Under such circumstances, all countries should work hand-in-hand to cope China has been positively with the severe challenges confronting the human race.

supporting America’s War on Terrorism in many aspects, and anti-terrorism is regarded by many scholars as the primary basis of bilateral security collaboration. For the U.S., non-traditional security factors are emerging as threats to its security requiring urgent cooperation among the great powers. For China, with the transformation of its peripheral environment, multilateral security dialogue regimes (such as the ASEAN Regional Forum or ARF) are beginning to play an active role and traditional security challenges are increasingly under control, but non-traditional security threats are increasing.9 By playing an increasingly important role in dealing with non-traditional security threats, Beijing is connecting transnational cooperation with reshaping China's international image and deepening Sino-U.S. security cooperation. As Broomfield says, it is not America’s position to impose its will on China, but rather to cooperate with it as a legitimate partner in global affairs.10 Before the end of the Cold War, China paid less attention to state failure, though its experience dealing with state failure began long ago. State failure is emerging in Third World countries in Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America, and those countries have various traditional connections with China. With the extension of
9 Wang Yizhou (editor), International Security in Globalization Era, Shanghai: Shanghai People’s Publishing House, (Wang Yizhou, Quanqiuhua Shidai de Guoji Anquan, Shanghai: Shanghai Renmin Chubanshe), 1999, pp.265-284. 10 Emma V. Broomfield, “Perception of Danger: the China Threat Theory”, pp.265-284.


China’s national strategic interests in the whole world, state failure affects China in two aspects: on the one hand, it threatens China’s strategic interests; while on the other, it presents opportunities for China to expand its interests. appears to be a promising area for China’s diplomacy. The United States regards state failure as a serious strategic challenge. The inability of a failed or failing state to control criminal activities within its territory such as drug or weapons smuggling, money laundering, and terrorism may eventually transform that country into a haven from which the criminal or terrorist organization can effectively consolidate and expand operations. Yet state failure is a global challenge, which also requires global solutions. To deal with state failure successfully, we must attack the root causes of conflict within the failing or failed states and engage in preventive and remedial diplomacy. And we must do so multilaterally since there are few situations in which any country can act alone effectively. The United States desires the cooperation of other major powers in dealing with state failure, and shows great interest in state failure and failing states in areas neighboring China. Thus, Sino-U.S. strategic cooperation in state failure is possible, urgent and important. In recent years, the two countries have been undertaking positive cooperation in dealing with state failure, and China has played an active role in America’s war against the Taliban, in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq, in the peacekeeping operation in Liberia, in the North Korea nuclear crisis, etc. strategic cooperation. Promoting collective security via collective responsibility and burden sharing becomes a way of Sino-U.S. So state failure

Remedial Measures for State Failure
Dealing with state failure is a type of conflict or crisis management. We should be prepared for remedial measures, such as acting militarily with other states, when: the prospect of weapons of mass destruction portends significant harm to civilian populations; when access to resources critical to the global economic system is imperiled; when a regime has demonstrated intent to do serious harm to the international community; and when genocide is occurring.


The main patterns would be as follows: The UN plays a dominant role in decision-making, while the great powers and other interested parties play great roles in action. The UN is the most representative and authoritative, and the tenets and principles of the UN Chapter are still the cornerstone of international relations. preeminent international organization, the UN embodies world opinion. 11 and legitimate institution of the multilateral security system. The The UN is invaluable in providing legitimacy for state action and as the world’s UNSC is the core of the world’s collective security regimes, thus the most powerful On the other hand, the resolutions of the UNSC should reflect the realities of the international community, and will be affected by the considerations of great powers, especially the five permanent members of the UNSC, so some UNSC resolutions may violate the provisions of the UN Charter, and new international norms have been set down through this organization. The most recent practice of the UNSC in dealing with state failure has not only permitted the U.S. to apply various enforcement measures under a broad mandate but has also created a new normative, institutional and operative regime which far transcends the traditional method and which can be used to substitute for a collapsed system of governance without the consent of the state concerned. Below, this paper suggests remedial measures for state failure, including peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building, and the possibility of Sino-U.S. cooperation.

I Peacemaking
Peacemaking is action to bring hostile parties to agreement, essentially through such peaceful means as those foreseen in Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The main measures of peacemaking are mediation, negotiation, assistance and relief, sanctions, and peace enforcement if necessary. There are two kinds of peacemaking, i.e., negative peacemaking and positive peacemaking. Negative peace-making means to stop or prevent bad things from happening— weapons proliferation, wars, escalating military budgets-- while the aim of positive peacemaking is much more ambitious, i.e., to get rid of the root causes of state failure, to set up a political structure via the rule of law, to achieve social and economic recovery, to strive for post-conflict peace-building (or national building), etc.


Mats Berdal, “The UN Security Council: Ineffective but Indispensable”, Survival, Vol.45, No.2, Summer 2003, p.9.


Peacemaking refers to efforts aimed at high-level political negotiations in order to craft a political settlement, so its main measures are peaceful ones. In peacemaking, good offices of UN Secretary General and shuttle diplomacy by the special envoys of the great powers are common sights. In 2003, for the first time, China sent a special envoy (Mr. Wang Shijie) to the Middle East, and he has met and discussed policy coordination with the American envoy and the EU envoy. China has been providing aid and relief assistance to failed and failing states since the 1980s, which is regarded as an important means of peacemaking. Sanctions and peace enforcement have been adopted as peacemaking methods in recent years. In the 1990s, a preferred strategy of imposing economic sanctions was invoked by the Security Council as a means of peacemaking, including in Iraq (1990), the former Yugoslavia (1991), Libya (1992, 1993), Somalia (1992), Liberia (1992) Haiti (1993), UNITA faction in Angola (1993), Rwanda (1994), Khmer Rouge (1995), Sudan (1996) and Sierra Leone (1997). In many of the Security Council cases, the rationale for sanctions has been to respond to the occurrence of massive state violence either in the form of violations of human rights, or due to brutal internal wars within a failing or failed state. An examination of the outcome of multilateral sanctions, however, may lead to a quite different conclusion: that sanctions, not unlike other measures of international diplomacy or coercion, do little to deter or halt massive human rights violations or further state breakdown when it is in the offing or already occurring.12 As to peace enforcement, even with the best intentions, military interventions do not always have the desired results. China does not regard sanctions and military actions as positive means of peacemaking, but can provide necessary support for actions in the UNSC. Without China’s cooperation, some UN sanctions and military actions in 1990s would have been impossible.

II Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is the deployment of a UN presence in the field, hitherto with the consent of all the parties concerned, normally involving UN military and/or police personnel and frequently civilians as well. Peacekeeping is a tool of collective security that expands the possibilities for both the prevention and resolution of
12 George A. Lopez, “Economic Sanctions and Failed States”, paper written for Failed States and International Security Conference, West Lafayete, Italy, April 8-11, 1999


conflict. 13 The main force of peacemaking is civilian missions, while that of peacekeeping is military missions or multifaceted missions, including military force, armed police troops, civilian missions or election missions. Before the 1990s, the deployments of UN peacekeeping forces abided by the following principles such as, approval by UN members and all parties within the country concerned, neutrality and commitments to not use force nor threaten the use of force. The functions of peacekeeping include ceasefire observations, isolation or safe band set-up, social order maintenance and ceasefire negotiations, etc.14 Since the 1990s, military force has been used more frequently than ever,15 and joint military operations became the main characteristic of the second-generation peacekeeping efforts.16 The deployment of peacekeepers has become much more controversial, for example, UNIMOG gained no approval from Iraq, and UNOSOM gained no approval from the conflicting parties of Somalia. That is to say, the UNSC employed peace-enforcement measures rather than the sanctions which the wording of the Charter specifically empowers it to impose. On the other hand, peacekeeping was used to deal with internal disputes and affairs of certain countries. As far as state failure is concerned, the Security Council, acting in accordance with its own practice, can intervene to restore internal order, if necessary by military force, as soon as the threshold of a threat to peace under Article 39 of the Charter is reached. In such an eventuality, the Security Council is not obliged to obtain the consent of the state concerned. The mandates of peacekeeping have expanded, from maintaining security in the narrow peacekeeping sense to: securing transport infrastructure installations; preserving safe areas which it has established for the civilian population; demobilizing armed forces; developing and consolidating the economic and social infrastructure; reforming governmental and constitutional structures;17 and even to taking over the administrative power of a state. Accordingly,

An Agenda for Peace: Preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-keeping, Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council, A/47/277 - S/24111, June 17 1992. 14 Men Honghua, The Altitude of Peace: A Study on UN Collective Security Regimes, Shanghai: Shanghai People’s Publishing House (Men Honghua, Heping de Weidu: Lianheguo Jiti Anquan Jizhi Yanjiu, Shanghai: Shanghai Renmin Chubanshe), 2002, pp. 306-307. 15 Anne-Marie Smith, Advances in Understanding International Peacekeeping, Washington: United States Institute of Peace, 1997, p.10 16 John Mackinlay and Jarat Chopra, “Second Generation Multinational Operations”, Washington Quarterly, Vol.15, No.3, 1992, pp.113-131. 17 Dietrich Schindler, “The Protection of human rights and humanitarian law in case of disintegration of States”, Revue Egyptienne de Droit International, 1966, p. 1 ff. See also from the same author, “Humanitarian interference and international law”, Essays in Honor of Wang Tieya, Dordrecht/Boston/London, 1993, p. 689 ff.


regular troops have become a part of peacekeeping force, and the five permanent members of the UNSC have begun to send troops for peacekeeping, while coercive and military actions have become common occurrences in peacekeeping operations. By the end of the 20th Century, there were many more new forms of peacekeeping operations, some regional organizations had begun to organize their own peacekeeping troops, and peace-building had become the key task of peacekeeping operations. Thus, third-generation peacekeeping operations or cooperative peacekeeping have emerged.18 China has paid more attention to peacekeeping in recent years. To date, China has participated in more than 10 UN peacekeeping operations, and sent more than 650 military observers, military advisers or staff officers. China joined the UN standby arrangement in Feb. 2002, and sent 550 personnel to participate in peacekeeping operations in Liberia in 2003. China will send more than 850 personnel to participate in UN peacekeeping operations in the early 2004.19 In addition, the PLA has begun training exchanges with Canada and other countries. Active participation in peacekeeping operations is a means for China to display its regional leadership role and growing international responsibilities. African countries and the UN Secretary General have expressed appreciation for China's active assistance to economic development of African countries and its participation in UN peacekeeping in Africa. Actually, China’s participation involves both Chinese interests and Beijing's sense of great power responsibility.

III Peace-building
Peace-building or post-conflict peace-building means -- defined as actions "to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict" -- will have the following main tasks: to end civil strife through negotiated agreements; to disarm previously warring parties; to restore order; to supervise, control and possibly destroy weapons; to repatriate refugees; to provide advisory and training support for security personnel; to monitor elections; to make efforts to protect human rights; to reform or strengthen governmental institutions; and

18 Joseph P. Lorenz, Peace, Power, and the United Nations: A Security System for the Twenty-first Century, Boulder: Westview Press, 1999, pp.88-89. 19, Jan., 5, 2004.


to promote formal and informal processes of political participation.20 The objective of peace-building is to lift the failed or failing states from backwardness in economic, social and cultural development, and to get rid of the root causes of state failure. Post-conflict peace-building is a new concept to deal with state failure and to promote reconstruction efforts, and is a new area of UN operations. Post-conflict peace-building is a complicated process aimed at building a new state out of a failed state. Americans call this “nation building”. It is both long-term and expensive, and includes relief, recovery (of domestic political and economic order) and reconstruction. Generally speaking, state failure leads to domestic disorder, economic chaos, refugees and other humanitarian disasters, and even total breakdown of national political institutions. The most urgent tasks of peace-building are: to alleviate humanitarian disasters and protect human rights; then to reform or strengthen the governmental institutions and reconstruct state power; and finally to realize economic reconstruction via international cooperation. The aims of peace-building are to bring about a security transition from war to peace, a political transition from authoritarianism or quasi-anarchy to democracy, and an economic transition from a command economy or an informal war economy to a viable open economy. We are living in a time and age where we expect ‘development’ (socio-economic, political, etc.) to be the rule and the lack of development to be the exception. Development is always possible provided that the proper steps needed to promote it are taken.21 Positive reconstruction is not only to realize the recovery of domestic political and social order, but to enhance national strength by relying on a nation's own efforts. The path out of state failure must be paved with economic development and economic stability,22 thus the economic dimension is essential to peace-building. So post-conflict peace-building calls for not only the political and diplomatic support of other countries, but their economic contributions as well. The U.S. has long made great efforts in nation building. Yet, according to American scholar Minxin Pei, the record of past U.S. experience in democratic nation building shows a low rate of success, which is a sobering reminder that these are among the
Some scholars call post-conflict peace-building the second preventive diplomacy. Georg Sørensen, “Development in Fragile/Failed States”, paper for “Failed States Conference’ by Purdue University, West Lafayette, April 7-11, 1999. 22 Robert H. Dorff, “Responding to the Failed State: What to Do and What to Expect”, /1999/papers/Dorff.html, Dec., 21, 2003.
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most difficult foreign policy ventures for the U. S. Of the sixteen such efforts during the past century, Pei says, democracy was sustained in only four cases ten years after the departure of American forces. A main reason of its failure was American unilateralism, he argues, adding that “a multilateral approach to nation building does not guarantee success……but the benefits of a multilateral approach would outweigh the drawbacks”.23 Peace-building is a new area for China’s diplomacy. In recent years, China has made great contributions in dealing with state failure, such as official training, debt waiver, relief, and economic assistance. For example, since the independence of East Timor, China’s policemen and officers participated in the UN peacekeeping operations in the country, and held talks and signed economic and technical cooperation agreements, donated agricultural machines and other materials, and provided personnel training, investment and technical assistance for East Timor's economic reconstruction. Additionally, rebuilding Afghanistan will entail much long-term political, economic, and social restructuring. China is not only offering positive political and diplomatic support, but also actively participating in the reconstruction process. China promised to offer $150 million in economic assistance, $45 million of which is being provided gratis. To shape a nation’s international image by providing economic assistance is a current practice of the great powers. When its national economic power grows to a certain scale, or during some special periods, it is possible for a country to increase its investment of diplomatic resources.24 As a rising power, China should increase its economic assistance for the foreseeable future. As for post-conflict peace-building (or nation building), Sino-U.S. strategic cooperation would be promising. Both countries are great powers whose “interest antenna” is ever-extending, and they both treat stable international environments as their own strategic objectives. China shows deep concern for its international image, and its diplomacy could actively support the U.S. As a regional power, China’s attentions are focused on its neighboring area, but with the extension of its strategic interests or “interest band,” and developments in geopolitics, could lead China to
23 Minxin Pei and Sara Kasper, “Lessons from the Past: The American Record on Nation Building”, Policy Brief, No. 24, May 2003, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 24 Zhou Yongsheng, “The Experience and Lessons of Economic Diplomacy”, Strategy & Management, No.6, 2003, pp.61-69 (Zhou Yongsheng, “Jingji Waijiao de Jingyan Jiaoxun”, Zahnlue yu Guanli, No.6, 2003, pp.61-69).


broaden its diplomatic attention.

Important Issues to Consider in Dealing with State Failure
State failure has caused trouble both due to the intervention dilemmas that it poses and because of the implicit theoretical problems it raises.25 To deal with state failure, we must consider seriously some theoretical dilemmas it raises. On the other hand, we should discuss such issues as great power responsibility, the role of regional organizations, arms embargos, etc.

I Dilemmas in dealing with State Failure
I-1 The UN Charter Dilemma The UN Charter prescribes that the UN should not interfere in the domestic affairs of its members, but internal conflicts appear on the UN agenda, and peacekeeping operations have been sent to those conflicted countries. When state failure happens, such UN actions should not be regarded as interference in internal affairs, but rather the protection of international peace and security in line with the UN Charter. Yet, as a document drafted almost 60 years before, some provisions of the UN Charter have become outdated, and do not accord with the new world situations of globalization and complex interdependence. On the other hand, some compulsory measures have gone beyond proper bounds of established basic principles of the UN Chapter. The general principles and the main spirit of the UN Charter should be abided by in dealing with state failure. Yet, the UN is faced with tremendous challenges in regards to meeting the requirements of the times. Thus, new norms or international regimes should be developed to meet the requirements of the current international reality. It is good for norms and regulations to change in accordance with situations and times, and the UN needs rational and necessary reform in face of the new situation, the new tasks and challenges. In dealing with state failure, the great powers should search for proper measures within the UN framework, and develop new regimes that accord with the spirit of the UN Charter and reflect the challenges of the times as well. I-2 Sovereignty Dilemma The concept of sovereignty grew out of Westphalia and is enshrined in the UN Charter.
25 Knudsen, Tonny Brems. "Humanitarian Intervention Revisited: Post Cold-War Responses to Classical Problems" in Michale Pugh (ed.), The UN, Peace and Force, London: Frank Cass, 1997, pp.146-165.


The principle of sovereignty has been regarded as “the main doctrine” by most countries. State failure is an ‘internal’ phenomenon, conditioned on the existence of a realm with autonomous political authority, not formally subjected to outside control. In the absence of a socio-political unit with sovereignty, there would be no candidate for state failure in the first place.26 In other words, sovereignty is a premise in dealing with state failure. Yet, the acceptance of sovereignty of a state does not mean that the rest of the world should be indifferent to what goes on inside it, and actions of international community in dealing with state failure imply that sovereignty no longer constitutes a protective screen for state behaviors. In recent years, more and more internal conflicts have appeared on the UN agenda, and the UNSC has sent peacekeeping forces to deal with such conflicts, which has posed some severe challenges to the sovereignty principle. The world is marching on the way toward a greater level of global governance. Nation states are still the principal actor in the world arena, but some of their powers have been transferred to international regimes. 27 The setup of each international organization stems from the exercise of sovereignty, while international organizations constitute a diminution of sovereignty 28 Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali once said that absolute and exclusive sovereignty no longer existed.29 The UN Charter prescribes the central position of nation states in international relations, and deprives them of the power to settle disputes through war. Sovereignty in the globalization era should reflect the states’ new role in the international community. Yet, the development of ideas on sovereignty does not conflict with the principle of mutual respect for sovereignty. Sovereignty is still the constitutive principle.30 Mutual respect for sovereignty is a basic condition for the UN in dealing with state failure, and the main criteria for whether the objective of nation building could be achieved.31 I-3 The Legitimacy Dilemma
26 Georg Sorensen, “Sovereignty, Security, and State Failure” (unpublished paper). http://www.ippu.purdue.edum /failed_states /2000/papers/sorensen.html, Jan., 8, 2004. 27 Zhang Yazhong, “Global Governance: a research on Principle Parts and Power”, Issues & Study (Zhang Yazhong, “Quanqiu Zhili: Zhuti yu Quanli de Jiexi”, Wenti yu Yanjiu), Vol.40, No.4, July/August 2001, pp.1-23. 28 Chris Brown, Understanding International Relations, Houndmills: MacMillian Press Ltd, 1997, p.51. 29 Boutros Boutros-Ghali, “Empowering the United Nations”, Foreign Affairs, Vol.72, No.4, Winter 1992-1993. Reprinted in Paul F. Dehl (ed.), The Politics of Global Governance: International Organizations in an Interdependent World, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997, p.370. 30 Robert Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy, Princeton University Press, 1984, p.63. 31 Men Honghua: The Altitude of Peace: A Study on UN Collective Security Regimes, pp. 379-384.


When the UNSC passes a resolution, it is seen as speaking for and in the interest of humanity as a whole, when a resolution is passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, it becomes legally binding on all member states. This is why so many countries, including the most powerful like the U.S., take care to embed their actions within the framework of the principles and purposes of the UN Charter. Yet recently, some actions authorized by the UNSC in dealing with state failure lacked legitimacy, for example, they had not obtained the consent of the government or the concerned parties within the failing or failed states. Second, some actions had not obtained the complete authorization of the UNSC, and some powerful states took actions without any authorization or sometimes in a disguised way. Third, there is a need for outside agents (NGO’s) to undertake the necessary planning and implementation of basic state functions, yet this may run counter to the need for strengthening the building of state capacity to carry out these functions and thus re-establish legitimacy. The rights of political independence, territorial integrity, non-interference and legal equality help ensure the survival of what are otherwise unviable states. In practice, some remedial measures have done harm to the legitimacy of the failing or failed states. I-4 The Sustainability Dilemma Dealing with state failure is an expensive and long-term process, and its success is decided by the sustainability of the relief, recovery and reconstruction processes. Accordingly, the remedial measures should be sustainable. Yet most relief and aid by nature are short-termed. Moreover, it is very difficult to achieve donor coordination among the states helping the failing or failed state.32 Since the recovery of a state’s social, political and economic order is complicated and full of difficulties, the leading powers need to plan and coordinate their strategies with the failing or failed states more coherently.33 Yet the countries involved may pursue their own interests while ignoring the vital interests of the failing or failed states. Thus the recovery effort often comes into conflict with development work that by nature is long-term and builds on cooperation with domestic partners. On the other hand, new regimes tend to be fragile and may require decades to become institutionalized states operating under the rule of law.

II Other Important Issues to Consider
Hans-Henrik Holm, “The Disaggregated World Order: Foreign policy towards failed states”, haahrPDF/disagg.pdf. 33 Chester A. Crocker, “Engaging Failing States”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 82, No. 5, September/October 2003, p. 40.


II-1 The Responsibility of Great Powers A great power is a state whose weight (in military power, political prestige, economic wealth, etc.) is of such magnitude that it is among a very select group of states whose policies and actions can affect the course of international affairs. Great powers are in a position to threaten international peace and security, to deter such threats, or take effective military actions against them. Power inevitably carries responsibility, and thus great powers have heavier responsibilities than other countries.34 That is the reason why the great powers are charged specifically with defending international peace and security under Chapter VII of the UN Charter:
"The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall...decide what measures shall be maintain or restore international peace and security."

In dealing with state failure, the great powers should bear heavier responsibilities. The special responsibility of the great powers is to provide positive international public goods (such as international peace, world order and/or regional order). On the other hand, the great powers are the largest beneficiaries of such public goods. If they do not provide disproportionate resources for the maintenance of those public goods, the smaller beneficiaries are unlikely to do so.35 Great powers have always had special interests and special assessments of their own national interests in international affairs. The interests of the great powers in dealing with state failure include shaping or reshaping the international and regional order and enhancing their international images. At the same time, each great power is unable to realize the bulk of its ambitions without the support or at least tolerance of others.36 We have seen that the great powers are increasingly interested in dealing with internal conflicts of other countries, and the five permanent members of UNSC have participated in the peace-building operations. Although the great powers have to make their own assessments of their national interests, it seems that unilateralism offers little promise for advancing those interests except in rare situations. In fact, multilateral cooperation and policy coordination are conducive to both success in

34 Robert H. Jackson, “Surrogate Sovereignty? Great Power Responsibility and ‘Failed States’”, Working Paper No.25, November 1998, Institute of International Relations, the University of British Columbia. 35 Rachel Stohl and Michael Stohl, “The Failed and Failing State and the Bush Administration: Paradoxes and Perils”, Paper prepared for the workshop on Failed and Failing States, Firenze, Italy, April 10-14 2001. 36 Rachel Stohl and Michael Stohl, “The Failed and Failing State and the Bush Administration: Paradoxes and Perils”, Paper prepared for the workshop on Failed and Failing States, April 10-14 2001, Firenze, Italy.


dealing with state failure and to institutionalization of strategic relations among great powers. II-2 The Role of Regional Organizations Since the 1980s, as internal conflicts and state failure emerged and peaceful solutions have become common occurrences, the advantages of regional measures (including regional organizations) have become manifest and regional organizations have begun to play a greater role in constructing regional security regimes.37 Although chapter VIII of the UN Charter prescribes the role of regional organizations in settling regional conflicts, however, regional organizations could be regarded as the UN’s competitors in regional dispute settlement, and they are always much more efficient as well.38 In recent years, regional organizations have been playing a more active role in dealing with state failure, since failing or failed states produce considerable fallout by threatening regional security. failing states.39 The development of greater regional capacity for coping with state failure could greatly increase the available options for responding to In some cases, regionally-based facilities would be more prepared for coping with specific crises in their region than might be the case for those based outside the region, and regional solutions to some regional problems may provide avenues for the future, particularly in prevention of new serious conflicts. Of course, regional organizations demonstrate their own drawbacks in regional dispute resolution. Current regional measures have proved somewhat ineffective. Even in Europe, which enjoys the highest regional institutionalization, it has proven impossible to establish any effective regional regimes to deal with state failure without the help of the United States. And regional initiatives always lack the clear and strong legitimacy of UN actions. Such regional conflicts such as the disputes in Middle East need the coordination arrangement of the UNSC, and regional measures

37 Chadwick F. Alger, “Failed States and the Failure of States: Self-Determination, States, Nations and Global Governance”, paper for "Failed States and International Security: Causes, Prospects, and Consequences" Conference, Purdue University, West Lafayette, February 25-27, 1998; Ye Xingping, “Regional Measures and the Peaceful Resolution of International Disputes”, Jiangsu Social Science (Ye Xingping, “Quyu Bangfa yu Guoji Zhengduan de Heping jIejue”, Jiangsu Shehui Kexue) No.3, 1997, pp.54-61. 38 Paul F. Diehl et al, “United Nations Intervention and Recurring Conflict”, International Organization, Vol.50, No.4, Autumn 1996, pp.683-700. 39 Chadwick F. Alger, “Failed States and the Failure of States: Self-Determination, States, Nations and Global Governance”, paper for "Failed States and International Security: Causes, Prospects, and Consequences" Conference, Purdue University, West Lafayette, February 25-27, 1998.


would play a complementary role at it best. In practice, the proper coordination of regional organizations, great power(s) and the UNSC is a key to effectively dealing with state failure. Regionalism is the current of the times, and all the great powers are making efforts of their own toward regional institutionalization. In recent years, China has played a vigorous role in institution building in East Asia and Central Asia, such as the setup of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Sino-ASEAN Free Trade Zone. And China is participating actively in fora organized by ASEAN and other regional organizations. All those actions and measures become a shield against state failure in China’s neighboring area. II-3 Arms embargoes State failure is always connected with some form of weapons proliferation. Arms embargoes are considered by most states as an important mechanism for reducing the real or potential level of violence involved in a dispute. Arms embargoes have been rather prominent in sanctions regimes of the past decade, most obviously in cases where the parties are engaged in violent conflict. Peace-building will not be successful as long as a failing or failed state remains flooded with weapons. To promote internal security, as many weapons as possible must be collected and destroyed to ensure that former combatants will not have the means to violently disrupt the nation building process should it take a course not to their liking and to prevent criminal violence from undermining the new political structure. For weapons of mass destruction, measures should be taken to forbid their proliferation in any form. Yet the most dangerous weapons concerning state failure are such weapons as small arms, light weapons, and explosives either seized from stocks within the country or imported from other sources and past conflicts. Small arms are being used increasingly in intra-state conflicts because of their cost, portability and easy availability. The UN believes that small arms and light weapons are responsible for 90% of all war casualties since World War II. It is said that the small arms trade is much larger than many imagine. To attack the root causes of conflict within failing or failed states, arms embargoes, especially that of small arms, should be implemented and strengthened. Arms


embargo always have direct connections with the responsibilities of the great powers. It is said that U.S. arm sales continue unabated and that the U.S. often introduces new weapons into former Cold War battlegrounds.40 And the present stopgap measures for arms embargo only offer a temporary cure. Whether an arms embargo can be effective is decided by the responsibilities of the international community, especially that of the great powers.

State failure is not a new phenomenon, and it has historically been a natural part of the development of the international nation-state system. In a world grown closer and much more interdependent, the failure of one state can harm others as much as, or more than the military strength of potential foes. State failure does matter. To deal with state failure successfully, I suggest: 1) designing more adequate peacekeeping forces and making them available more quickly; 2) improving the feasibility of financial support of these forces; and 3) simultaneously, taking comprehensive measures to attack the root causes of conflict within failing or failed states, including preventive diplomacy, peace-making, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building. I suggest that the great powers bear special responsibilities and that the promotion of collective security should stress collective responsibility and burden sharing. In my view, preventive diplomacy is much more important than the remedial measures in dealing with state failure since the price of peace and stability is far less than the cost of war and reconstruction. First, there exist different ideas or conceptual problems in dealing with state failure such as the outdated UN Charter, international legitimacy, and sovereignty. foundation for international regimes to deal with state failure. Second, to move beyond state failure is a long-term process, the reasons of state failure are complicated, and the international environments that failing or failed states face are complicated. Therefore, we must have a greater overall understanding of the problem of state failure, assess properly the risks concerned, and then design a The solution of those conceptual problems would provide a stronger ideological

40 Rachel J. Stohl and Daniel Smith, “Small Arms in Failed States: A Deadly Combination”, paper written for Failed States and International Security Conference, West Lafayete, Italy, April 8-11, 1999. /Stohl-Smith.html.


comprehensive but feasible plan and strategy. In one word, the objectives of the remedial measures must be feasible. At the full engagement end of the spectrum, and therefore the most ambitious, is the objective of establishing legitimate governance. At the other end of the spectrum lie more limited objectives, such as responding only to the immediate manifestations or consequences of state failure. This would include efforts to alleviate starvation and other forms of human suffering, but without tackling the root causes.41 Success in dealing with state failure cannot be achieved overnight. We must follow a natural order, that is, ceasefire and humanitarian relief should be put first, while the restoration of domestic political and social order would be second as the most important foundations for nation building, and the task of economic reconstruction would be long-term. If we genuinely wish to solve the problem of state failure, we must address it at its root level, thus we should be patient for final success. Third, state failure often arises from internal mismanagement, while the key to deal with it is to find some internal solutions. As we are living in an era of the nation-state, the remedial measures for state failure have to be driven mainly by internal forces, which are able to integrate larger segments of society into a shared framework. We must realize that not all state failure is curable, and there may well be situations in which providing a Band-Aid is the best that the international community can do. Fourth, the UN is the most authoritative international institution and thus safeguarding the authority of the UNSC in decision-making should be an essential task for dealing with state failure. Yet, while the UN remains indispensable, in certain unavoidable respects the UN is ineffective in dealing with state failure.42 The UN, at its best, is only a mirror of the world, however. It reflects divisions and disagreements as well as hopes and convictions among nations.43 We must therefore think further about how to successfully safeguard the authority of the UNSC. Fifth, China and the U.S. enjoy a great opportunity to act cooperatively to deal with state failure. State failure would be a new area for China’s diplomacy. Both sides display increasing sensitivity to state failure and are they also are among the few states that have the capabilities to deal with the phenomenon. As to the remedial
Robert H. Dorff, “Responding to the Failed State: What to Do and What to Expect”, /1999/papers/Dorff.html, Dec., 21, 2003. 42 Mats Berdal, “The UN Security Council: Ineffective but Indispensable”, Survival, Vol.45, No.2, Summer 2003, p.8. 43 Shashi Tharoor, “Why America Still Needs the United Nations”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 82, No. 5, September/October 2003, p. 75.


measures for state failure, Sino-U.S. cooperation is promising. Bilateral cooperation has been displayed in fact-finding, information exchanges, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building as well. And the two nations have now begun to With the extension

discuss the problem of state failure via “Track Two” dialogues.

of China’s strategic national interests, Sino-U.S. cooperation will be multidimensional. As state failure becomes an increasingly important phenomenon of international society, some of China’s neighbors are showing signs of failure or risk of failure, and some are now in the process of reconstruction. China should pay more attention to such situations and Sino-U.S. coordination and cooperation in this area would be of vital strategic value.

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