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Confronting Poverty

Weak States and U.S. National Security

edited by Susan E. Rice, Corinne Graff, and Carlos Pascual

Publication Year: 2010

Former Brookings Senior Fellow Susan E. Rice spearheads an investigation of the connections between poverty and fragile states and the implications for American security. Coedited by Rice and former Brookings colleagues Corinne Graff and Carlos Pascual, Confronting Poverty is a timely reminder that alleviating global poverty and shoring up weak states are not only humanitarian and economic imperatives, but key components of a more balanced and sustainable U.S. national security strategy.

Rice elucidates the relationship between poverty, state weakness, and transnational security threats, and Graff and Pascual offer policy recommendations. The book's overarching conclusions highlight the need to invest in poverty alleviation and capacity building in weak states in order to break the vicious cycle of poverty, fragility, and transnational threats.

Confronting Poverty grows out of a project on global poverty and U.S. national security that Rice directed at Brookings from 2002 through January 2009, before she became U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Front Cover

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Copyright Information

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-x

Throughout history, conflict has arisen between and among major powers, often because a strong state tries to prove itself stronger than others. The good news about the current era is that the major powers are at peace; their going to war, while not unimaginable, is highly unlikely. That is largely because they have a stake—that is, a national interest—in ...

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The National Security Implications of Global Poverty

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pp. 1-22

On a deserted, dusty patch of dirt outside Gulu, in northern Uganda, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright held Charity, an angelic baby girl barely one month old. Charity had been left for dead in a ditch beside a rural road, trapped in the arms of her murdered mother and wedged between deceased family members. The brutal rebels of the ...

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Poverty and State Weakness

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pp. 23-41

Grinding poverty is the lot of nearly half of the world’s population. More than 2.5 billion human beings subsist on less than $2 a day—$730 a year—the equivalent of seven pairs of quality sneakers in the United States.1 Poverty is more widespread than previously thought. Even before the recent global financial crisis, an estimated 1.4 billion people ...

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Poverty, Development, and Violent Extremism in Weak States

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pp. 42-89

In October 2000, a 35-foot craft approached the U.S.S Cole, docked in Aden Harbor, Yemen. Operated by two Saudi suicide terrorists, the small boat was packed with about 600 pounds of powerful explosives. Within minutes, the bombers triggered a blast that ripped through the metal hull of the 9,100-ton vessel, a U.S. Navy destroyer. The explosion killed ...

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Poverty, State Weakness, and Civil War

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pp. 90-124

Grace Ikombi was eighteen years old in the early 1990s when he fled his dusty village in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), for the capital city of Kinshasa. His father was dead after succumbing to malaria, a disease that can be cured with a $2 treatment. His mother had been murdered by Congolese rebels for providing medical ...

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Feeding Insecurity? Poverty, Weak States, and Climate Change

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pp. 125-166

Since the severe droughts of the 1980s, the nomadic herders and more settled agriculturalists of Darfur have been in conflict over grazing rights. Despite periodic tension and confrontations in earlier years, the two had previously shared the semiarid region’s resources and, at least until legal reforms in 1970, had local mechanisms for resolving disputes.1 In a more ...

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State Weakness and Infectious Diseases

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pp. 167-201

The year is 1959. Within twelve months, the Belgian Congo will declare its independence and be wracked by a series of political uprisings. Private mercenaries will flood the country to protect mining interests. Six years later, a CIA-led coup will bring to power a brutal dictator named Joseph D

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Conclusion and Policy Implications

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pp. 202-230

Fragile states are the toughest development challenge of our era.This volume grapples with a broad spectrum of global challenges, ranging from civil conflicts and violent extremism to vulnerability to climate change and the spread of infectious diseases. Yet all the chapters converge on one point: poor states are often weak in critical areas of ...


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pp. 231-232


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pp. 233-244

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780815704355
E-ISBN-10: 0815704356

Page Count: 244
Publication Year: 2010