This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
See Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE and get his new book Get Rich Carefully! Learn More

What a Real Failed Government Looks Like

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- The United States government may be operating on minimal auxiliary power, but there are regimes around the globe that find even that level of functional governance laughable.

As Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner vowed that there won't be an end to the shutdown anytime soon and a growing contingent of his fellow House Republicans suggested the opposite, word came down last weekend that U.S. special forces carried out raids in Libya and Somalia targeting key figures in al-Qaeda and the al-Qaeda-aligned al-Shabaab movement that killed dozens of people at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, two weeks ago. The government shutdown is embarrassing on all fronts, but even this political skirmish hasn't stopped the U.S. from operating on a level far more stable than its counterparts in Libya and Somalia -- which rank Nos. 54 and 1, respectively, on the Fund For Peace/Foreign Policy Failed State Index.

Don't get us wrong: The government shutdown is terrible enough that even the Fund For Peace felt the need to explain why the U.S. isn't a failed state. But within the group's explanation of just how long this shutdown would have to go on for that to happen is a reminder of just how many actual failed states exist with problems that dwarf those of the United States' hiccup:

"There is not violence. There is no rioting in the street. Borders are still protected, firemen are still putting out fires, and business continues somewhat as usual. That is what resiliency looks like -- and not every country can claim to have it, or the same level of it."

The shutdown is pressuring the U.S., to be sure, but it's nowhere close to breaking it. Without diminishing the strain on government workers and those who rely on its programs, society is holding up in spite of Congress' stalemate. This may not reflect well on the U.S. ranking for next year's Failed State Index, but this year it's still the 20th most-stable country on the planet.

Compare that with Somalia, where government has been in tatters for decades, Western intervention has failed disastrously and only a mission led by the African Union of surrounding countries is containing what was once even more widespread violence, piracy and poverty. The attack on the mall in Kenya a few weeks ago was actually a reaction by al-Shabaab to Kenya's role in a steady string of setbacks for al-Shabaab operations in its Somalia stronghold.

Still, Somalia's central government and constitution are roughly a year old, as is its court system. The country was in a state of famine as recently as last year, and tremendous foreign influence from the African Union, United Nations and European Union are still necessary to preserve what little stability Somalia has achieved. Elite groups still control much of the nation's resources and human rights violations by various factions -- including, in some cases, the peacekeepers themselves -- are rampant.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
DOW 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
S&P 500 1,864.85 +2.54 0.14%
NASDAQ 4,095.5160 +9.2910 0.23%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs