failed state

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failed state (plural failed states)

  1. (politics) A state that has failed to meet the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government; one that has lost physical control of its territory, the ability to provide public services, etc.
    • 2011, Rory Stewart, "Here we go again", London Review of Books, 33.VII:
      Against these stand the four national security arguments for intervention: fear of a rogue state, fear of a failed state, fear for the neighbours and fear for ourselves.