Jack Detsch

Writer, Correspondent and Researcher

Honors Thesis: "The Archipelago State: Perceptions of State Failure and Alternative Systems of Governance in Somalia."

Utilizing Somalia and the ineffectiveness of nation-building efforts since 1991 as a case study, this analysis interrogates the viability of the state failure diagnosis based on four analytical lenses: geography, politics, history, and terrorism. Current analyses unjustly focus on the last 50 years, the only period in Somalia’s history in which it has resembled a nation-state. The country’s political borders are merely symbolic; in practice, sub-state actors dominate the provision of violence and political goods along clan-based lines. The lessons of Somalia are clear: it is possible to avert future failures during the process of nation building by creating realistic political goals calibrated to development.