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New Models

Zenpundithighlights a new article critiquing the current popular “decline of the state” framework. Having called for something like this earlier, I’m happy to see some critical analysis of state change. There needs to be a competitive process revisiting our assumptions with state change. It’s also worth reflecting on the trajectory of the debate. At first the “decline of the state” framework was a oddity in a defense debate overwhelmingly dominated by concerns about near competitors like China and Russia. Scholars and analysts advocating the framework were at best peripheral to the debate and at worst completely ignored. Now the frame is hegemonic. But just as the traditional force-on-force/state vs. state concepts proved an impediment to creative thinking about the future, the “decline of the state” framework is proving to be an obstacle to effective thinking about process of state change. Despite the fact that the framework has strong overall validity in explaining current conflict it must be challenged, debated, and revised.

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