We (Lori, jemima, and yours truly) were discussing "failed democracies", ie Pakistan, and our conversation reminded me of this list of failed states that had been published in the year. There are few surprises in the first 30 or so, but things start to get more interesting as you move down the rankings. Pakistan is ranked 12th as a failed state (Sudan is number 1 and Iraq is second), while the United States is hovering at 160. Norway is the least failed state, ranked 177th. I was surprised to see Venezuela at 74 -- somehow, with Chavez's antics, I'd expected it to be lower on the list, rather than neighbors with Israel, at number 75. This list also shows how little of the world I know. The Solomon Islands (where?) is ranked in the top 30 (why?) as a failed state. Some of these other countries -- Central African Republican -- are a big blob of confusion to me. I would point out that most of the countries towards the bottom of the rankings were the colonizers and the failed states, for the most part, were colonized at some point in the last 50-60 years.