A realist perspective on the regional significance of state failure : case study : the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1996-2006.
Since the demise of the Cold War, the concept of state failure predominantly has been utilized as a corrective to prevalent approaches designed to promote global peace, development, or humanitarian assistance. These attempts were in accordance with the idealist perspective. However, the events of 11 September in the United States gave rise to the global security concerns. State failure, since then, is no longer regarded as solely located in underdevelopment discourse, but as threat to regional security, and ultimately to global security. The concept of „failed state‟ increasingly is making an impact on security discourse. This dissertation explores the security threats posed by failed states to regional stability viewed from a realist perspective. It elucidates the historical trajectories of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which led it to definitively become a failed state. Although the causes of the Congo‟s failure, seemingly, originate from Belgian colonization and Cold War rivalries, post-independence Congolese political and military elites have maintained and increased its weakness, through secession wars, rebellions, corruption and poor governance. This dissertation contributes to the existing literature on the impact of state failure on regional security by demonstrating why and how, in addition to poor leadership, the DRC has been paralysed by continued conflicts over its natural resources fuelled by regional and global actors in collusion with domestic actors. In particular, the case-study investigates the impact of the 1996-2006 DRC civil wars on the Great Lakes Region. The research demonstrates the extent to which the DRC has been weakened by a combination of the following problematics: past security conditions; absence of sufficient military capability to defend its borders; and inadequate provision of law and order within its territory. In consequence, Congo has become a vortex of regional rivalry and contention.