The formula of making a failed state
Recipe: Break one wing of the country, make sure the military is making its rounds in power, kill the civilian leader.
To make a failed state you can start off by looking for a newly created country. It will help if the state is initially in two parts geographically, separated by a country that has several elements living within it that openly criticise the existence of this state.
It will also help if the strategic importance of one wing of this state is immense when it comes to global politics. This will make sure that it remains in the centre of major strategic decisions in the future.
Once created, chances are that the leaders who led to its creation will acquire top administrative roles. Let them. The large-scale movement that went in the creation of this state will eventually have a toll on their health, so chances are that they won’t be able to resist the inevitable for long.
Once they have departed, start a game of musical chairs within the government. Do not let anyone settle, as this will lead to 'stability'. Temporarily allow these civilians to figure out the best way to run the country. However, do not let them succeed.
Almost a decade into existence, make the military intervene and hold the reigns for the decade ahead. And although military rule will be against the principles of the founding fathers of this state, it will get public support as the country will see an economic boom.
Let the military stay, because soon after its rule is over, you will observe that one wing of the country will break away and gain independence, taking the help of the negative elements that existed between the two wings since the beginning.
A new civilian leader will rise in what remains of this state. He will try to build a global alliance with countries of a similar religion as his - gathering huge crowds of people with his charisma and fiery speeches. He will gain the reputation amongst many of being a genuine leader and not just a politician.
Don’t let him continue for long. Play the military card again. And just to make sure that the power of the uniform remains unopposed, hang that leader.
The new military regime should use religion as a means of exerting power. It should lock up the religious principle that “there is no compulsion in religion” in some dusty old cupboard.
Meanwhile, the regime should extend full support towards a war fought in a neighbouring land by one global superpower, against the other. The support should be based on the basis of -no surprises here- religion, as the military regime should allow millions of refugees with differing mindsets into its own land. What will appear as a benign influx of harmless refugees at first will turn into a catastrophe a decade or two later.
Wait and watch.
The side on which this state stood in this war will win. Having served his purpose, make sure that the head of state is eradicated “accidentally”.
It will now be time to give the civilians another go at running the state. Allow them to do this for another decade, dismissing the elected representatives as soon as the government’s failures start to become evident. Do not allow any of the governments during this time to complete their term. If you allow it, the voters are liable not to repeat their mistakes, which might erode the purpose.
While entering the new millennium, another army man should be making all the decisions of the state. The reason being that this state will yet again be needed in a front-line role in a war, this time waged against the country it was asked to support a couple of decades earlier.
Now, remember the millions of benign refugees that were allowed to run in the veins of this state at that time? They will get infuriated and will cause havoc! With the purpose of this military man also fulfilled, dispose him off and let the people vote for their new leaders. The dented ideology of the population will lead it astray, and for the next five years, the elected representatives will take the country to its lowest levels of governance and security.
Let this government complete its term, and with the new elections coming up, hope that the people will repeat their past mistakes when casting their votes; because if they won’t, this country will rise, not by a bloody revolution fuelled by massacres, but by a process of a slow yet steady evolution, led by genuine elected leaders who’ll truly represent the masses. It will rise far beyond your imaginations, in all fields of development, under the principles established by its religion and its founding fathers, paying tribute to the millions of sacrifices that went in its creation.
However, if they do not vote wisely this time, it may prove to be a crucial blow. Let us wait and watch.
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ILLUSTRATIONS: IMAAN SHEIKH