Wed Apr 30th, 2014 at 01:15:25 PM EST
Weber defined the State as:
human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. Note that 'territory' is one of the characteristics of the state. Specifically, at the present time, the right to use physical force is ascribed to other institutions or to individuals only to the extent to which the state permits it. The state is considered the sole source of the 'right' to use violence.
More detailed definitions exist, but all, at their core, fall back upon this basic definition. For better or worse, only states have a "license to kill." The moment that other groups attempt to take up this power for their own, the state is failing. The moment that they have, it seems far to say that the state has failed.
Is Ukraine a Failed State?
Yesterday, something of a melee appears to have broken out on the Maidan. The various factions that figured in the overthrow of the former government, now appear to be at each others throats. In Kyiv, the State is failing to prevent the rise of challengers like those from Right Sector. At the same time, the Ukrainian President announced that state security forces were helpless to protect citizens in the East. In the east, the State has simply failed.
Arms For The Poor Bastards?
If Ukraine is on the path to becoming a failed state, the question becomes what to do next. We can argue about assigning blame, but in the end you can't uncrack this egg.
Given the context of threatened invasion from Russia a vocal minority in the US Congress is calling for the supply of lethal aid to Ukraine.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been hammering the administration for weeks for failure to provide assistance to Ukraine. He was flabbergasted at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week when a Democrat on the panel suggested this would be "provocative." When Secretary of State John Kerry served up some double talk about working out an agreed list of defensive assistance for Ukraine, McCain called foul, telling him it would take "10 minutes" to come up with a list of items that would help Ukraine to protect itself.
And on Sunday, McCain declared on "Face the Nation" that "unless we act with firmness and strength, including beginning in my view with giving Ukrainians some weapons to defend themselves and some very, very severe sanctions," Ukraine would be a sitting duck for continued Russia aggression. He warned that if Putin "starts moving in further encroachment in this way into eastern Ukraine, they will fight. We ought to at least, for God's sake, give them some light weapons with which to defend themselves. So far, this administration's not only not done that, but they won't even share some intelligence with the Ukrainian government." He summed up: "I can tell you from my conversations with people in the government, they feel abandoned by us. And rightfully so. This is shameful."
Russian intervention appears a strong possibility. So we have call for the West to dump small arms in the country. In the best of circumstances, the pervasive corruption in Ukraine would ensure that at least some of this aid would spill out into the civilian population. And to Ukraine's neighbors? Yet, if we accept the the Ukrainian state is failing, it's likely that the vast majority of these small arms will leak out.
If we want to rule out lethal aid, then what options are available? Do we accept the idea that the Ukrainian State is essentially failing? If so, how do we in the West confront this?