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U.S. Dips On Fragile States Index; South Sudan Most Fragile State

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The United States ranks as the thirteenth-most worsened state of the year, according to the 2017 Fragile States Index, which aims to assess states' vulnerability to conflict or collapse.

The thirteenth annual Fragile States Index was released on Monday by the Fund for Peace or FFP, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to prevent violent conflict and promote sustainable security.

The Index is an annual ranking of 178 countries across 12 social, economic and political indicators to identify potential risk of social and political turmoil as well as conflict.

According to the Index, Ethiopia, Mexico and Turkey are the three most worsened countries since the 2016 assessment. The index showed that pressure continued to mount in Brazil and South Africa, while Belgium, Italy, Japan and South Korea also experienced upticks in fragility.

The African nation of South Sudan returned to the top position as the most fragile country in the world as factionalization and group grievance fueled rise in instability, followed by Somalia and Central African Republic as the second and third-most fragile countries.

Meanwhile, the Nordic nation of Finland continued to maintain its position as the world's least fragile country, followed by Norway and Sweden.

The FFP noted that the U.S. has worsened in 2017 despite the majority of its indicators actually improving.

While the U.S. recorded long-term economic improvements, it was severely undermined by sharp upticks in three core indicators - Group Grievance, Factionalized Elites, and Security Apparatus. This was partly due to the highly divisive presidential campaign in 2016.

According to the FFP, these indicators tracked very closely with those of the United Kingdom, which experienced its own crucial campaign on exiting the European Union last year.

J.J. Messner, executive director of the Fund for Peace said, "Even the most stable countries must pay attention to early warning signs of social and political conflict, as this fragility has a direct causal effect on prosperity and security. Our analysis of 2017 data shows that America's ranking would have worsened significantly more this year had it not been counter-balanced by its having scored in the top 20 economic performance."

At the other end of the trend analysis, Pakistan recorded the most significant improvement of any country in 2017, followed by Thailand, Panama and Georgia.

by RTT Staff Writer

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