Jakub, George H.W. Bush Assoc Prof, IR, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced Int’l Studies, Johns Hopkins U (“Vacuum Wars: The Coming Competition Over Failed States,” American Interest, Jul/Aug 2009, http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=622)
The difference between the prevailing and the traditional view on state failure is not merely one of accent or nuance; it has important policy implications. Intense great power conflict over the spoils of a failed state will demand a fundamentally different set of strategies and skills from the United States. Whereas the response to the humanitarian disasters following state failure tends to consist of peacekeeping and state-buildingmissions, large-scale military operations and swift unilateral action are the most likely strategies great powers will adopt when competing over a power vacuum. On the political level, multilateral cooperation, often within the setting of international institutions, is feasible as well as desirable in case of humanitarian disasters. But it is considerably more difficult, perhaps impossible, when a failed state becomes an arena of great power competition.