For the West, failed states are a problem. For China, they’re an opportunity.

You’ve probably heard by now that China, in its bid to lock in access to energy and mineral riches in far-flung corners of the world, is causing heartburn for the legions of do-gooders working to turn the world’s most fragile countries into stable, prosperous states. Everyone from the president of the World Bank to Bono has blamed Chinese companies and government officials for threatening the hard-won progress the West has made in the global south, while warning of dire consequences for countries on the receiving end of Chinese largesse.

What’s less well known is the key role such states as Brazil, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, South Africa, and Venezuela are playing in China’s international diplomatic game.

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The Worst of the Worst – Bad dude dictators and general coconut heads

[China is #10 on the list of bad dude dictators.]

10. HU JINTAO of China: A chameleon despot who beguiles foreign investors with a smile and a bow, but ferociously crushes political dissent with brutal abandon, Hu has an iron grip on Tibet and is now seeking what can only be described as new colonies in Africa from which to extract the natural resources his growing economy craves.
Years in power: 7

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The Failed State Index for 2010

The interactive map of failed states shows the status of all states. For example, Mexico, Brazil and Russia are borderline states that have not failed but could potentially fail in the future. China is classified as an “In Danger” state because the risk of failing is higher than that for Mexico, Brazil and Russia.

China barely missed the list of 60 problem states by coming in at #62.

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