More than once in the last fifty years, the debate about intervention in decaying states, or to use the more recent term, failed states, gained the limelight in political and intellectual circles. The subject of this research emerged based on the contrast between two moments in this discussion. On the one hand, we have the journal Foreign Policy lending great importance to the issue of instability in the poor countries, combined with a denial that a United States intervention was the principal means of confronting these problems. On the other hand, in the early years of the post-Cold War period, instability again became one of the main issues on the agenda and interventionist practices were increasingly propagated. The objective of this study is to map out - based on the journal Foreign Policy - the continuities and discontinuities of the discussion on intervention and the decay or failure of the state in the interim between these two periods. This starts with the hypothesis that the continuities and discontinuities in reflections on these issues can only be understood by means of apprehending the context and the political and academic debates in which those transformations take place. The methodological emphasis is the study of ideas as categories that interpret the social experience, and doing so, guide political actions. Based on other studies of the debate over ideas in the United States in the post-Viet Nam War era, the intent is to comprehend the specificity of the interpretations and proposals for intervention developed in Foreign Policy.
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