1. Summarize the history of Somalian state failure and then the failure of state-building at the national level that Menkhaus discusses.
2. What are the competing perspectives on why Somalia remains a failed state?
3. Why does Menkhaus think it is more important to focus on the local level—what are the examples he examines? Are these successes useful for other states, or even for national-level solutions in Somalia itself?
4. Aman and Aman explore the idea of “institutional paradoxes” in the state-building process in Afghanistan. What do they mean by this concept and how has it played out in Afghanistan?
5. Does what we see in Afghanistan through this analysis extend to other cases, do you think? In other words, is this a useful lens through which to evaluate external state-building efforts in general?