Sam Ratner

Sam Ratner writes The World's Critical State newsletter.

He is also a contributing editor Zitamar News and graduate a of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

Sam writes about civil wars, statebuilding, southern Africa and progressive security policy.

Recent Stories

Critical State

Political science of the periphery: Part I

Critical State, our foreign policy newsletter, takes a deep dive this week into a new paper by Oxford political scientists Annette Idler and Markus Hochmüller, that examines how borderlands have affected the course of the pandemic on Colombia's periphery.

Critical State

Civilian labor in reconstruction: Part II

Critical State, our weekly foreign policy newsletter, takes a deep dive into a new article by Margaux Pinaud, on how the Nepalese government explicitly turned to civil society organizations to monitor a ceasefire between the government and Maoist rebel forces.

Critical State

Federalism in violence: Part II

This week, Critical State, our foreign policy newsletter, takes a deep dive into why the Mexican government has struggled to halt its torturous police practices despite its sweeping criminal justice reform law in 2008.

Critical State

Peacekeeping work: Part II

After conflicts formally end, groups responsible for the most violence are oftentimes different from the warring parties that peacekeepers initially managed. This week, Critical State takes a deep dive into how peacekeepers cope with post-conflict violence — despite their limitations.

Critical State

Disinformation Wars: Part II

We live in a golden age for professional fact-checkers who expose every made-up statistic or erroneous accusation that passes US political leaders’ lips. This week, Critical State delves into new research that shows how despite all that fact-checking, we also live in a golden age of political lying.

Critical State

Disinformation wars: Part I

Disinformation has been a part of regular political communication for as long as there have been politics. This week, Critical State takes a deep dive into the dreaded "disinformation threat" and the effect of Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election tweets on American voters.

Critical State

Getting at the vote: Part II

Incumbent regimes often act to restrict media access for their opponents in the same way that they restrict access to the vote itself. This week, Critical State looks into Kyong Mazzaro's new research on where and when Venezuela restricted media during election periods.