Yesterday I posted a link to this disturbing article, which describes the US
Modernity's first failed state. It provoked responses from both
left and right, and led me to research just what constitutes a failed state.
It turns out that there's a way of measuring degree of failure, called theFragile States Index. At first glance, the US looks pretty good: with a score of 36.7, it currently ranks 154th out of 178. Currently. Here's what the Fund for Peace, which maintains the index, has to say about that:
The United States has experienced significant political upheaval recently, and as a result has ranked as the fourth most-worsened country for 2018. Despite a remarkably strong economy, this economic success has been largely outweighed by social and political instability. However, we must be careful not to misunderstand the longer-term nature of this trend. Though some critics will likely be tempted to associate the worsening situation in the United States with the ascendance of President Trump, and what can generously be described as his Administration’s divisive leadership and rhetoric, the reality is that the pressures facing the United States run far deeper. Many “inside the Beltway” in Washington have long complained of a growing extremism in American society and politics, with an increasingly disenfranchised (if not vanishing) political center. The FSI demonstrates that this is no illusion – it is definitely happening. Indeed, on the ten-year trend of the three Cohesion Indicators (including Security Apparatus, Factionalized Elites, and Group Grievance), the United States is the most-worsened country in the world bar none, ahead of the likes of Libya, Bahrain, Mali, Syria, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen. To be sure, the United States has nearly unparalleled capacity and resiliency, meaning that there is little risk that the country is about to fall into the abyss. Nevertheless, these findings should serve as a wake-up call to America’s political leaders (not to mention media influencers) that divisive policy-making and rhetoric that seeks to divide Americans for political gain can have very real consequences and can threaten the country’s long-term stability and prosperity. 
I have three things to add:
- The United States may not be a "failed state" by this definition -- yet. But it has certainly failed a large number of its people.
- The United States has also failed -- miserably -- to become a modern country. By many measures, it is far behind the rest of the developed world, and falling farther behind as its ruling elite continues to gain power.
The US is not a failed state, but it's failing. If the current trend keeps up, it will reach the "warning" level of 70 in less than 16 years.
-  Why Didn’t America Become Part of the Modern World?
-  Failed state - Wikipedia
-  FSI Methodology | Fragile States Index
-  Fragile States Index | The Fund for Peace
-  Fragile States Index 2018: Issues of Fragility Touch the World’s Richest and Most Developed Countries in 2018 | Fragile States Index