This article develops a new policy framework for dealing with weak and frail states by encouraging the formation of local militias and paramilitary forces. The international community’s responses to state failure have been premised on false assumptions about the historical process of state-building. Neglecting the historical lessons of state formation contributes to interventions marred by moral hazards, unintended consequences, and ultimate futility. Instead of seeking to rebuild state capacity, the international community should consider replacing dysfunctional states by devolving power directly to other systems of local protection. While the devolution of violence has significant drawbacks, it is often the only way to enhance human security and ensure global stability.