State security and survival are critical issues in the rough regional environment of the Horn of Africa. Ensuring security for a state and its population is a priority and a raison d'ětre for any government. The buffer zone has emerged as a key strategy for nations in the Horn of Africa to manage successfully the security challenges of the several failed states in their neighborhood. Buffer zones are established adjacent to the borders of stronger states that oversee the buffer zones' affairs directly or through proxies. This essay explores the practical aspects of power asymmetries between successful and failed states from the perspectives of two officials in successful states who deal directly with this security challenge within the constraints of current norms and practices of sovereignty. The situation in the Horn of Africa provides insights into the effects of failed states on the security of their neighbors and the challenges that failed states present to the wider international community.