State failure impacts international relations through the spill-over effects it has beyond the failed state. The international response to state failure: The case of Somalia attempts to answer the research question "Is the international response to the failed Somalia more concerned with security (i.e. the fight against terrorism and piracy) than with nation building/democratization or humanitarian aid (refugees, poverty)? This question is answered through descriptive-analytical research approach using the Neo-Realist theory within a globalised world. Concepts of legitimacy, authority and sovereignty in relation to the international response are explored where response takes the form of Intervention and humanitarian intervention that could be informed by the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) or go as far as nation building. Various annually published indices that examine and rank failed states are analysed which collectively and independently indicate that Somalia has been the number one failed state since 2008. Historically, the international response to Somalia prior to state collapse in 1991 forms the foundation to the response as well as accounting for the importance of complex internal clan politics. The background to how the international response has been, plays a key role in understanding where the international response‘s motives are positioned on scale of humanitarian versus security motives for intervention. The regional dynamics are explained through the Regional Security Complex (RSC). The security power political motives are seen through Anti-terror motives in a post 9/11 world and the various international responses to the different forms of attempts of interim governments and their opposition movements. Most notably, Al Shabaab, who formally merged with Al Qaeda in 2012, has been a focus point for the international response. The African Union (AU) mission in Somalia AMISOM is analysed from its humble beginnings to a force to be reckoned with. Due to the failure in Somalia for over 20 years, 14 per cent of its population form part of the influential Diaspora group. State building has emerged as one of the major international responses to state failure with the motive of avoiding nationwide humanitarian crisis. Yet the inaction of the past decade has lead to large spread famine in 2011. The security motive of regional and international players has overshadowed a pure humanitarian response in the past but the immensity of the crisis in 2011 has lead to a global humanitarian response. A new window of opportunity has presented itself with the appointment of the new president of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) in September 2012. The international response to state failure has placed security first and has acted accordingly to limit the international economic and security effects of piracy, terrorism and refugee flows. Nation building has come second although, there have been attempts at achieving a uniform response to the failure in Somalia, neo realist real politik reigns. The ideal of a golden mean, where a balance is achieved between security and humanitarian motives, could only be achieved if Somalia starts addressing its internal issues that have caused and resulted from the failure, which is far from straightforward.