I am a big proponent of conceptual rigor and clarity as having the correct conceptual framework to understand social situations and phenomena is crucial to either provide the correct solutions to problems or at least to not make mistakes. Anyway, John Robb clarifies:
It seems to me that the distinction is important in terms of the type of relations (diplomatic, political, economic or military) that are relevant in each case. But this is rather ominous:
Is the US really in danger of becoming a hollow state? Some developments might have been necessary here. Are we talking about the US-Mexico border where minutemen can take potshots at border crossers? Are we talking economically speaking (where segments of the economy have been left up to the market and vast transnational corporations almost entirely) or is the concept purely spatial and based on the nation-state? With its federalist conception, isn’t the US by definition a hollow state where some political responsibilities are left to states counties and local communities.
How does the distinction matter in terms of new wars and potential conflicts? These concepts leave more questions than they answer and I hope Robb will get around to providing more substance to this. This previous post on the topic does not give much to go on either.