the sick man of
the sick man of (something or somewhere)
Something or some place that is particularly unsound, untenable, or doomed to fail, especially among or in comparison to its peers. Due in large part to several tumultuous years of indecision in its parliament, Greece has been the sick man of Europe since the global recession began. The banking giant, which once propped up the entire country, has now become the sick man of the economy in recent years.
the sick man of —a country that is politically or economically unsound, especially in comparison with its neighbours in the region specified.
In the late 19th century, following a reported comment by Tsar Nicholas I of Russia about the moribund state of the Turkish empire, the Sultan of Turkey was described as the Sick Man of Europe . The term was later extended to Turkey itself and subsequently applied to other countries.
1992 Independent He vilified the West as ‘the sick man of the modern world’ and attacked its institutions as ‘the dictatorship of the majority dressed up as democracy’.