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Dispatches from Basra III

The third of a series of interesting although irregular ‘letters‘ from Our Man in Basra.

I promised to tell you more about the situation here. I will tell you loads when I get back. It’s absolutely fascinating, like a real time experiment in political theory. Except it’s a bugger for the people we are ‘experimenting’ with.

Basra now is effectively an anarchy, a sea of conflicting power groups. As I briefed the CO and the Bde Comd (ed. Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander), you can’t have politics without first having security, and you can’t build security through political systems. Interestingly enough they both agreed. We are trying to police Basra as if it was somewhere in England, policing by consent. That does not work after thirty five years of dictatorship and in a country where people think democracy means “the people will decide”.

The worrying comparison we now get is with Saddam Hussein (SH). After the 91 uprising Basra was far worse damaged than anything we did to it – we barely touched it. Yet in one month he had basic amenities back because he shot looters. After three months we still haven’t got reliable electricity or clean water, because we try to arrest them. Every Iraqi I have met agrees on two things, no matter what group they come from:

You must shoot more people Not imprison, not arrest, you must kill them. Otherwise they will not stop.

The other thing is they all hate SH and BP (Ba’ath Party) with a passion. Consider it from the point of view of the looters. You live in shit, your life expectancy is low, there is – at the moment – no economic activity you can improve by, and your only experience is of a gangster economy, so without influence you have no chance. So why not loot? After all, the CF (Coalition Forces) won’t shoot you. You have to really work at it to get shot by the British. If we catch you we now hand you over to the Iraqi (IZ) judicial system. Except there isn’t one yet, not really, and all the Judges are corrupt or threatened. If you’re caught you spend about two nights in jail and get released. And while you are in jail we feed you, shelter you and give you water. This is like trying to deter crime in London by banging shoplifter up for two nights in the Ritz. So the locals think we aren’t serious about crime. Result is we are losing support.

The looting is incredible – they have done 99% of the damage to this city. The only reason the electricity isn’t fully back on is because they have been ripping up the electricity cables, burning off the insulation, melting down the copper and selling it on the black market. They light fires at either end of the cable to short it out first. Occasionally they get it wrong and get electrocuted, but if you live like they do it’s a perfectly rational risk to take.

The result is that people are turning elsewhere for security, away from us. Everything hangs on security, all infrastructure, all economic activity, everything. We don’t provide it, we just physically haven’t got enough troops. (We could do it if we shot people whenever they upset us. Everyone would stop upsetting us then, and we could build all the other security forces, i.e. police and judiciary, keep them safe from intimidation and build authority. This is a statement of fact, not a policy suggestion.)

The IZ police are corrupt, frightened, incompetent or all three, so people turn elsewhere. The tribal Sheikhs never used to have very much power in Basra because, unlike the countryside, the population was so mixed up. But now only the Sheiks are willing to kill your enemies or intimidate the police etc, so people go to them for help. This is a self-generating snowball effect, so we are creating a sort of tribal mafia, although not necessarily dishonest (though many are).

In my next letter I will give you a potted description of the breakdown of Basra society. And I do mean breakdown.

Apologies for the sparse style but I have my ‘yellow brain’ on all the time. That’s like a ‘green brain’ only cooked by the heat…

Editor’s note: An account of his recent visit to Basra by the now famous Salam Pax.

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13 comments to Dispatches from Basra III

  • Julian Morrison

    Sounds to me like what’s happening, is that natural-law anarchy is trying desperately to reconstruct itself (in the form of sheiks) – and being hampered by the cackhanded imposed-law, disarmament, “prisons” etc made by the USUK soldiers.

  • Cobden Bright

    A fascinating account. I don’t really know where to start, as there are so many troubling facts in it, but here goes. And please don’t take this as a criticism of the letter-writer – I am sure he is acting as best he can to help out the local population, but sadly this effort is overwhelmed by the inherent flaws of the system he is operating under.

    “It’s absolutely fascinating, like a real time experiment in political theory”

    I presume the occupying forces had plans for how to ensure law and order before they invaded? Surely they can’t just be making it up as they go along? (sarcasm)

    “you can’t have politics without first having security, and you can’t build security through political systems. Interestingly enough they both agreed.”

    Hear, hear! Who would have thought that three army officers would admit that the state is incapable of providing security?

    “The worrying comparison we now get is with Saddam Hussein (SH). After the 91 uprising Basra was far worse damaged than anything we did to it – we barely touched it. Yet in one month he had basic amenities back because he shot looters. After three months we still haven’t got reliable electricity or clean water, because we try to arrest them.”

    So – shooting looters deters and prevents looting. Arresting them then letting them go 2 days later does not. Furthermore, we must now face the embarrassing fact that, in the opinion of many Iraqis, Saddam Hussein is a better provider of security than the British government.

    “Every Iraqi I have met agrees on two things, no matter what group they come from:

    You must shoot more people. Not imprison, not arrest, you must kill them. Otherwise they will not stop”

    From the correct conclusion that using armed force to stop looters is the only really effective way to defend property, the Iraqis have wrongly concluded that the *authorities* must take on this responsibility. Needless to say, the correct response is not that the authorities must shoot looters, but that *Iraqis themselves* must shoot looters. Let each property owner choose between carrying heavy arms and shooting looters dead, contacting out that work, or remaining unarmed and losing their property. Such a policy would stop looting in far shorter time than relying on the British Army. It would also have the pleasant side-effect of creating the beginnings of a working judicial system. All the British Army has to do is stand back and let Iraqis defend themselves. Instead, by attempting to act as sole authorities, they are inhibiting (and in some cases forcibly preventing) the creation of that which they claim to be able to supply.

    “The only reason the electricity isn’t fully back on is because they have been ripping up the electricity cables, burning off the insulation, melting down the copper and selling it on the black market.”

    Solution – sell the electricity network to the highest bidder, then allow them to defend it with lethal force. Creating a privately owned network will create the incentive to defend it; allowing individuals to arm will permit the means of defence; selling to the highest bidder will ensure that the group best able to defend and then run the elecricity network will take ownership. This would both stop the looting, and provide working electricity – both factors conspicuous by their absence during the UK army’s rule of the city.

    “The result is that people are turning elsewhere for security, away from us. Everything hangs on security, all infrastructure, all economic activity, everything. We don’t provide it, we just physically haven’t got enough troops.”

    Solution – privatise security. Auction guard services to the highest bidder. Use this money to hire more troops, either from volunteers in the UK, or more likely locals. Not only will this improve security, it will provide many people with paid employment, and provide them with the critical skills of self-defence and policing. If the British Army is then truly the best provider of security in Basra, the price bid will then exceed the cost of supply, and you will be able to recruit as many soldiers as you want.

    “The IZ police are corrupt, frightened, incompetent or all three, so people turn elsewhere.”

    So persuade and assist honest locals to set up a reputable competing police agency, arms suppliers, bodyguards and so on, so that people have somewhere else to turn for *effective* protection, other than fanatical religious groups or criminal gangs.

    “In my next letter I will give you a potted description of the breakdown of Basra society. And I do mean breakdown.”

    So, here we have a clearly very intelligent and perceptive army soldier, whose judgement is that society and law and order in Basra has utterly collapsed since the British forces took over. Some time ago, Perry de Havilland rightly said that for force to be legitimate, it must be effective in achieving its goals. Given that the UK’s use of force in Iraq has, by its own army’s admission, been utterly ineffective in providing basic security of person and property for the Iraqis, what on earth are we doing there? Get the hell out – either locally, by restricting our activities to advice and assistance for the Iraqis’ self-help efforts; or totally, by evacuating all forces from the country.

    This whole account is perhaps the best real-life description I’ve read of how the state fails to provide *any* good widely, and at a reasonable cost and quality. The British army should restrict themselves mainly to attacking and destroying other groups that want to repress normal Iraqis. Apart from that, they should just drum home the idea that the Iraqis defence, security, and prosperity is entirely their own responsibility – and the sooner they do it, the better.

  • Julian: You’ve got to be kidding. Natural-law anarchy, my foot. Sheikhs are as much about natural law as the feudal states were in the Middle Ages. It’s tribalism and that takes no account of the individual, let alone his rights and civilised stuff like that. Anarchy without security and at least minimally functioning society is nothing but chaos and primitive rule of force.

  • Cobden Bright: Troubling facts indeed, mostly because of the impact of 35 years of tyranny on the Iraqi society.

    I presume the occupying forces had plans for how to ensure law and order before they invaded? Surely they can’t just be making it up as they go along? (sarcasm)

    And how would you have the plans drawn up? Anything less than total flexibility in the face of unexpected local developments would invite criticism of imperialist imposition of western standards. How dare we impose civilisation on the poor hapless Iraqis, their idea of freedom is different from our decadent Western one, blah, blah, blah.

    “you can’t have politics without first having security, and you can’t build security through political systems. Interestingly enough they both agreed.”
    Hear, hear! Who would have thought that three army officers would admit that the state is incapable of providing security?

    What on earth gave you that impression? The writer is certainly not saying the state is incapable of providing security. The army have been doing that pretty well, thank you very much and you won’t hear me complaining about the British Army’s provision of my security. What he means is that you cannot build security top-down using political means and structures but bottom-up by strengthening the society by providing secure framework for trade and other social interactions. The role of the state as a provider of such framework is unchallenged in this process.

    So – shooting looters deters and prevents looting. Arresting them then letting them go 2 days later does not. Furthermore, we must now face the embarrassing fact that, in the opinion of many Iraqis, Saddam Hussein is a better provider of security than the British government.

    I am sorry but have you re-read this paragraph? Saddam Hussein – a better provider of security? The hundreds of thousands murdered, tortured, imprisoned and otherwise abused by him and the Ba’ath party? What security indeed! You conveniently missed the point made by the writer that the looters are looting because all they know is a gangster economy, not because that is the natural order of social interactions free from the state. Both you and Julian Morrison seem to consider the looters as the natural phenomenon emerging from the liberated country. In fact, they are the most tangible/visible sign of what is wrong with the Iraqi society. No property rights, no free market trade, no concept of decent behaviour towards strangers, no hope of regaining control over their fates by legitimate means. The division between the public and private is at its starkest in societies that have broken down. The private i.e. your family, friends and anyone included in the ‘inner circle’ of your existence is trusted for business and other kinds of social interaction. The public sphere, however, is seen as the enemy, something that needs to be fooled/robbed/exploited if possible. Collective effort is an unknown concept. The public, the common, whether property or any other advantages, is something to be grasped before anyone else does. Having been oppressed for so long by a tyrannical state that hijacks all social interactions, the individual feels he owes nothing to any social unit larger than his family. In most Middle Eastern countries the ‘private’ is extended to one’s tribal unit. Urban Iraq had been more advanced in that respect than most countries in the region and the writer points out that is now regressing as people turn to Sheikhs/tribes for protection.

    Let each property owner choose between carrying heavy arms and shooting looters dead, contacting out that work, or remaining unarmed and losing their property. It would also have the pleasant side-effect of creating the beginnings of a working judicial system. All the British Army has to do is stand back and let Iraqis defend themselves. Instead, by attempting to act as sole authorities, they are inhibiting (and in some cases forcibly preventing) the creation of that which they claim to be able to supply.

    Yeah, right. Let them shoot each other. And how exactly do you prevent the Ba’athists being the ones who wield weapons and continue their oppressive hold over the population? Have you forgotten that the British Army had to disarm the locals since the existing power structures were totally Ba’athist. An essential part of the ‘liberation’ is de-Ba’athisation. Withdrawal of the US-UK army would amount to a betrayal of the Iraqi population. I also completely fail to see how people shooting looters would create a working judicial system.

    Solution – sell the electricity network to the highest bidder, then allow them to defend it with lethal force. Creating a privately owned network will create the incentive to defend it; allowing individuals to arm will permit the means of defence; selling to the highest bidder will ensure that the group best able to defend and then run the elecricity network will take ownership.

    You cannot be serious. What bidder? The only people who had/have any money were the members of the Ba’ath Party. You want them to have control over the infrastructure? This is what happened in the botched privatisations of Eastern Europe and Russia – the highest ‘bidders’ were those who managed to steal most money during the decades of communism. What a wonderful inspiration to the honest citizen and to those who did not sell their principles for a bigger chunk of the measly communist pie… I am sure Iraqis will have far more confidence in an infrastructure run by the same thugs who used to oppress them under Saddam.(my turn in sarcasm)

    Solution – privatise security. Auction guard services to the highest bidder.

    Ditto. What bidders? Or perhaps we should allow international companies? Sandline isn’t too bad, they sorted out Sierra Leone…

    So, here we have a clearly very intelligent and perceptive army soldier, whose judgement is that society and law and order in Basra has utterly collapsed since the British forces took over.

    Society collapsed long ago under Saddam’s tyranny, not since the British forces took over.

    This whole account is perhaps the best real-life description I’ve read of how the state fails to provide *any* good widely, and at a reasonable cost and quality.

    I am sure by now you have gathered I disagree with your conclusion and again cannot see how you arrived at it. Are you saying that the Iraqi state is failing to provide security? True, although there is currently no Iraqi state to speak of. Or are you saying that the British Army are the state? Last time I checked they were very much not the Iraqi state, taking great care to engage the local community in policing and judicial matters.

    The British army should restrict themselves mainly to attacking and destroying other groups that want to repress normal Iraqis.

    Like Sheikhs and imams, former Ba’athists and looters…

    Apart from that, they should just drum home the idea that the Iraqis defence, security, and prosperity is entirely their own responsibility – and the sooner they do it, the better.

    I agree with the last bit and my impression is that is what the US and British Armies have been doing all along. They find themselves in a country where nothing functions, without any means of addressing the deep wounds the Iraqi society sustained in the last 35 years. They are facing a post-war situation with both economic and social problems and no understanding of this on the part of the politicians and civilians who set the overall agenda.

    By the way, did you read Salam Pax’s impressions from his trip to Basra? That would give you a slightly more positive perspective that that of my source whose job it is to deal with problems without directly enjoying results of his efforts.

  • Let each property owner choose between carrying heavy arms and shooting looters dead, contacting out that work, or remaining unarmed and losing their property

    So in other words, if a group of looters, who may be Ba’athist remnants with superior weapons and better organisation than a group of atomized individual property owners in a shattered civil society, turn up and elect to shoot it out with, a kill, enough property owners to establish themselves as local power brokers, is that ok? Or are you assuming that the individual armed property owners will always win? And if a property owner is too fearful to use force to defend his property from plundering, and that property falls into the hands of looters, is that change of ownership fine by you? As you might gather I think the notion a viable anarchist system can emerge where there is no functioning civil society is bizarre.

    The only place I disagree with the author of the article is when he calls Basra being in ‘anarchy’… what he really means is Basra is in ‘chaos’. And chaos is bad.

  • Reminds me of how, according to T.R. Fehrenbach’s “This Kind of War,” they had to hire Koreans to guard the military warehouses during the Korean War, because they were the only ones willing to shoot looters.

    BTW, Perry, you’re putting the cart before the horse. Security is a prerequisite for civil society. For you to say that security can only be provided after civil society has been established is backwards.

    As for your scenario of well-armed & well-organized Saddamite remnants vs. armed atomized Iraqi individuals, you overlook the possibility that Iraqis could easily hire their own well-armed & well-organized security forces, or even provide their own. The only reason they’re not doing so now is because the Occupation isn’t allowing them to.

  • Phil Bradley

    Looks like the USA/UK administration in Iraq needs to hire a few economists. The author is right, although he doesn’t come right out and so, but an economic system is a pre-condition for a political system, and there can be no economic system without reasonably secure private (and public) property.

    The problem is (and we discussed this a few days ago) is that we in the West view a judicial system with due process etc. as an end in its self. It isn’t! Its just a means to balance the protection of property rights against individual rights/freedoms.

    I don’t think its necessary to shoot looters. Throwing them into a large camp that people don’t come out of any time soon (as per Guantanamo) would be sufficient. Again you have to view this from an economist’s perspective. You stop looters by having sufficient economic dis-incentives. Getting banged-up indefinitely would do the trick.

    BTW, privatized security is absolutely the answer and it doesn’t matter who does it (i.e. their politics), as long as they are answerable to the paying customers. And if they mis-behave suffiently, someone exists who can ‘take away their franchise’.

    I disagree with one point made here, that Saddam destroyed Iraqi civil society. I personally doubt Iraq ever had anything we would recognize as a civil society, and anyway its irrelevant – start at the begining with secure property rights.

  • Cobden Bright

    Perry – obviously I answer “no” to your three questions.

    “As you might gather I think the notion a viable anarchist system can emerge where there is no functioning civil society is bizarre.”

    How would the absence of a functioning civil society stop a group of sufficient power from enforcing the political system of their choice?

  • Cobden Bright

    Gabriel Syme writes:

    “And how would you have the plans drawn up?”

    With stiffer sentences for looting than release after 48 hours.

    “The writer is certainly not saying the state is incapable of providing security.”

    Tony Martin would say otherwise. In the case of Iraq, time will tell.

    “What he means is that you cannot build security top-down using political means and structures but bottom-up by strengthening the society by providing secure framework for trade and other social interactions.”

    And how does one go about “providing a secure framework”? By effectively punishing, preventing, and deterring people from destroying and stealing property.

    “The role of the state as a provider of such framework is unchallenged in this process.”

    Obviously I disagree.

    “You conveniently missed the point made by the writer that the looters are looting because all they know is a gangster economy”

    I disagree. They did not loot under Saddam’s “gangster economy” because the costs outweighed the benefits. They are looting now because the benefits outweigh the costs. And the low costs of looting are a direct result of lax enforcement by the UK in this case.

    “No property rights, no free market trade, no concept of decent behaviour towards strangers”

    No free market trade, really? Last I heard, you could buy all sorts of goods in the markets of Basra. As for hospitality towards strangers, Arab culture is one of the most hospitable in the world, as most people who have travelled there will tell you. The property rights are obviously threatened – but again this is due in large part to poor policy by the British (who as an occupying power have a responsibility to maintain order, according to the Geneva convention)

    “Yeah, right. Let them shoot each other. And how exactly do you prevent the Ba’athists being the ones who wield weapons and continue their oppressive hold over the population?”

    By jailing or if necessary killing people who use aggressive force, such as Ba’athists.

    ‘Solution – sell the electricity network to the highest bidder, then allow them to defend it with lethal force.’

    “You cannot be serious. What bidder? The only people who had/have any money were the members of the Ba’ath Party.”

    Since when were Bechtel, Halliburton et al penniless? You are committing the classic statist error of presuming that the market is limited by your ability to imagine what it might be capable of.

    “You want them to have control over the infrastructure?”

    What? Ba’athists (and other criminals who stole or looted their wealth under Saddam) would be banned from bidding, just as former Gestapo thugs were not allowed positions of influence in post-1945 Germany.

    “Solution – privatise security. Auction guard services to the highest bidder.

    “Ditto. What bidders? Or perhaps we should allow international companies? Sandline isn’t too bad, they sorted out Sierra Leone…”

    You’re catching on. Sandline would be a prime candidate if it had not been forced to close down…by our old friend the British Government.

    “I am sure by now you have gathered I disagree with your conclusion and again cannot see how you arrived at it.”

    My conclusion is that the occupying powers have failed to prevent widespread looting and chaos (admitted by your source), due to a lax approach to crime (ditto). I arrived at it by your correspodent’s report of the reasons why looting was so popular, and the simple facts of human nature (when people can get away with looting, they will loot).

  • Tim Starr: Perry, you’re putting the cart before the horse. Security is a prerequisite for civil society. For you to say that security can only be provided after civil society has been established is backwards.

    Re=read what I wrote. I said that a functioning anarchist system that would end the chaos could not develop without a civil society from which it could spring, I did not say that civil society could not develop without order.

    But to expect sophisticated (i.e. not mafia like) non-state centred security system to emerge from a gutted civilization is just wishful thinking. The sort of ‘libertarian’ solutions being suggested need to be based on a network of affinity and complex competing markets for wide ranges of services, none of which exist in Iraq. Privatizing infrastructure at this juncture prior to de-Ba’athification will just result in the rise of the same old faces in positions of power… Gabriel pointed out what happened in Eastern Europe which did not undergo a process of ‘de-communistification’… the only people with money and connections would be the Ba’athists and their collaborators.

    Without that process the anarcho-scenarios being written about here would certainly result in a form of security… the Ba’athist would just take over again with new names and the looting would stop for a while. Sophisticated societies produce solutions that are sophisticated… but there is no civil society in Iraq due to 25 years of Ba’athism, so left to their own devises right now, I dare say security will eventually come via Saddam Mark II.

    At the moment the occupying armies do need to impose order … they are not doing so forcefully eough judging from the article but of course the problem is not with the militaries so much as with their Guardian/Washington Post reading political masters. Of course looters should be summarily shot in a crisis that which is going on in Iraq.

  • Sorry, Perry, but the statement of yours with which I most take issue is this:

    “…to expect sophisticated (i.e. not mafia like) non-state centred security system to emerge from a gutted civilization is just wishful thinking.”

    As a counter-example, I cite Somalia – as it really has been over the past decade or so, not as it’s been reported in the statist media. By regional standards, Somalia’s been doing quite well – booming ports, expanding agricultural exports, refugees returning home from Western countries because of better opportunities back home, etc. Somalia’s been doing so well, in fact, that the UN has been desperately trying to get the Somalis to establish a state so as to pre-empt a good example of stateless socioeconomic development in Africa. Somalia did all this without first having any State impose order, or first having a functioning civil society.

    Your citation of Eastern Europe as an example doesn’t work very well, either. I just got back from the ISIL conference in Lithuania. There wasn’t any purge of ex-Communists from all State offices in Lithuania, but lots of things have been privatized and Lithuania had the highest growth rate in Europe last year. The ex-Commies have done well, but so have many other Lithuanians. The same goes for much of the rest of Eastern Europe, too.

    You seem to be over-generalizing from the few cases which aren’t doing well, such as Russia, Belarus, & Romania. However, they aren’t doing well because there really hasn’t been much in the way of privatization in those countries. Agriculture is still collectivized in Russia, and most of its industry is still state-monopolized, just under private management.

    The de-Ba’athification of Iraq is desirable, but it is not a necessary prerequisite to the establishment of security or to getting civil society functioning in Iraq. All that is necessary is either for the occupiers to suppress looters & other would-be violators of people’s rights, or for them to let the Iraqi people organize it themselves. The de-monopolization & privatization of Iraqi industry will also go a long way towards making sure that resources get into the hands of those best able to make productive use of them, and giving those who might otherwise be inclined towards crime peaceful ways to make a living. Even if some things do get into the hands of Ba’ath Party officials to start with, without State privilege they’ll either have to make productive use of them or they’ll soon go out of business thanks to competition.

  • You are quite wrong to compare Somalia to Iraq… civil society in Somalia is strong and their successes are a direct result of that fact. Everything I have read and heard about Iraq suggests it is utterly different.

    Likewise, your example of Lithuania is correct but Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria and even poster boy the Czech Republic… all have serious structural problems which can be traced to their recent communist past and lack of will to remove the toxic effects of former communists in high places, problems which will just get worse when some of them join the EU.

    It will take quite a while for civil society to develop in Iraq and if there is no de-Ba’athification process, Russia would indeed be the template for what privatisation would bring. Of course I want to see that as an eventual objective, but to treat Iraq like some sophisticated society where market solutions will quickly emerge if the state just stays out of the way is just naive. Iraq is not Kritarchist Somalia and it certainly is not the USA circa 1785. It is not even blessed with the intellectual infrastructure of shattered Germany in 1946.

    Of course I do think Iraq can develop… it is not like they are genetically incapable, but civil societies do not just materialize overnight.

  • Yes, civil society is strong in Somalia – now. It wasn’t very strong back in 1991. It was so weak, in fact, that people were starving by the hundreds of thousands, and inter-clan warfare wracked the country. That’s why the UN went in to provide famine relief and “keep the peace.” Of course, there wasn’t any peace to keep, so that part of the UNOSOM mission failed miserably. It wasn’t until the clans had a chance to fight decisive battles then make peace afterwards that peace broke out, Somali militiamen removed the machineguns from their “technicals,” & converted them to transporting goods instead of delivering bullets.

    A similar process could take place in Iraq. However, that might not be preferable to having the Coalition occupation forces do it, especially given the threat of foreign intervention by Syria & Iran. But the main disadvantage Iraq has over Somalia in 1991 is that Saddam’s regime had far more of a stranglehold over Iraq than Barre’s totalitarian socialist military dictatorship had over Somalia – as proven by the fact that Barre was overthrown by Somalis, not by foreign powers.

    I disagree that Iraq lacks the “intellectual infrastructure of shattered Germany in 1946.” Iraqis are among the best-educated people in the Middle East.

    As for Eastern Europe, I would’ve picked true basket-cases like Belarus & Romania as examples of inadequate de-Communization. Having just been in the Czech Republic, it seemed to be doing quite well to me. Sure, it has problems, but who doesn’t?