Naturally, I hate them. Without war and conflict, I’ve got no career. What am I gonna do for money? Write poetry? Every decent rhyme for “Nantucket” has already been taken. Suck it. Duck it. Kirby Puckett.
But this isn’t all me-me-me. I’m worried about others, too. Think of all the hard-working explosives makers, prosthetic limb polishers, and mortuary refrigeration technicians who’ll be out of work if these Fund For Peacenik freaks get their way. Careers aren’t just about money. They’re about giving people a sense of purpose. Without purpose, the soul is drained and self-esteem vanishes.
These Fund For Peace pricks don’t care though. In fact, there’s strong evidence to suggest they enjoy injuring the self-esteem of others.
How else do you explain the Failed States Index — Fund For Peace’s annual list of nations ranked by how violent, unstable and destitute they are?
I suppose it’s useful for policy planners, scholars, commentators and mortuary refrigerations technicians to know where the action is. I just wish they didn’t call them “failed” states. How about something gentler and less judgemental? How about Differently Successful States Index? Or how about Most Room To Improve States Index? See, you can make the same point without being mean.
So which states does Fund For Peace label the failingest of failed states? Here’s a run-down of the top/bottom 10. At the end of each listing, I’ve decided to say something nice about each country so they don’t feel as badly if they read this.
10. PAKISTAN — Nuclear-armed and overrun with violent extremists. Deadly terrorist bombings are routine in Pakistan and large parts of its territory are outside the government’s authority.
SOMETHING NICE ABOUT PAKISTAN: It’s semi-official outfit, the shalwar kameez, is basically just pyjamas. It’s like the whole country is always dressed in comfy sleepwear.
9. GUINEA: It’s poor, hot, and run by clique of military officers. It has no functioning civil service. Life expectancy is less than 50 years. It’s so awful, people who live there sometimes go to Liberia for a better life. Think about that.
SOMETHING NICE ABOUT GUINEA: Guinean singer Mory Kanté’s 1985 album 10 Kola Nuts is delightful.
8. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: No money. No government services except violence. And a civil war. If it’s neighbors weren’t so awful, more would flee.
SOMETHING NICE ABOUT CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: So well-named, even a geographic illiterate can find it on a map.
7. IRAQ: Wasn’t everything supposed to be awesome there once George W. Bush gave ‘em freedom? Oh, well. Iraq’s still plagued by obscene amounts sectarian violence and official corruption.
SOMETHING NICE ABOUT IRAQ: As much as we deserve it, they still haven’t bombed us.
6. AFGHANISTAN: It’s now the central front in the War On Terror™. Foreigners enjoy having wars there. The locals seem pretty fond of fighting as well.
SOMETHING NICE ABOUT AFGHANISTAN: Shares its heroin with the world at surprisingly low prices.
5. CONGO: Ground zero for the deadliest international war since World War II.
SOMETHING NICE ABOUT CONGO: Too polite to guilt us about the above fact.
4. ZIMBABWE: In his quest to hold on to power, dictator Robert Mugabe took farms away from farmers and gave them to his cronies. The country went from food exporter to starvation-state in less than a decade.
SOMETHING NICE ABOUT ZIMBABWE: Inspired one of Bob Marley’s last great songs.
3. SUDAN: Run by a genocidal regime that’s protected from international sanctions by China because it has oil.
SOMETHING NICE ABOUT SUDAN: NBA giant turned heroic humanitarian Manute Bol was from Sudan.
2. CHAD: Very corrupt, even by Africa’s standards. Getting more violent as neighboring Sudan’s Darfur conflict spills over the border.
SOMETHING NICE ABOUT CHAD: The only African place name suitable for white kids.
1. SOMALIA: An anarchic state that hasn’t had a government in two decades. When it almost got a government in 2006, we toppled it because they were religious extremists.
SOMETHING NICE ABOUT SOMALIA: If you hate big government and love freedom, Somalia is paradise.
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