The Seven Characteristics of Loser Nations
In the Spring, 1998, issue of Parameters, the journal of the U.S. Army War College, Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters, USA (Ret.), listed the seven characteristics of what Colonel Peters calls: “The Loser Nations.” By losers, Colonel Peters means those nations where mostly illiterate people live in poverty, suffer from a lack of health care, wholesome food, clean water and sanitation. Here’s the list:
1. Restrictions on the free flow of information.
2. Subjugation of women.
3. Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure.
4. The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
5. Domination by a restrictive religion.
6. Low valuation of education.
7. Low prestige assigned to work.
The application of these characteristics immediately brings the following dictatorships to mind: pre-liberation Iraq, pre-liberation Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Even though Iran and Pakistan are non-Arab nations, they fit the Peters parameters, as well.
If these are the nations that were failing in the previous century and are destined to fail in the current century, we begin to understand the frustrations underlying what, for want of a better term, we shall call: the Radical Muslim Culture. But bear in mind most Muslims are not Arabs and not all Arabs belong to the Radical Muslim Culture.
1. Restrictions on the free flow of information. The Radical Muslim Culture strives to cut off all communications with the outside world. They are not stupid. They saw how the Communications Revolution accelerated the fall of the Soviet Union. Morever, they cleverly use al Jazeera TV and a free-world media eager to blame the United States for most anything as their propaganda minions.
2. The subjugation of women. Typically, they use women as beasts of burden. Not only do they deny themselves the brainpower many women possess, they refuse to adopt the efficiencies inherent in labor saving machinery. After all, the women are already trained to do the washing, cooking, cleaning, planting, harvesting, textile- and leather-working by hand.
3. Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure. The Radical Muslim Culture blames the Jews for the poverty of their people and their failed economies. They refuse to accept what Colonel Peters sees as the reasons why they failed in the 20th Century and will continue to fail in the 21st Century. Denial is not just the major river in Egypt.
4. The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization. While the Radical Muslim Culture forbids the cheating of a relative, a different standard is applied to those not related by blood or marriage. This trait breeds distrust throughout the larger community and acts to restrain free trade and the exchange of ideas.
5. Domination by a restrictive religion. While the Koran sets out some admirable rules for personal conduct and for how Muslims should treat each other, it also teaches that the world’s population must be converted to Islam by the use of force, if necessary. This authorization of the use of force presents the United States and its allies with their greatest challenge.
6. A low valuation of education. The schools of the Radical Muslim Culture teach religion rather than the 3-Rs. The Mullahs know knowledge and information are power. The distribution of knowledge attacks their primary power base. Students living under the Radical Muslim Culture who seek education in subjects relative to 21st Century living must study in the West.
7. Low prestige assigned to work. If work were something to be prized, the men would do it. While the women do almost all the heavy lifting, the men sit in cafes drinking strong coffee, smoking their water pipes and discussing religion and politics. Of course, if their roles were reversed, the women would be sitting in cafes, drinking coffee, smoking and discussing religion and politics. Here, the Radical Muslim Culture may have a point.
Unfortunately, the members of the Radical Muslim Culture believe their salvation lies in our destruction rather than in their own reformation. This belief may cause their destruction.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about the terrorist threat to the United States.
©2003. William Hamilton.