Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dispatches From The Department - 7

[The scene:  Officers are being briefed in detail about the current situation in one of the nations in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA).  The officer conducting the briefing is an extremely experienced SCA hand and has just returned to Washington after a long tour in that nation's capital.  Her presentation is engaging, fact-filled and fascinating.  After 90 minutes, she is winding down....]

Briefing Officer:, really, to describe the situation as free-fall is to give it too much credit.  Even saying something is in free-fall implies that at one time there was something for it to fall from.  We don't have that here.  What we have here is complete chaos and uncertainty.  And, most importantly, the people--who are a very, very patient people--seem to have lost all hope in their political leaders.  We simply don't know what will happen; we are in uncharted territory.  I don't think there will be a return to violence, but it's not off the table.  There is no water, there is no electricity 18 hours each day, there is no development, the country is deeply divided, there is a lot of despair, unfortunately.

And with that, let's turn to questions.

[After four or five questions on point, an audience member asks one about another SCA country].

Questioning Officer:  I'm wondering if you could talk for a minute about Neighboring Country and compare the situtaion there?

Briefing Officer:  Well, there is no comparison. [Laughter]  I'm not sure what to say.  They take their thing seriously in Neighboring Country.  They are the only people I'm aware of that when people began to talk about democracy, they protested *against* the idea.

They have their unity, and everything works there.  It's a charming place.  It really is.  The people are lovely, and all joking aside, they are very happy.  They are unified, they have development, the streets are clean and new, business is thriving, their political system is working.  There is no violence, next to no crime.  There is really no comparison. It's like a different planet.  They have clearn water, sanitation services are quite good, especially for the region.

[She stops...thinking for a moment].

But...but what they don't have....


...what they don't have is diversity.

[At the close of the discussion, we learn that Neighboring Country had acted to preserve its unity by forcefully deporting some 55,000 illegal settlers in its border regions.  After a long time in refugee camps, these people were informed by the UNHCR that nearly all of their claims to citizenship in Neighboring Country didn't hold water and that they needed to go.  They rioted and refused.

They are now being re-settled in the United States].


  1. Replies
    1. We can! I'm guessing a 'stan. In both scenarios.

      How 'bout you?