An Outsider’s View of a Socialist Country

By | March 23, 2016

[March 23, 2016]   In December of 2006 before the troop “surge” in Iraq brought down the high levels of violence throughout the country, I made a written observation about the nation that I thought might be interesting for readers of theLeaderMaker.com.  Post-Saddam Iraq remains a socialist country and I’m using it to show the impact of the Socialist ideology on its citizens.

I gained good insight into the mind of a socialist that I never knew beforehand.  This has translated into many of the leadership blog entries made here and my personal dislike of the ideology.  At the time of my writing, I’d only been in Iraq a little over a year and six months.  Eventually, I lived there for three years and despite being in combat, I interacted with Iraqis every day and know many personally as friends.

Here are my raw thoughts at the time about the country of Iraq, Socialism, and its citizens:

First and foremost to understand the Iraqi citizen is to recognize the impact of a socialist system.  The socialist government provides key needs for everyone.  You get free electricity, water, food, medical care, and more.  There is the expectation that you are owed this and if you are not given those things, then you have a problem with the government and not with yourself.  This makes you mad at the government for their failure; you are always innocent. 

How this mixes with the Arabic culture, the Muslim religion, an old historic Iraqi culture, and the modern Iraqi culture is still unclear.  For example, we know that Iraqis are extremely self-centered and don’t understand “systems” or “networks” of items that join together to make something work.  And, among government employees (and there are a lot of them) there is little interest in helping other departments that impact what you do indirectly –your interests are only your area. 

What does this mean?   Basically it says you don’t have to do anything to survive; just wait for the dole.  It also means it’s easy to get lots of demonstrators for a perceived wrong by the government.  Oil runs the economy and alters the socialist system as it chugs along.  Much of our understanding of Iraqis surrounds our lack of understanding of their culture and this junction of socialist ideology, Arabic ancient culture, and the Muslim religion. 

The danger is that our politicians in the U.S. believe socialists think just like us; that their fundamental values and beliefs are the same as ours and this is, bluntly, not the case.  For example, Iraqis will lie, cheat, steal, even murder (although rare), take bribes, take a cut of other employees’ pay for themselves, sacrifice the good for personal/tribal gain, etc. and this is completely acceptable and good.  Remember, they are always innocent and it’s up to the government to fix any wrong.

This doesn’t say much for Socialism.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.