You probably know that the USA has officially withdrawn from Iraq. And you probably also know that in many ways Iraq became the de facto 51st American state for nearly a decade (I remember that my phone’s news app had an “Iraq” section back in 2007). Looking back 10 years ago I recall my attitude being “how bad could we mess this up?” I had expected a “Mouse that Roared” scenario, American investments would leave Iraq in a better position. In a general impressionistic sense I got the sense that I was drastically wrong, but over the past few years poking around Google Data Explorer it’s clear that you can make this case quantitatively too. Iraq just jumps out as a shockingly messed up country (the World Values Survey will also confirm that Iran is a much more enlightened country when measured by the yardstick of post-materialist values!).
Below is a taste of what I often see (I’ll keep life expectancy on the x-axis):