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Saturday , February 27 2021

Ibn Khaldun: Nations fall if rulers lack top advisors

CHOOSING good advisors is one of the main ingredients of state administration and growth. That is what an Arab scholar of Islam, social scientist, philosopher and historian Abdul Rahman Ibn Khaldun had written in his famous book “Al-Muqaddimah” (The Introduction) – the recipe for the fall of states, almost six centuries ago.

“Poor selection of the aides (advisors) by the ruler is an outright suicide attempt for the state because they blindfold the ruler. Therefore, justice becomes illusive”. In addition, “the state reaches a stage of collapse when it is unable to meet and face the challenges it encounters”.

In the advanced countries, the selection of competent advisors who prioritize the country’s interest over anything else has been the basis for its revival and for getting rid of its problems quickly.

In the previous editorial, we had talked about China using an Iraqi British advisor, who navigated the transition to a market economy and laid the practical foundations that brought about tremendous progress in a society that was based on simple economy and agriculture.

Also, there are countries that have achieved many benefits from establishing economic and social councils to manage their plans, and overcame challenges. It helped them become top countries economically because the economy sector is the backbone and soul of the state. If this sector suffers any damage, diseases begin to run in its body and it will eventually collapse if the leadership doesn’t change the advisors and find the right management institutions.

Some Arabian Gulf countries have worked for decades to seek the help of international consultants, as well as a good selection of experts from among its citizens. They have made great strides in their development and progress.

In some other countries, selection of advisors are done on the basis of the extent of their closeness to the ruler, or with the aim of pleasing a certain influential person, party, tribe or sect. This renders such advisors to be a burden on the public purse. Worst of all, no good advice can be expected from them, which means, the country’s welfare gradually declines.

Many leaders in republics or monarchies choose advisors who are not of their political likings, and they seek to increase neither their commercial nor financial interests. In fact, these leaders brag about such choices due to their conviction that those advisors will paint the actual image of the country to them and rely on the demands of the people.

This kind of approach is not limited to running a country only, but also parties and companies.

Currently, some Arabian Gulf countries are suffering from several crises economically and politically. Unfortunately, the plans put in place to solve them are extemporaneous, provocative and unrehearsed. This definitely indicates that the crises will escalate if the political leaders do not change the approach, not only in terms of choosing advisors, but also on how they deal with cases and files based on scientific, realism and transparency approach.

Irrespective of the ruler’s knowledge and sagacity, it is not possible for him to know everything transpiring in the country. He therefore needs helpers who are loyal to the country and not to the person. He is the symbol of the state, and loyalty to the state means loyalty to its leader.

Indeed, countries get sick. However, the type of treatment it receives is what determines whether it will heal or the condition will worsen and thus expedite the collapse of that country.

Therefore, an exit from the current crisis in Kuwait can happen through an economic council composed of scientific elites who are devoid of personal interests and do not aim to fulfill personal mandates at the expense of the country and its people.

Time is running out. As His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad had said in his speech during the opening session of the National Assembly, “there is no longer the luxury of wasting more effort, time and potentials through bickering, settling scores and fabricating crises, which have become a subject of resentment and frustration for the public and an obstacle to any positive progress”.

The best evidence of this insightful vision is the decline in the credit rating by two degrees from “AA2” to “A1”. This reflects the increase in government liquidity risks, and a weaker assessment of the institutional strength and governance standards in the country, thus exacerbating the crisis.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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