by Max Barry

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Region: The Western Isles

So... What are your nation's biggest flaws?

I'm not talking about the cliche stuff you say to an interviewer ("over confidence", "perfectionism", "carrying past trauma", etc.) - I'm talking about the real, day-to-day issues your government has to face or solve in some foreseeable future. The issues that burden your ministers' mind and fill the letters and complaints your people send them. What are they? Try to list 5 of them. This question is mainly for developed nations, since other nations obviously have many more such issues (if your nation isn't developed, you may list the 5 most pressing issues if you want).

As an example, here are mine:

1. Poor infrastructure in many rural areas - The majority of Ostehaar's economic activity is concentrated around three-four urbanized "hubs" with population of 2-3 million each. The remaining activity is scattered across several rural areas, in which basic infrastructure such as good quality roads and railways, communication lines, and government services, are poor to barely adequate.
2. High unemployment rate - Unemployment rate reached a record of around 20% during the 1980's economic crisis, and has been decreasing steadily ever since, although not fast enough (is a bit less than 10% nowadays).
3. Defective welfare system - Ostehaar's welfare system is ineffective, too bureaucratic, and isn't allocated enough funding. As a result, the poor and the handicapped are mistreated, and social security services fail to assist them.
4. Weak navy - Ostehaar's wars were mostly fought on land and in the air, leaving the navy behind. It is not the smallest in the region (a bit smaller than the average), but it and its command chain lack operational experience.
5. Unclear and ambiguous foreign policy - Is is safe to say that at the moment, Ostehaar doesn't have a foreign policy at all, unless randomly meeting foreign representatives without a clear agenda can be called a policy. In recent years, Oster decision makers have almost completely deserted the diplomatic arena, leaving Ostehaar's defense establishment practically free to handle relations with the nation's closest allied on its own, usually behind closed doors (the recent interventions in Atnaia's crisis and Camtholia's civil war, and the delivery of nuclear weapons to Vancouvia, are evident to that).