A wide stretch of swampland was created all along its borders. There are bridges, but nobody can get in. Some food shipments are accepted from time to time, sometimes very large ones, the country could not survive without these unless drastic reforms were to take place. Most of the food that the country produces is shipped to -even- poorer countries. The land is said to be very fertile, but its own government denies this or does not know how to raise crops or does not allocate the labor force or changes its policies too often to use the land. It’s not exactly clear.
There’s certainly a lot of mismanagement. The country’s industrial and agricultural output is low. Its few shipments do have a lasting effect on the countries that receive them. This country runs itself into the ground, but somehow manages to help other countries flourish. It maintains a military, but it is usually on the defensive and kept inland. The country pretends to be a useless swampland so no invaders would take an interest.
Very little is known about its military. It’s often used to suppress its own population. Civil wars rage continuously. The government consists of 13 people who convene around a round table. These rulers are locked in eternal discussions. Laws and policies are constantly changed. Renewed and changed back. Sometimes there’s a period of martial law, and sometimes there are short periods of prosperity, with loose regulations for tourists. At times the population is required by law to be cheerful. These policies are scrapped before they are systematically implemented. Sometimes attemps have been made to apply a scorched earth policy and destroy all infrastructure.
In terms of diplomacy the country is not very active. It seems to only want to deal with distant countries. It’s not a member of any union. It maintains close ties with only a couple of nations, and only nations that are entirely non-threatening. Even the slightest hint of aggression will prompt the country to severe all ties. Ironically, it’s deeply concerned about the state of the world and regrets not being able to influence the world in any significant way, due to its deplorable internal state.
Emprisoned by nostalgia
The citizens of the country keep clinging to a nostalgic idea of a Golden Age. Make Lethargia great again. The thirteen rulers have the most heated debates and fights over strategies to bring this Golden Age back. When the conclusion is that this period cannot come back and that perpetual decline or status quo is inevitable the rulers consider detonating its own nuclear arsenal and destroying the country once and for all.
Foreign delegate for development
It has recently allowed a foreign delegate for development to tour the country. This delegate claims the country has several opportunities to flourish. She is not always taken seriously, since the delegate is not running this country. The 13 rulers have been fighting less intensely since the delegate arrived in the country. All rulers listen to the delegate, some of her advice has been followed, with some effect. The country has relaxed its border security a little bit. Industrial output has increased, but only marginally, not substantially. The country allows the delegate to keep touring and nothing is off limits. The rulers have come to depend on the presence of this delegate to prop up the morale of its population. The presence of the delegate has also forced the rulers to present some sort of common front and to act more in concert.
The rulers are still desperate and it takes them a ridiculous amount of time to act on what they have decided. If they do not consult with the delegate on a regular basis their coalition falls apart again and the country is again plunged into a state of desperate passivity. The general feeling is that it will get worse before it gets better, and perhaps it will only get worse. Without fundamental changes it’s impossible to flourish. The rulers would have to be kicked out of the country and replaced by one firm monarch to get anything done, and even then the situation would be tenuous at best. Morale is very low and the population is engaged in a silent rebellion, by not reproducing and by being the last generation, if the last generation dies the country ceases to exist. A recent poll has pointed out that over 90 percent of the population believes that the glory days of the country belong to the past and will not return. The population prefers to stoically accept that nothing good can happen anymore than to have its hopes dashed.