"It is not so much whether things are not as bad as they ought to be or could have been. It is, rather, whether things could have been much better". By rights, the island nation of Fiji should be thriving. It is easily the most developed country in the South Pacific; it is a hub for regional transportation and communication links, the home of international diplomatic, educational and aid organisations, with a talented multiethnic population. Yet, since its independence it has suffered two military coups in 1987 and an attempted putsch in 2000, resulting in strained institutions, and disrupted improvements to essential infrastructure, and to educational, social and medical services.