«Where Mr Bush's (or his briefers') ignorance comes in on the Middle East is the blatant lack of knowledge of how a centuries-old system of peoples' representation has worked here. Such a system has worked well and still does work well. It may not have ballot boxes but it does have a person who can be approached to solve problems immediately. That is more than can be said of many western politicians.»
--a United Arab Emirates newspaper editorial, quoted in the Middle East press review
I've heard the same thing said about the Mafia -- that it gave people a guy to go to, to get things done.
People forget that what the Mafia was best at, beyond drugs and prostitution, was self-justification.