USA – Looking In The Balkans Mirror?

Picture of Selco


I am Selco and I am from the Balkan region, and as some of you may know it was hell here from 92-95, anyway, for 1 whole year I lived and survived in a city WITHOUT: electricity, fuel, running water, food distribution, without any kind of organized law or government. The city was surrounded for 1 year and it actually was a real SHTF situation. Our allies were our enemies from one day to the next. Today I’m prepared and share my experience on this blog.

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For years I have been following news from the survival “realm” all over the internet. One thing is for sure: every day in those years when I read survival “news” I could conclude, based on the headlines, that the world is going to chaos and end in the next week, next month or next year.

And still we are here discussing, we have all the comforts and commodities. Let’s say we are doing fine.

But now, for the first time, I have a feeling that world is going to chaos really soon.

Too many things are seemingly “moving” inside global calculations, and this time we could be close to a “big one”.

No matter how much food, ammo., training and skills you have when SHTF you are gonna be surprised. Most of us have been in the mode of preparing for something that is not happening for years, and when it finally happens there is going to be a period of shock for the folks, and in that period a LOT of people are going to die.

Since most of the folks who read my stuff and subscribe to my courses are from US, things that are written here are meant for them mostly, but not exclusively for them.

Every now and then I get questions about similarities between situation in US and the Balkans before SHTF. And I have read couple of good articles about the same topic lately.

Since I have lot of people that I can call good friends, and they are from States, I am going to point out some things about my Balkan SHTF and possible US SHTF. There are some serious and worrying parallels,  even we are talking about two different systems.

Feel free to prove me wrong in comments, I am open to discussion…



“The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. . . . This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears above ground he is a protector. . . having a mob entirely at his disposal . . . .” —Plato

I have lived in the system and country where we believed that we are all equal. Different nationalities, different religions etc. Melted all together to make one “big and prosperous” nation, to be great and equal… united.

And then leverage of world  forces simply changed, and suddenly we are being taught that differences between us are more important than similarities and “one nations”, old history battles are been taught again, one group suddenly is more important then other and so on and so on.

And then came “leaders” or saviors that led us against others. After years of carnage, here we are again with almost the same leaders.

I have been through the war and met many folks on every side shooting because they have been told that other side is evil, and yet all sides are the same at the end.

Rich are richer, poor are poorer. Nothing changed. Nobody learned nothing.


Big Circles and Small Circles  (and your decisions)

Again and again, there is a big circle and small circle. You may have illusion that you are controlling things in bigger circle, but it is only an illusion. What kind of government you’re going to have and what kind of politics they use in the next years is not up to you, you just have been smartly led to believe that you can make the change.

It is like that…

At the end it all comes to the matter of power and possession, and you are just small piece of everything, you are small part of the tool.

Over the years I have learned that it is more important to have one more month of food stored or one more skill learned then to waste time on worrying who is going be elected.

It is a waste of time, when SHTF they all gonna do the same more or less, oppress people and take their rights and liberties very easy.


Your Rights

Living in society where you have certain rights and freedoms for years is a good thing.

The bad thing is, when SHTF and you lose all those rights in single day, and you find yourself so shocked that you simply do not know what next to do, because you had those rights for many years, it became totally natural for you to ‘own’ it.

Having lots of conversations with friends from the US, I concluded that the majority of common folks their simply do not understand that all your rights can be lost in one day.

And not by the evil invaders from the space, or Russians or who ever. Your government can take it. In One Day.

Majority of folks simply do not see this as a possible option, and even preppers their who understand it, may look like ‘weirdos’ because of this viewpoint.

Do not get me wrong, I would love to live in country where I can buy weapons easily, where I have rights to protect my home, where I can say freely (more or less) what I do not like.

I like that very much, actually I admire it.

What I do not like is feeling that most of the people think it is written in the stone and it can not be changed.

In short, things that I like most about US is going to be the biggest ‘loss’ in US when SHTF, and not only the US.

When SHTF there is going to be lot of surprised people, a lot of shock.


Your Perception of Future SHTF, Prepper Movement in the USA


I can not get rid of the feeling, that majority of people see SHTF as a big fun, shooting while drinking beer, with additional testing of all of their cool gear.

I see that in blogs, comments, forums, documentaries, movies…

I had more then one participants of my course who told me ”this is not fun, it is hard, and not so pleasant”.

I had people who have been preppers for 30 years and never considered the fact that when SHTF it is going to be smelly all around you.

There’s been a man who advises skateboard as a ‘good’ transport through SHTF city, a man who thinks that 30 brand new gold coins are going to get him through problems on his bug out trip and so on and so on.

Now I am not mocking with people who stated all the above. What I do not like is believing in “facts” that are not checked.

If you never been through SHTF you may not have the idea that it is not fun, but quite hard and unpleasant. Where do you think people and dead animals are going to be buried? Where will the garbage be taken, human waste and everything else? A foul smell is going to be a constant.

Don’t you think offering someone a brand new gold coin for safe passage won’t bring some “oooh maybe he has more of those interesting funny unusual gold things with him” attention?

Why don’t you try to have 10 cheap gold rings in your pocket instead, and offer on every “checkpoint”, one that you directly pull down from your finger with the words “here take my engagement ring, just let me pass”?

Is a guy going to think “oooh, maybe he has more of those his engagement rings in his pocket”?

Same things go with trade.

Examples are numerous.

Common sense is something that is missing mostly in “mainstream” prepper movements, and I understand that , it is business, it is about money.

But folks, choose carefully what advice you are taking as a real.

For the average, beginner prepper, the USA looks like paradise. A place where you can look and find correct information, also look and find correct equipment for future SHTF, but that also brings risk because there are more false and wrong information and mindset than right.

Personally I like what can be found in the US, because in most of the cases, I know what is good or bad, but for beginners it is much, much harder.



As some kind of conclusion for this very hard topic, because it is wrong to put things right with generalization:

  1. It is going to be very ugly, much more ugly than my SHTF experience here, simply because the ‘fall’ when SHTF going to be bigger. The “Distance” between modern everyday life and life in SHTF for the USA is WAY bigger than in my time. Majority of folks are “soft” and to dependent on the system.
  2. The ‘Survival Movement’ is big business, and it has become more (much more) about selling items (to make you believe that you are prepared) than about learning and gaining knowledge.
  3. Wrong perceptions about SHTF (or at least not checked and “experienced” beliefs) are rooted so hard, they have simply become the ‘accepted truths’. A LOT of these ‘truths’ are simply false and there for earning money, not for survival.
  4. A good thing is that you have much more options about  choosing and owning weapons, but this option can ‘bite you back’ if you have weapons, but with the wrong mindset, ‘truths’ and knowledge, simply because a whole bunch of bad people are going to have weapons too.
  5. The majority of folks are not ready to bend the rules and adapt. There is lot of talk about adapting, but then suddenly you get whole bunch of folks who are thinking “I’ll do that” or “ I’ll never do that” instead of “I’ll do what has to be done (adapt to situation)”
  6. Working with other folks. You need to work with other folks, to have friends, group, connections-before SHTF. Survival alone is for really tough mother…kers.
  7. People prepare for SHTF, but not really, they are preparing for the romantic, movie version of SHTF. They want to feel cool and comfortable when SHTF, which is not a problem by itself. Problem is that they want that at the expense of real knowledge and covering of real basics. So you have a man who has a fancy and really cool rifle, but does not know how easy and fast in real fight it is to use 500 rounds, so he ends up without ammo in a week. Or has a generator but does not have a clue how to light a fire, or the differences between fuels for fire in terms of heating, smoking etc. Many examples…
  8. Do not look for higher reasons for the situation. You may have political options today, fractions, candidates, government. But when SHTF all that are empty words from some other distant time. When SHTF you will have yourself and people who want to harm you. That is it.

So folks, make sure you are preparing for the realities. I would encourage you to start ‘fact checking’ your plans and preps today…


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27 Responses

  1. Good article, and I enjoyed reading it. I live in the US, and I agree that most people here are totally unprepared for even a few days without the power grid, fast food and a drug store. Really, the death toll would be counted in the millions if my country was hit with a prolonged crisis whereupon the food, fuel, first aid and fire and police protection were all not delivered on a timely schedule.

    Americans mostly rely on the just in time system to supply them with their daily needs. Moreover, without the internet, smartphones, and videos Americans would not only suffer from a lack of necessity but they’d go crazy from a lack entertainment. Americans are addicted to entertainment. And by the time many figured out that the world of entertainment has no practical value in a world of SHTF, many would be sick, starving, injured, dying or dead.

    So, yes, I agree with the written of this article…… Learn real world skills. Stockpile food, fuel, firearms, first aid, filters for water and keep a Bible handy and read it daily. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m going to need God’s help to get through a day of reckoning and judgment.

  2. I have always said when SHTF some of the first to die are the preppers. Becasue they are SURE that guns and supplies are the most important things. No what is more important is knowledge and training.

    I have taken friends on my survival weekends and may give up within hours. most because they are carrying 90 pounds of crap, others because they are so far out of shape they cant even run for 30 minutes at a time let alone hike off trail up hills with all their gear for 8 hours a day.

  3. I forget where I saw the photo, but there’s an image in my mind of somebody using the Olympic “rings” from the former Yugoslavia as “cover” during the civil war.

    When people mention things falling apart, I usually ask them what they plan to do with their sh1t. As in, “the toilets probably won’t flush after a few days, so where are you going to go? And wash your hands when your cheap TP tears and you get that sh1t on your hands…got a plan for that?”
    Most folk haven’t thought of that, or trash pickup, or the lack of bathing and washing of hands and dishes and…and…and…

    Feeding of pets also came to mind.

  4. The people of our country will be in deep trouble. People either trust the government completely, and rely on it for everything, or mistrust the government and will be targets for those who do. Many people are either familiar and comfortable with weapons, or are terrified of them, and will be easy prey for bandits. Many have no ability to live without daily support systems, and will flock to FEMA camps and be lost. Those that resist will probably be killed by government forces, or turned in by passive, dependent sheep. It will be a scary time, and I do not look forward to it.

  5. Solid perspective. I hate how commercialized this is and make a conscious effort to not buy anything from “survival” companies-especially food (what a scam that is). High quality, organic, bulk grain, canned meat, water, etc. is the way to go. People are calling me frantic about this election cycle and I really couldn’t care less about it. If your house is in order, then come what may. If it isn’t in order, no wonder “you’re” worried about who the next overlord is.

    Carry on, friends.

  6. As a youngster, I was very fortunate to learn some important life lessons from a former French Resistance fighter. French society collapsed and changed almost overnight after the defeat and German occupation. Lesson #1 – Trust yourself and never fully trust anyone else. Even your teeth sometimes bite your own tongue. Everyone is out for themselves, and pretty much nobody else – betrayal becomes a currency. Lesson #2 – It is easier to go from a hard life to an easy life; and extremely hard to go from an easy life to a hard one. Know what it is like to be cold, wet, tired and/or hungry. Be aware of these things and how to overcome them so that if they occur, it will not be a debilitating shock. Lesson #3 – Nobody will take better care of YOU than YOU.

  7. When the water stops flowing, people are going to be in desperation mode fast. Lots of preppers have stockpiles of food, and barely enough water to last them a few days, and no idea where to get more when the SHTF. For a lot of people, that will be the first slap in the face from reality. Another big problem will be having all their preps in one place. Cache planning is so rare, imagine what it will be like to have to move all preps out in the open for all to see or else leave most of it behind. Better have an armored truck or a tank.

  8. This is perhaps the wisest and most important article that Selco has given us.

    This year I did a contract in Iraq and got to re-trace my old stomping grounds when I was in the Army. Baghdad has become even more of a horror show than when American troops patrolled the streets. There are far more police and military check-points, bunkers, and machine gun towers than in the hey days of the American war. Today small slivers of modernity and “normalcy” cling to existence in the slightest alcoves of the greater ruling hell. The stench in places is overwhelming while women and children trundle from block to block looking for the next viable open-aired market. Car bombings and shootings are daily and nightly but rarely make the western news outlets. It seemed that even chaos has become boring when it is so common-place.

    But what I saw was not so much a third-world failed state but a glimpse of America’s future. Similar to Iraq before Saddam’s fall, our collapse is set in place. People hate one another viscerally as we are deeply divided along racial and political lines more so than at any time since the mid 1800’s. Half of the population are political favorites and receive regular free handouts while the other half is taxed to death. The national government rules every detail and aspect of every life. State and local governments and elected representatives are powerless but remain as relicts of a quaint past while the national executive office has become so powerful that its actions and leadership are immune from any effective oversight.

    Like Iraq when Saddam ruled, we live in a society held together by a single point of failure: the national government…and especially the abusive executive office: half the population looks to it for their every need, while the other half boils in hatred and disgust. But for now, it all appears resolute and as solid as a Hussein statue.

  9. Great article, just want to add a Bosnian woman I work with years ago told me the same thing, that what happened in Bosnia would happen here, she could see it coming.

  10. A great article! I agree dark days are ahead for the US, and then for the world as a result of a ‘domino effect’. We personally do what we can to prepare, but some of us are already at the edge of survival even in this current ‘fat’ culture. We are poor due to medical issues but do not ‘qualify’ for the govt assisted lifestyle (not that I would want to do so). I am 73, my husband is close and has no legs. BUT, WE WILL NOT GIVE UP. As my husband says, if we go, take an honor guard along…

    One advantage we have is that we have lived in remote places under difficult conditions, and spent time in Third World countries. We know firsthand what lack of potable water does to people. We know what it is to shiver in the subzero cold. We have lived where ‘amenities’ were non-existent. I also grew up very poor (for America) and know what it is to forage for food. Depend on a garden. We hunt and have firearms. And lots of survival/firearms/security/wild edibles knowledge.

    But it is very difficult to find like-minded people in our university town. Especially ones we can trust. Who wants to look up from their cellphones and see the reality around them??? Yes, I know survival depends on a group. We cannot stay awake 24 hours to guard our supplies or our own lives. Our neighborhood is not very savory. We cannot afford to move. So, I guess from an objective standpoint, we are already dead.

    But we will survive as long as we can, and go down fighting. At least we have an idea of what the coming disaster and miseries will be. Selco is right, the slums of India stink. And when things go down, everywhere will be reduced to the same unthinkable level. Perhaps the best place to prepare is in your own mind, now…and trust in Almighty God for His direction when it comes.

  11. What other small items do you recommend for bartering and/or bribes that won’t give away the fact that you may have more? The wedding band/engagement ring idea is brilliant because no one will think you have MORE wedding rings in your pocket, or a stash of wedding rings at your house. I’ve been a “student” of your blogs for a couple of years now and I’ve stockpiled your suggestions of disposable lighters, matches, hand wipes, hot cocoa packets, etc. I’ve even stockpiled some miniature liquor bottles for bartering, and bigger, cheaper bottles of whiskey, vodka, and rum with a stash of little screw cap bottles to break them down into smaller quantities. Like you said, I don’t like the idea of carrying gold or silver coins around, so what other valuables, or things that will become valuable that right now are just normal things, do you recommend having on hand instead of mountains of gold and silver bullion? I know for a fact that anyone who even remotely looks like they are “doing okay” will be instant targets for those who aren’t. I already have a large group of friends and family and we prepare together. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be targets. I know you learned the balance between being prepared and LOOKING prepared (one will save you, the other will get you killed), so I’m more interested in ways to not look so prepared, but actually being quite nicely situated when SHTF.

    1. Gold and silver in bigger amounts are not necessary bad idea, but only if you cover everything else, and in most of the cases it is hard to cover everything else, at least for average people.
      And gold or silver in your stash could work good when (if) system jump back in, or when things go back to normal.
      So it is about covering basics.
      Alcohol, tobacco, medicines, everyday items like lighters, tools, ammo… Big quantities but small “items” if you understand me.

  12. Fear no death. Realize that this material world means nothing and that your soul is on a journey through the universe. Anything else is fear driven by the beings who are influencing this world right now……

  13. The End is near. The US was the “great experiment”…that failed. Remember that our Constitution was written by men who had escaped from the class conscious society of England. They knew the terrible difference between the Nobles and the peasants. The Constitution was written with the idea of keeping the “Nobles” from taking over. Sadly, the experiment failed. Today we have the “1%ers” who grow rich at every opportunity and the rest of us grow poor. I speak from experience. I went to college and got a business degree. I made good money for 15 years or so. As the economy went in to the toilet and companies paid less and less….my salary sunk from the $50,000…range to $38,000 as I changed jobs because of the economy. I finally hit bottom when I was making $18,000 per year working 35 hour weeks in retail. You can’t afford a n apartment let alone a house making that. I see VIOLENT REVOLUTION coming. The have nots will attack the haves. There will be blood in the streets. As a business major…any one who is not STUPID…knows the economy is a “ponzi scheme”. It is a paper economy. With Trillions in debt there is only about $250 BILLION in cash in the us. When the US goes to negative interest rates…people will rush the banks for their money like they have done in Japan. Then the riots will begin. I live in an urban area. Next to my neighbor hood are the welfare moms and the fellows who hang on the street corners during the day. The Mercedes and BMWs that cruise the streets are the drug pushers. I know when SHTF…they will riot and come over to my neighbor hood. I have a few guns but I am not “SGT YORK”…..nor The Terminator. I may take a few of them out first but I plan on filling the apartment with gas and when I am down to my last few rounds….light the match.
    Its a shame that the US will end this way, but the end was written years ago. Read the Bible book of Daniel. He tells of a statute that represents the world powers. The US/England joint world powers were represented by the statutes feet of clay. God will hurl a mountain down and the feet of clay will break and the statute will fall…thus ending rule by man led governments…because every type of gov’t… by man has failed… The US was the last experiment…

  14. Was in New Orleans post Katrina. Saw some shell-shocked locals. Grew up on a farm; yes, the smell of dead stock gets ugly fast. I hear dead humans is even worse. I think you are being a bit kind about us as Americans. Some will be O.K.; I suspect an awful lot will not last very long at all. Skills rule. understanding will help a person avoid a lot of problems. Materials are needed, but worth little if you don’t know how to use them. Good luck to all when it takes place!!

  15. Young Amish Man Killed-Through tragedy comes grace…
    In a small town in Northwestern Pennsylvania lives a community of Old World Order Amish. Their lives are simple and clean and filled with compassion and love for their neighbors. They live a private life far away from technology and the hustle and bustle of modern society. Even though their existence is quiet by nature, they still face the trauma and disappointments of everyday life. They live and die, they mourn and celebrate, they love the Lord, and they marry and raise their children praying they will have a desire to remain connected to their Amish roots.
    Even a life surrounded by that kind of tranquility …tragedy happens.
    While most of us were agonizing over politics last week, life was different for one young Amish woman and her five small children. Before I go on, I know tragedy like this happens in our society as well, but what we don’t see is communities coming together to help raise and support a widow and her children like the Amish do.
    The following story is told by Susan Short Hougelman who owns and operates Simple Life Tours in New Wilmington, PA. Susan respects her Amish friends and the relationship she has with the families in her community. Through her tours, she had met, made friends, and been able to see first-hand how Mark 12:31; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” is put into practice every day in an Amish community.

    Story told by Susan:
    Last week, a young Amish man named Steven Yoder was killed in a mill accident here in New Wilmington, Pa. Steven left behind a wife named Mary, and five children under the age of 13, and one on the way. I asked my Amish friend Teena what would happen to the family. “How will they financially make it, since the Amish do not carry insurance?” Teena answered, “The church will take care of them.” The church, in an Old World Order Amish group, is the entire community. “We are the church! We will all pitch in and help her until her sons are grown and can financially support her. If everybody gives a little, she will have a lot.”
    Today, I stopped by Teena’s, and she asked me what the weather is supposed to be like on Saturday. I said it was going to be cool, but dry. Teena said, “Good because at least ten teams of men are going to Mary’s house to plow her fields, winterize her home and barn, get her a winter’s supply of coal (to heat her home) and wood (for her to cook with). The women are all going to cook and bake to help feed the men, who are taking care of Mary’s farm, and bring food for Mary to have all winter long. I’m glad it will be nice for them.” This is a community. This is the church, His church.
    When there is a need, it is taken care of. Not by a few, but by all.
    Lord help us to be a better community and a better church.
    Let our eyes see the needs. Let our ears hear the cries. Let our hands pitch in to do the dirty work. Many hands do light work. We all need each other.
    As I write this, it is Saturday, the day that Amish community is coming together to help support that woman and her children. My heart is filled with hope that anyone that is reading this will be as touched as I am. We can learn so much about grace by just watching the actions if this small community. They aren’t helping that woman to have favor in God’s eyes, they are helping that woman because it’s what God instructed us to do.
    What can we do? We can close our eyes and say a prayer that we can come together and support our fellow man in their time of need…just like the Amish do. And while you’re at it, please say a pray of thanks to all the families that are giving up their Saturday to help this woman and her children.
    Look around you, look at your own family circle and your circle of friends and see who is in need. Take care of them. Those of us who are past the child bearing age are “Caretakers” of the younger generations. They depend on us to have the skills to teach them. They depend on us to feed them, protect them and if need be to die for them.

  16. All what Selco said but 10x times worse here in Germany.
    And no weapons available AT ALL for the general populace.
    The fricken government actually told people to prep food&water for 2 weeks, nobody took it seriously.

    The rapefugee Invaders .. I´m not even trying to explain what these actual animals are doing here.
    It´s mostly suppressed (on Merkel´s orders), but the worst cases do leak through.

    Not even sure why I´m posting this.
    I guess, take heed you ´mericans.
    We´ll be fighting the ISIS beheading&rape-squads with sticks and stones over here.
    There are going to be a lot less Germans left(if any) after this is over here.

  17. Selco, for whatever my inexperienced opinion may be worth, it also seems to me that the USA has been “Looking in the Balkans Mirror,” for quite a while now, but from across the room, as it were. In the last few years, we’ve stepped a lot closer to that mirror, and the growing problems are likely to get a whole lot clearer, as soon as the next regime takes office, if not immediately after the election.

    All social conflicts (sexism, ageism, racism, homophobia, and “income disparity”) are fully in play, have been harped on incessantly by the media, and the federal government, with the help of various state and local governments, has been deliberately setting up cultural/religious conflicts between local citizens and whole communities of imported islamic zealots.

    Divisive economic forces are in play: debt money “loaned” into existence by the truck-, train-, and shipload, to a prostitute national government, until the ability of that government to squeeze enough of the phony stuff back out of its broke population, to keep paying the “interest” owed on “the National Debt,” is in question. The fedgov encourages foreigners to ignore borders, to sneak in, work for “under-the-table” pay rates, drive citizen labor out of the market, and always to “cash in” on all the social programs to which they never contributed.

    The ability of governments, at all levels, to remedy or palliate the conflicts, even if they wished to do so (an open question at best) requires money, as do efforts to upgrade utilities systems protections, and repair crumbling infrastructure — all on revenues which barely keep up with population increase.

    The fedgov uses the turmoil to keep all the various identifying fingers pointing away from itself, and toward other fellow abusees. But it won’t take much to push the USA over the edge, and when the waiting profiteers finally succeed, it could trigger a Third World War. I expect little “fun” from the coming experience.

  18. I’ve been at this for nearly sixteen years now, but I don’t feel that I have much to show for all the effort and resources that I have invested over that time.

    I consider my most important achievement in preparation to be the realization that all of my preparation efforts in all probability will be worthless because I will be completely surprised by how the collapse occurs. In other words, I don’t feel that I have a clue about how the collapse will actually play out and I fully expect to end of neck deep in shit wondering what happened after the shtf. I just hope that I will have the sense and ability to duck and run.

    It has been interesting and amusing over these last sixteen years to read the words of some of the arrogant types who think that they have it all figured out, especially the militant types who think that training in armed confrontation will save their hides. I reckon that they must be imagining that this will not be an engineered dieoff event.

  19. I do not know if you really had equal rights back then in Balkan, perhaps you had. A for the USA, if you are a “progressive”, a liberal, then yes, you have all the rights and the federal government, as well as the local governments of many states is fully in support and protection of your rights and freedoms. But! If you do not share the progressive point of view, the best right of your is to shut up and make yourself invisible, unless you want to get into a trouble and learn that in the real life some people are much more equal than the others. So, yes, the USA is moving towards a big SHTF, with all help possible from the federals to make this happen. And you know what? I welcome this. Sometimes, people need to be dipped in SHT to make them start seeing the life as it is and stop living in an imagination world of them. Suffering cleans and makes stronger, and washes trash away.

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