A map of the world’s most and least racially-tolerant countries. Read the methodology of the study, and its conclusion, here. The analysis was as follows:
- Anglo and Latin countries most tolerant. People in the survey were most likely to embrace a racially diverse neighbor in the United Kingdom and its Anglo former colonies (the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and in Latin America. The only real exceptions were oil-rich Venezuela, where income inequality sometimes breaks along racial lines, and the Dominican Republic, perhaps because of its adjacency to troubled Haiti. Scandinavian countries also scored high.
- India, Jordan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong by far the least tolerant.In only three of 81 surveyed countries, more than 40 percent of respondents said they would not want a neighbor of a different race. This included 43.5 percent of Indians, 51.4 percent of Jordanians and an astonishingly high 71.8 percent of Hong Kongers and 71.7 percent of Bangladeshis.
- Wide, interesting variation across Europe. Immigration and national identity are big, touchy issues in much of Europe, where racial make-ups are changing. Though you might expect the richer, better-educated Western European nations to be more tolerant than those in Eastern Europe, that’s not exactly the case. France appeared to be one of the least racially tolerant countries on the continent, with 22.7 percent saying they didn’t want a neighbor of another race. Former Soviet states such as Belarus and Latvia scored as more tolerant than much of Europe. Many in the Balkans, perhaps after years of ethnicity-tinged wars, expressed lower racial tolerance.
- The Middle East not so tolerant. Immigration is also a big issue in this region, particularly in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which often absorb economic migrants from poorer neighbors.
- Racial tolerance low in diverse Asian countries. Nations such as Indonesia and the Philippines, where many racial groups often jockey for influence and have complicated histories with one another, showed more skepticism of diversity. This was also true, to a lesser extent, in China and Kyrgyzstan. There were similar trends in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
- South Korea, not very tolerant, is an outlier. Although the country is rich, well-educated, peaceful and ethnically homogenous – all trends that appear to coincide with racial tolerance – more than one in three South Koreans said they do not want a neighbor of a different race. This may have to do with Korea’s particular view of its own racial-national identity as unique – studied by scholars such as B.R. Myers – and with the influx of Southeast Asian neighbors and the nation’s long-held tensions with Japan.
- Pakistan, remarkably tolerant, also an outlier. Although the country has a number of factors that coincide with racial intolerance – sectarian violence, its location in the least-tolerant region of the world, low economic and human development indices – only 6.5 percent of Pakistanis objected to a neighbor of a different race. This would appear to suggest Pakistanis are more racially tolerant than even the Germans or the Dutch.
Note that there are many caveats to keep in mind: for example, different societies have different perceptions of race (certain social, religious, and sectarian groups may be perceived unfavorably as distinct races) or may have no concept of race at all. Similarly, there is a difference between actually liking someone of a certain race, and being willing to live near them. Many national surveys from these countries will reveal strong racist attitudes in conjunction with a begrudging ability to tolerate said races.
A new survey report looks at attitudes among Muslims in 39 countries on a wide range of topics, from science to sharia, polygamy to popular culture. The survey finds that overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law to be the official law of their land, but there is also widespread support for democracy and religious freedom.
After decades abroad Saeed Malik (left) returned to his native Pakistan to rectify the poor education system. He remembered talking to a group of boys, 9 to 16 years old, and finding that the majority wanted to be freedom fighters and die as martyrs, because they had nothing else to live for. “And I felt, in what way can we bring these kids back to the beauty of life, to the beauty of future, to be of value to fellow mankind and to themselves and to the country,” he says. “And I started thinking in what way can we help the children.” Malik felt books were the way to broaden children’s minds, to introduce them to a whole world of subjects, and to help build tolerance for others. But he discovered that virtually none of the public schools in and around Islamabad had libraries. Through donations from the UN and private individuals, he founded the Bright Star Mobile Library, which now serves about 2,500 children, providing a range of books in Urdu and English.
Read more here.
In a recent report for International Studies Quarterly, political scientists Paul Midford and Indra de Soysa looked at U.S. and Chinese arms transfers to Africa from 1989 to 2006, using data collected by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. They found no statistical correlation between China and the types of regimes it supplied with weapons, while U.S. arms shipments were slightly negatively correlated with democracy. In plain English, China actually turned out to be less likely to sell weapons to dictators than America was.
“It isn’t that China is there to do good; they’re pursuing their national interest,” Midford says. “But we didn’t find any evidence that they’re trying to spread a ‘Beijing consensus’ or promote regimes that are specifically autocratic.”
The report focuses on Africa, but similar human rights concerns have been raised about U.S. weapons transfers to Persian Gulf autocracies such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, which collectively helped drive a more than 300 percent jump in U.S. arms sales in 2011 amid rising tensions with Iran.
Midford emphasizes that the report is not meant to suggest the United States prefers to sell weapons to dictators. “The U.S. is choosing to support autocrats based on a geopolitical rationale,” Midford says, “as is China.”
The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals, an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed.
The findings are published just days after President Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a “targeted, focused effort” that “has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties”… .
A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.
Although the drone attacks were started under the Bush administration in 2004, they have been stepped up enormously under Obama.
There have been 260 attacks by unmanned Predators or Reapers in Pakistan by Obama’s administration – averaging one every four days.
As I indicated, there have been scattered, mostly buried indications in the American media that drones have been targeting and killing rescuers. As the Bureau put it: “Between May 2009 and June 2011, at least fifteen attacks on rescuers were reported by credible news media, including the New York Times, CNN, Associated Press, ABC News and Al Jazeera.” Killing civilians attending the funerals of drone victims is also well-documented by the Bureau’s new report:
2. Bombing Cambodia: “[Nixon] wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesn’t want to hear anything about it. It’s an order, to be done. Anything that flies on anything that moves.” ( link) (Emphasis added)
3. Bombing Vietnam: ”It’s wave after wave of planes. You see, they can’t see the B-52 and they dropped a million pounds of bombs … I bet you we will have had more planes over there in one day than Johnson had in a month … each plane can carry about 10 times the load of World War II plane could carry.” ( link)
4. Khmer Rouge: “How many people did (Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary) kill? Tens of thousands? You should tell the Cambodians (i.e., Khmer Rouge) that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won’t let that stand in the way. We are prepared to improve relations with them. Tell them the latter part, but don’t tell them what I said before.” (from November 26, 1975 Meeting With Thai Foreign Minister.)
5. Dan Ellsberg: “Because that son-of-a-bitch—First of all, I would expect—I know him well—I am sure he has some more information—-I would bet that he has more information that he’s saving for the trial. Examples of American war crimes that triggered him into it…It’s the way he’d operate….Because he is a despicable bastard.” (Oval Office tape, July 27, 1971)
6. Robert McNamara: “Boohoo, boohoo … He’s still beating his breast, right? Still feeling guilty. ” ( Pretending to cry, rubbing his eyes.)
7. Assassination: “It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination.” ( Statement at a National Security Council meeting , 1975)
8. Chile: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” ( link)
9. Illegality-Unconstitutionality : “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.” (from March 10, 1975 Meeting With Turkish Foreign Minister Melih Esenbel in Ankara, Turkey)
10. Himself: “Americans like the cowboy … who rides all alone into the town, the village, with his horse and nothing else … This amazing, romantic character suits me precisely because to be alone has always been part of my style or, if you like, my technique.” (November 1972 Interview with Oriana Fallaci)
He ruined the lives of millions of Indochinese innocents and overthrew democratically elected governments, yet he keeps being rewarded and lauded…And his conduct raises even more fundamental questions: to what extent can leaders who act secretly ,illegally and unconstitutionally, lying to their citizenry and legislature as a matter of course, legitimately claim to represent their people? How much allegiance do citizens owe such leaders? And what does it say about America’s elites that they have honored a man with so much innocent blood on his hands for the past 40 years?
A demonstrator offers a flower to security forces during an anti-government protest in Bahrain, March 2011. Photo by Anmar Abdulrasoo.
A rare and disturbing documentary about life in North Korea.
The map on the top is called the Mercator projection, the type of map we’re most familiar with. Devised by Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569, it was developed specifically to assist in sea travels, which is why it’s so distorted. How inaccurate is it?
Well, the map on the bottom is the lesser-known Gall-Peters Projection, developed in 1855 and 1973 by two separate individuals. This map shows proportions and sizes much more realistically. Notice the dramatic difference: Africa, for example, is displayed as being smaller than Greenland in the Mercator version, even though it is actually twice the size of the US.
There have been some political implications to these projections: the more widely-used Mercator map is viewed as being biased towards the mostly wealthy Northern Hemisphere, while portraying predominantly poorer South as much smaller and less central.
Whatever the takeaway, as a geography buff, I’m a stickler for accuracy.
The proposed solution for a world that has become more dangerous only because the American president allowed it? “Leadership” — the alleged absence of which is based on the observation of the anonymous Obama adviser who famously told The New Yorker that the administration’s approach to Libya was one of “leading from behind.” Ever since, whenever a policymaker or pundit observes any foreign policy that they object to, they charge the White House with exercising insufficient leadership. The next time you read some pundit demanding more leadership abroad, there are several assumptions worth bearing in mind.
First, those who oppose current U.S. foreign policies are always the ones appealing for more leadership, though they rarely provide details about what should be done differently. There are no new strategic objectives, courses of action, or actionable policy recommendations that could plausibly achieve the desired outcome. Developing realistic policy alternatives is difficult and involves making judgments about what trade-offs to make and what risks to accept. But telling the president to simply “do more” is a lazy and completely safe charge, since it requires nothing from the accuser other than to repeatedly highlight that they haven’t gotten their way because of presidential inaction.
Second, leadership appeals also assume a wholly unrealistic presidential capability to compel U.S. allies and friends to adopt previously rejected policies. The world is, to quote the title of a recent Daniel Henninger op-ed, “Looking for Leadership” in Syria, North Korea, Iran, and Cyprus — “All these matters have been treated so far with degrees of U.S. diffidence.” The unstated belief here is that just a few more presidential phone calls or country visits would catalyze all the relevant stakeholders to selflessly and suddenly act in a coordinated manner to resolve persistent foreign policy challenges. Moreover, since these challenges have occurred only because of the willful neglect of the Oval Office, it is President Obama’s personal obligation to correct them.
Third, leadership appeals are often thinly veiled demands that the president authorize the use of military force. As Richard Cohen has argued in the Washington Post as to why the president should intervene in Syria’s civil war: “Without U.S. leadership, nothing happens. Our allies are incapable of leading because (1) they do not have the military wherewithal, and (2) they have forgotten how.” What the armed opposition in Syria, and allies who claim to support some sort of intervention, actually want is not Obama’s leadership, but the heavy weapons supplied by the CIA and the combat aircraft and cruise missiles that can only be delivered by the Pentagon. They want America’s unmatched capacity to destroy things and kill people to assure that Assad will fall. They don’t seek nor need America’s guidance to achieve it, just America’s might. Of course, opposition groupsrequest U.S. military intervention all the time, but since those demands go largely unreported, pundits rarely cry “leadership” for those conflicts.
Fourth, there is an assumption that only the American president is obliged to show the leadership required to solve collective action problems unfolding thousands of miles away. As Jackson Diehlwrote on Monday, “Not just Britain and France but every neighbor of Syria has been shocked and awed by the failure of U.S. leadership.” No pundit ever demands that those neighboring and nearby states — possessing vast military arsenals that could easily topple Assad, at somewhat greater risk than a U.S.-led intervention — show their own leadership. They are unanimous in their call for someone else to intervene (meaning the United States) to end the civil war, and pundits are soon convinced that this is the responsibility of Uncle Sam. Meanwhile, those same pundits never request that emerging powers in New Delhi, Brasilia, or Pretoria do anything regarding some foreign conflict. In Washington, America is forever the indispensable and manipulable nation.
Finally, many demanding greater leadership from President Obama are conditioned to believe that “leadership” is always the answer. The field of “leadership studies” and its supposed lessons are constantly jammed down the throats of graduate students at public policy, business, and law schools. In my five years in various low-level research positions at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the message I saw constantly transmitted to students was that they were being formed into an elite cadre with the skills and temperament that would allow them to lead others to solve social and political problems wherever they emerged.
t has now been a decade since the United States invaded Iraq, and the country’s beleaguered capital isn’t faring so well after 10 years of conflict. In 2012, for instance, Baghdad topped Mercer’s list as the worst place to live based on quality of life, edging out other war-torn heavy hitters like Khartoum, Sudan and Brazzaville, Congo. The city has even become a synonym for chaos and destruction; when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, headlines such as “Baghdad on the Bayou” and “Looters turn New Orleans into ‘Downtown Baghdad’” quickly surfaced.
But the city, nestled on the banks of the storied Tigris River, was not always associated with violence and decline. In 1932, Iraq had just gained independence after more than ten years as a British mandate and centuries under Ottoman rule. Baghdad, famed at the time for its quaint blend of Turkish architecture and ancient markets, suddenly found itself the capital of a fledgling Iraqi nation. The ethnic and religious tensions that would ignite in the coming decades of war and sanctions were already present but not yet explosive, and the vast oil reserves that would transform the capital into a booming metropolis had only just been discovered. These 1932 photographs, drawn from the Matson Collection at the Library of Congress, show a Baghdad on the brink of a new era, struggling to discover its identity in a time before it was defined by devastation.
Above, pedestrians walk along the street in front of the Midan mosque.
Today is World Water Day, which was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 to bring attention to the importance of maintaining a sustainable and accessible global water supply. It’s estimated that more than 780 million people – 40% whom live in sub-Saharan Africa – don’t have access to clean water, while around 2.5 billion don’t have a toilet or latrine.
It’s easy to take our seemingly plentiful access to water for granted, but a growing number of countries – including our own – are facing shortages. It’s estimated that by 2025, more than half the world’s population may face strained supplies. Part of the problem is waste and inefficiency (for example, we use around 2 billion gallons of water annually just for maintaining golf courses), while industrialized agriculture absorbs another 70%, especially for livestock.
Only a few countries in the world have more water than they need, including Peru, Colombia, Canada, Brazil, and — especially — Russia. Some predict that these countries could end up developing a lot of influence as “water superpowers” if other countries don’t keep their supplies in check.