I found this in Parade magazine last weekend and I wanted to mention it. It seems that every year, the magazine compiles a list of the world’s worst dictators, defining the term before they present the list.
I had some brief observations: 1) I give the magazine credit for naming Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan Number One because of his role in the Darfur crisis – instead of Iraq, this should be our first priority after Afghanistan and hunting down and killing bin Laden; 2) For anyone who chooses to get exercised over Ahmadinejad of Iran and what a head case he is, I should point out that the magazine intelligently passes over him and blames Sayyid Ali Khamenei for Iran’s social degeneration into a primitive culture; 3) Hu Jintao of China is Number Four, which to me is an uncomfortably high position for a country upon which we rely for financing so much of our obscene debt, and 4) Somehow, the guy in the photo gets a pass on the entire list, which is highly surprising to me (further evidence, though, that we have inflated his minor importance by our idiotic embargo of his country...and by the way, he overthrew Batista 48 years ago today).
(And speaking of milestones, let's wish Kim Jong Il a happy birthday by lobbing a nuke in his general direction, OK? Just kidding...).
And in an unrelated story also in the magazine, the so-called “developed” nations don’t have any reason to be proud of themselves when you discover how little they have contributed to the tsunami relief effort in southeast Asia.
I just mentioned China above, and the article on tsunami relief notes that, of $301 million promised by that country, they have delivered only $1 million. France pledged $79 million but delivered just over $1 million; Spain offered $60 million but has sent less than $1 million; and oil-rich Kuwait promised $10 million to the Maldive Islands but has delivered zero.
The United States has fallen short also, but not by quite the same margin. The article notes that we pledged $405.7 million and have delivered $102.6 million, and as the article also notes, “(it seems) regular people were more generous than many leaders.”
No surprise there, as far as I’m concerned.