According to Human Rights Watch, North Korea is one of the most harshly repressive countries in the world. A 2014 U.N. Commission of Inquiry found that abuses in North Korea were without parallel in today’s world. This series of articles explains the historic background to today’s Korean crisis by tracing the rise to power of the Kim family dynasty, beginning with the founder of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Il-sung. Continue reading
This post, the first in a regular series, aims to provide a snapshot of the major issues shaping global politics by presenting short quotes from recent stories in the news. Today’s blog focuses on a selection of recent stories from the U.K. Financial Times newspaper.
Please feel free to add recent quotes from your national media which you think will be of interest to readers of Disordered World around the globe. Continue reading
Three decades and five thousand miles separate two photographs.
The first shows a city in ruins. In the foreground, amidst the rubble, the outlines of what once were buildings are clearly discernible. In the distance lies a vast area of complete desolation, an ominous wasteland devoid even of rubble. Amidst this desolation, nothing remains of the unprepossessing plaza which once served as a gateway to hell. A huge oval, it had been partly surrounded by buildings with roads running into it like streams into a pond. With its perimeter fenced off, there was space enough within for up to eight thousand victims at a time. Continue reading
This blog, the second of two, seeks to answer the question ‘Was Hirohito a psychopath?’ This second post examines Hirohito’s actions from his decision to escalate Japan’s war against China in 1937 to Japan’s surrender in the wake of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Continue reading
With the twenty fifth anniversary of the death of Emperor Hirohito approaching, the Japanese government is preparing to unveil a 61-volume official biography of the Emperor, which a team of scholars has been labouring on since shortly after his death.
It is unlikely that this biography will answer the question, ‘Was Hirohito, who presided over the expansion of the Japanese empire and led his nation into an East Asian war that cost over 120 million lives, a psychopath?’
This blog, the first of two, seeks to address that question. This first post examines Hirohito’s actions in the period up until the outbreak of war with China in 1937, and seeks to determine whether or not he should rank alongside Mao, Hitler and Stalin as one the twentieth century’s greatest mass murderers. Continue reading
During the 1960s three of the most narcissistic Presidents in US history came to power – John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. During this period the myth of American exceptionalism became a dominant theme in U.S. politics. America now viewed itself as the world’s policeman and as the defender of global freedom. As a consequence, the U.S. became embroiled in a series of catastrophes including the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War, and the bombing and invasion of Cambodia. In a world full of psychopaths, the US increasingly acted like them. Continue reading
The famine which occurred in China during the Great Leap Forward was perhaps the greatest crime in history. Between 1958 and 1962 at least 45 million people died. This figure is much higher than the number killed in World War One. The real death toll could be higher, and may even exceed the number killed during World War Two.
Calling it a famine muddies the picture of what actually happened. Unlike during a natural famine, disease was remarkably absent as a cause of death. The reason is both easy to comprehend and terrifying to grasp. Continue reading