Map of the Day: The World's Most Authoritarian Nations

By Patrick Ottenhoff

American exceptionalism has been part of this nation's DNA since the city upon a hill was founded. That exceptionalism has served us well, but it also put us in the minority on several controversial international issues, especially in recent years.

Two examples are capital punishment and prohibiting gays from serving in the military. Of the 195 nations in the world, 71 execute people, 22 ban gays from the military, and only 17 execute people and ban gays from the military (Israel is the only nation that executes people and allows gays to serve).

These nations don't have much in common "politically, culturally, linguistically, historically, religiously, geographically," except that they embrace authoritarian policies, as The Map Scroll notes. Singapore and Jamaica, for example, are worlds apart.

Esquire, who made the map, seems to be making a political statement -- after all, they could have mapped the nations that prohibit women from voting or censor the Internet -- but the magazine certainly makes its point clearly by grouping the United States with many of its enemies.

The Pentagon took its first steps into the political minefield of repealing DADT, which will put the U.S. in league with most of the West. The death penalty is likely a legacy of early Americans' need to keep order over a wild land -- it's not going anywhere.

(The 17 nations that allow both are Cuba, China, Egypt, Iran, Jamaica, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uganda, and Yemen.)

Nations that Ban Gays and Execute People

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/map-of-the-day-the-worlds-most-authoritarian-nations/59764/