Every country on earth has something unique to offer the world. However, if infamy and international notoriety were an Olympic sport, these five nations would easily take the Gold. Here, we give them the recognition they deserve with a very special Olympics.
1. Russia: Interfering with elections, both theirs and others
Apart from recent achievements that include murdering journalists, imprisoning political dissidents, and having a president who corrupts his way up to become the richest man in the world, Russia gets the prize for malign foreign influence.
The Russians have interfered with several elections; both theirs and others. And they’ve been doing it for so long, all the way back to the Nixon days, that they’ve practically become the best at it. Case in point: the 2016 U.S elections. After getting a dose of Russia’s dark art of cyber-magic, the world’s number one superpower is still trying to wrap its head around what happened.
Moreover, there are many other things Russia is also known for. Their government simply cannot stand being out-muscled, and puts the State matters more than the individual. Their deep insecurity goes so far that the Russian government even dopes its Olympic athletes to the hilt (and lies about it). There are no rules, besides making money and keeping it.
2. Afghanistan: Eating empires for lunch
Surrounded with scenic and dramatic mountains, Afghanistan has made a career out of humiliating invaders through a long streak of pain and suffering. There’s a reason Afghanistan is known as the graveyard of empires. Even Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great had a hard time conquering it, and never took full control of the country.
In more recent history, Afghanistan has frustrated the efforts of the British, Americans (along with NATO), Russians, and Persians. America continues to show spirit by not giving up on the fight, even though the lengthy Afghan war now exceed Vietnam by five years.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of their impeding doom, there’s only one piece of advice for those countries who may want to take on the mountainous devil in the future: don’t.
3. Zimbabwe: Inflation. “You wanna see inflation? I’ll show you inflation”
Eventually, when something inflates too much, it explodes, right? Wrong. The Zimbabweans have defied the laws of physics–and economics.
With an inflation rate that once reached 231,000,000 percent in just the prior decade, one US dollar could get you 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars. The government even made a special 100 trillion bank note to make counting easier and faster. Zimbabwe’s tinpot dictator Robert Mugabe, who’s ruled the country since the days of Ronald Regan, continues to intentionally confuse his citizens by using multiple currencies.
The Hungarians still hold the all time inflation rate record, which at one point exceeded 13 quadrillion percent. However, Zimbabwe’s mismanagement of its own money is in a league all its own.
4. Thailand: King of the Coup d’état
When it comes to shady political takeovers, one nation stands above all others. Thought the prize would go to an African country, where dictators run rampant and corruption is the national anthem? Wrong. The prize goes to Thailand.
Thailand boasts an amazing eighteen coups total in less than a millennia, and twelve of those were successful. Surprisingly, most of the coups were relatively bloodless. The military usually takes power, then peacefully hands the government back to civilian control when they feel like it.
Unfortunately, the Turkish military failed to take notes from Thailand on the art of the coup. Their own military proceeded to bungle their most recent coup attempt into tatters. The perpetrators did almost shoot down their president’s jet, which I suppose is a well-chosen target for a coup. Unfortunately, the jet’s disguise as a civilian aircraft prevented the bandits from ripping a hole through it.
5. Haiti: A Bad Case of Bad Luck
If there was ever such a thing as a living hell, then Haiti would be it. Historian Alex von Tunzelmann says that Haiti has seen “slavery, revolution, debt, deforestation, corruption, exploitation and violence” in the past. Today, “it has poverty, illiteracy, overcrowding, no infrastructure, environmental disaster and large areas without the rule of law”.
If there was ever a mad political scientist with access to people and land that wanted to concoct a stew of every imaginable crisis in one island, Haiti would be a living demonstration of that cruel experiment. Poor infrastructure combined with weak governance has multiplied the severity of natural disasters, and no amount of foreign aid can clean things up. The country is still taking in $13 billion in foreign aid just to recover from its horrific 2010 earthquake. This over-reliance on foreign aid earned Haiti its title as the “Republic of NGOs.”