Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Why the 20th Century was the Most Violent in History

June 18, 2012


The 20th Century was not the century of two World Wars and a Cold War, but the century of a single Hundred Years War.

Nationalism didn’t cause the conflicts. Empires did. It wasn’t ideologies of class or the influence of democracy or socialism that drove the century. It was race.

Though we thought the West had triumphed, the truth is that power moved towards the Eastern empires.

Those are the controversial assertions of Scottish historian Niall Ferguson in his documentary series War of the World, which is also a highly acclaimed book.  I saw three of the documentary episodes on Netflix, but there is also a website, Top Documentary Films, that offers it free.  You can check it out by clicking this link.

The Ferguson doc is not only exceptional for the creative way it is written and produced, but for a new way of understanding why the 20th Century is the most violent in history. 

One of his interesting claims is that World War III is not in the future.  It started right after World War II.  In other words, the Cold War was actually hot. The United States and the Soviet Union couldn’t fight directly because of the guaranteed mutual destruction that a nuclear exchange would engender.  They fought it through proxy countries.  A couple of good examples were Korea and Vietnam. 

The shift of empire power to the East  started in 1905 when the Japanese sank two-thirds of the Russian fleet.  Up until then the West truly dominated the world, with its empires subjugating  the East. Those empires have since been demolished.  Nations like China and India are ascending.

 And he points out that  war can cause the good guys to be bad guys as they adopt the tactics of the bad guys, using as examples the massive killing of civilians by bombardment from artillery and the air in World War II.

His findings are controversial, but he has a good case for his positions.  Watch the series and tell me what you think.   

Aflac’s Dan Amos Tells Columbus Rotarians…

April 13, 2011

The Japanese earthquake will not have an impact on this year’s earnings growth. Also, he said the people of Japan are not in panic. He said 75 percent of Aflac’s earnings come from Japan.

He said impact of the nuclear power plant crisis is something no one knows.

He is still speaking as I post this via iPhone.


He’s finished and I’m back home at my computer.

My 2011 Aflac stuffed duck, which was in the seat of my table chair at the Rotary Club of Columbus meeting.


What is clear to me after hearing his talk is that he and his marketing folks really know how to make the most of situations that could be bad.  He and Aflac got a tremendous amount of positive national exposure from two crises, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the dismissal of Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of  the  Aflac duck because of insensitive jokes he tweeted about the Japanese earthquake.


The networks and news channels interviewed Amos right after the quake and tsunami because they knew of Aflac’s commercial ties with Japan.  And the firing of Gottfried generated over 8 thousand news stories, and lots of play by late night TV comedians.  The search for a new voice has drawn eleven thousands entries and gotten a lot of news coverage.

In referring to the CBS news story that called the Aflac duck the most famous in the world,  Amos said, “Eat your heart out Donald Duck.”

Every time he speaks to the Rotary club Aflac puts stuffed ducks at every plate.  I have gotten a number of them over the years and, of course, gave them all to children I know. I’m not sure who I’ll give this one to  because  I’ve run out of little children.  Anybody want a quacking Aflac duck?