Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Global Peace Index: U.S. 97th out of 121 Countries Ranked

It is part of the Bush legacy. But not limited to his disastrous administration. The goal of any society is a peace nation. Our government has failed for decades at making America, and the world, more peaceful:

Iceland tops the ranking of the world's most peaceful, Iraq rated least peaceful. U.S. remains largely unchanged, ranking at 97.

[...]The Index is constructed from 24 indicators of external and internal measures of peace including UN deployments overseas and levels of violent crime. It has won the backing of an influential and distinguished group of supporters including Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Joseph Stiglitz and Professor Muhammad Yunus as well as the Fulbright Center.

Steve Killelea, founder of the Global Peace Index, said: "The world appears to be a marginally more peaceful place this year. This is encouraging, but it takes small steps by individual countries for the world to make greater strides on the road to peace."

[...]Based on a direct comparison of the 121 countries measured in the GPI 2007 to GPI 2008, a majority of the individual indicators have seen slight improvements. On average, scores for level of organised conflict (internal) and violent crime, political instability and potential for terrorist acts have all improved marginally. In contrast, the world's armed services have grown on average per country, as has the sophistication of its weaponry.

[...]-- Small, stable and democratic countries are the most peaceful - 16 of the
top 20 are western or central European democracies
-- The G8 fared very differently: Japan (5), Canada (11), Germany (14),
Italy (28), France (36), UK (49), United States (97), Russia (131)
-- Iraq is the lowest ranked country on the Index (140)

It is not a moral statement but a scientific analysis of what makes for a more violent world:
The idea for the index came from Steve Killelea, an Australian businessman and philanthropist who wanted to identify just what creates a peaceful country.

He asked the Economist Intelligence Unit to look at a range of variables, from levels of homicides per 100,000 people - which drags down America and boosts Denmark - to corruption and access to primary education.

"The U.S. does so badly because has the highest proportion of jailed people in the world. And it has high levels of homicide and high potential for terrorist attacks," Killelea told The Associated Press. "Its overall score isa reflection of that. The index is not making any moral statements by the ranking."