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May 30, 2007 1:10 PM   Subscribe

First Global Peace Index Ranks 121 Countries
posted by acro (66 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 

The Global Peace Index aims to:

1. Highlight to the general population the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness;
2. Catalyse philanthropic support for further research of peace and funding of peace initiatives;
3. Serve as a foundation for primary, secondary and tertiary educational study;
4. Emphasise the need for governments to consider the drivers of peace in policy decisions.


The Global Peace Index has been developed in conjunction with:

* The Economist Intelligence Unit
* an international panel of peace experts from Peace Institutes and Think Tanks
* the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, Australia

Introduction, Methodology, Discussion paper (PDF), Report (pdf)
posted by acro at 1:11 PM on May 30, 2007


Take that, Azerbaijan.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:13 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


~Sits down with a bowl of buttery popcorn and waits for the fireworks.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:17 PM on May 30, 2007


We beat Iran by .003.

USA! USA! USA!
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:17 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


New Zealand represent! Peacefully!
posted by gaspode at 1:23 PM on May 30, 2007


More here about Steve Killelea, the Australian IT entrepreneur and founder of the World Peace Index.
Twelve tips from Steve Killelea:

1. Do it on your own
2. Understand your market very well
3. Learn from your mistakes
4. Don’t rely on partners to sell for you
5. Work with companies of a similar size
6. Balance hard work with time to recharge your battery
7. Make your competitive advantage sustainable
8. If you have competition, you always need to respond
9. Pick growth markets and move into them early
10. Create a simple company structure
11. Stick to your core business
12. Perseverance is absolutely key.
posted by acro at 1:24 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wait! Our score was higher than only 95 countries? Come on people. We need more points!
posted by clearlynuts at 1:25 PM on May 30, 2007


acro writes "Methodology"

I find the desire to assign precise index numbers to complex social issues completely baffling. Of course the methodology is completely arbitrary, and the fact that they included three decimal places of precision on their calculated numbers is absurd to the point of being laughable. And of course collapsing the concept of "peace" to a single number eliminates any nuance or policymaking guidance.

I suppose it makes for a nice press release, though.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:25 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


95 sounds about right.
posted by The Straightener at 1:26 PM on May 30, 2007


Yeah, but we (USA) would have rated a lot higher if everyone were allowed to carry guns and thus stop the terrorist acts, homicides, and violent crime that drove our score up.
posted by googly at 1:28 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


In your face, Portugal!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:29 PM on May 30, 2007


Aah, Scandinavia.
posted by fire&wings at 1:31 PM on May 30, 2007


Yeah, but where's strength of schedule in their methodology? Come on, the US has had a hard schedule the last couple of years, with Iraq, Afghanistan, AND Al-Queda on the road. Who has Norway played, Sealand? Ballard?
posted by dw at 1:32 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Norway kicked Denmark, Finland, and Sweden's collective ass! Ja, vi elsker dette landet! (Hey, how come Iceland isn't on that list?)
posted by languagehat at 1:32 PM on May 30, 2007


If Scotland became independent, would that raise or lower the rump UK's score?
posted by Midnight Creeper at 1:35 PM on May 30, 2007


Yeah, whatever. They just invented some list where they could be #1, since the US kicks ass at everything else. Losers.
posted by dame at 1:36 PM on May 30, 2007


Belize?
posted by Sailormom at 1:38 PM on May 30, 2007


Canada only gets #8? The hell?

I will have these people know that Denmark, who sits at the lofty #3 position, is trying to threaten OUR sovereign rights to control an arctic island that I forget the name of but I bet it's ours not theirs and that's why I eat FREEDOM PASTRIES for breakfast now.

And everyone knows that the Norwegians would just as soon kick your head in as look at you. I mean, seriously.
posted by Salmonberry at 1:39 PM on May 30, 2007 [4 favorites]



mr_roboto:
This is the kind of analysis that The Economist has long done with their 'big mac index' -- it is a quality of life index, and IMO, useful as a meta-filter© for complex issues.
* Level of distrust in other citizens
* Number of displaced people as a percentage of the population
* Political instability
* Level of disrespect for human rights (Political Terror Scale)
* Potential for terrorist acts
* Number of homicides per 100,000 people
* Level of violent crime
* Likelihood of violent demonstrations
* Number of jailed population per 100,000 people
* Number of internal security officers and police per 100,000
posted by acro at 1:45 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm drinkin' a guinness tonight in honor of Ireland's excellent score on the list. It's truly remarkable what they've accomplished recently.
posted by shmegegge at 1:56 PM on May 30, 2007


This could be the silliest 'Index' that I have EVER seen. Interesting as a conversation starter, but seemingly without much actual use. Er, just like the Big Mac index.
posted by sfts2 at 1:57 PM on May 30, 2007


Hey, how come Iceland isn't on that list?

Because they engaged in a pre-emptive attack on a middle eastern country under false pretenses.
posted by shmegegge at 1:58 PM on May 30, 2007


Norway ftw!
posted by esilenna at 1:59 PM on May 30, 2007


Eh? Actually, I was surprised at how high Canada was .
posted by acro at 2:01 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Lovely to see the US sandwiched between Yemen and Iran. Tasty.
posted by piratebowling at 2:01 PM on May 30, 2007


also
posted by piratebowling at 2:04 PM on May 30, 2007


acro writes "This is the kind of analysis that The Economist has long done with their 'big mac index'"

It's nothing like the Big Mac Index (which itself is of questionable value). The BMI is simply the ratio of Big Mac prices in two different currencies; a tongue-in-cheek tool for comparing purchasing power parity to market currency exchange rates. This is some convoluted meta-statistic, assembled who-knows-how (we know the categories, but have little detail as to how numbers in each category were assembled, or how the categories were weighted), including subjective ratings thrown together with measured statistics.

acro writes "it is a quality of life index, and IMO, useful as a meta-filter© for complex issues."

How is it useful? Each of those categories you list is useful. For instance, I think the percentage of the population in jail can be an useful indicator of the health of the society. But throwing all those things together in one number obscures each individual issue, and clarifies none of them.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:06 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


In other words, it's not a filter, it's a funnel. Everything gets poured into the same bottle, and all you can see is a murky goop.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:12 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Utter horseshit.

I don't see this taking into consideration the fact that the nations that rank high on the peace index ride the coattails of many nations ranked lower on the list. Do we really think that countries listed high on the list for peace could sit there not lifting a finger in a lot of instances without those countries listed lower on the list taking the laboring oar?

You may not agree with the U.S. invasion of Iraq (I certainly don't), but that's no reason to suggest that those countries, particularly European countries, that sit back and allow others to do their dirty work for them should be considered peaceful.

The real question is whether, absent those ranked lower on the list, the higher ranked countries would have the luxury of not getting involved while maintaining their sovereignty, freedom, and stability. My guess is that places like Hong Kong (ranked 23) would be ranked around 120 without the U.S. backing that is keeping it from being swallowed up and spit out by China.
posted by Muddler at 2:17 PM on May 30, 2007


Poor showing from Bhutan. Those whinging Nepalese refugees wrecked a strong entry.
posted by Abiezer at 2:30 PM on May 30, 2007


I was surprised at how high Canada was.

If what I've heard about the pot in Canada is true, that shouldn't have been a surprise.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:35 PM on May 30, 2007


Whoa... now now. Let's see the analysis of their rankings:

1. Peace is correlated to indicators such as income, schooling and the level of regional integration
2. Peaceful countries often shared high levels of transparency of
government and low corruption
3. Small, stable countries which are part of regional blocs are most likely to get a higher ranking

It's not surprising Scandinavia did well, since their countries match all three of those results, no? I'm not much for quantitative rankings of countries, since it inevitabliy turns into a pissing contest ('your favourite country sucks'). I do find it interesting that most of the West ranks so highly, whereas the States is fairly low.



Yay Canada! (sorry, couldn't resist)
posted by rmm at 2:35 PM on May 30, 2007


The Global Peace Index covers 121 countries. [pdf]

- The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has compiled the Index.

- The EIU used all its country analysts in gathering and scoring the data, in collaboration with its contributor network of 650 people.
The Index is made up of nearly 7000 data points (6897)

- A core team at the EIU has been working on this continuously over the last four months and have clocked up more than 300 working days, which is more than one and a half working years.

- The GPI has been peer reviewed by leading academics.

posted by acro at 2:43 PM on May 30, 2007


So what's it useful for?
posted by mr_roboto at 2:47 PM on May 30, 2007


I mean seriously, look at their big conclusions: Small, stable countries rank high. High income correlates to low internal violence. External violence is not correlated to anything in particular. I could have told you all that in a lot fewer than 300 working days.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:51 PM on May 30, 2007


IIRC, Norway became the the world's largest exporter of weapons (per capita) after the Iraq war broke out.

I can't find a cite online, but it was on the news here in Norway last year.
posted by klue at 2:55 PM on May 30, 2007


Dear God! why are the country names right aligned!!!!
posted by grex at 3:01 PM on May 30, 2007


They should call this the "Global Pussy Index." I mean, New Zealand? They're not peaceful, they're pussies without an air force.

Seriously, what with Canada's involvement in Afghanistan, I wonder what right we have to be in the top 10. I although I am loathe to link to Wikipedia, Canada is among the world's top ten arms dealers; the defense industry plays a significant role in the country's GDP.

So the list is meaningless...except to somehow show that the US is, like, way down at the bottom of the list, in Hell, which is a great place for a Great Satan.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:03 PM on May 30, 2007


Here it is: ...the industry sells for NOK 7 billion (USD 1.05 billion) a year and employs around 5,000 people. According to figures from SIPRI, Norway is the world's biggest arms exporter in relation to its population and the 11th in the world in real terms.
posted by klue at 3:03 PM on May 30, 2007


It's really weird that the former Axis powers (Germany and Japan, and to a lesser extent Finland) are in the top 12, yet the Allies (Russia and the U.S.) are down near the bottom.
posted by hodyoaten at 3:06 PM on May 30, 2007


that's no reason to suggest that those countries, particularly European countries, that sit back and allow others to do their dirty work for them should be considered peaceful.

What dirty work are you referring to?
posted by KokuRyu at 3:09 PM on May 30, 2007


Muddler:
The real question is whether, absent those ranked lower on the list, the higher ranked countries would have the luxury of not getting involved while maintaining their sovereignty, freedom, and stability. My guess is that places like Hong Kong (ranked 23) would be ranked around 120 without the U.S. backing that is keeping it from being swallowed up and spit out by China.

According to their methodology, military and foreign policy components are only part of the ranking criteria. They more more 'internal' measures like political instability, violent crimes, jailed population and officers to population ratio.

Considering HK is a special administrative region of China, it gets the perks of high political stability and low jailed population without military spending or bad relations with its neighbours. And even then, it doesn't seem like the military/Contrast with Singapore, which should be similar

So I would argue that for a place like HK, which has no military spending, high political stability, low jailed population, etc. would still fare rather well. Contrast with Singapore who would

Besides, it's not the US that's
posted by tksh at 3:59 PM on May 30, 2007


Your favourite country is wartorn.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 4:08 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Ah crap, didn't mean to post that so soon; should've been a preview.)

Anyhow, meant to say look at Singapore which is pretty much like HK but with high military spending and lots of more effort on maintaining its sovereignty and freedom. And it doesn't have good relationship with all its neighbours yet it did pretty good either, (23 for HK vs 29 SIN).

So I'm inclined to think the smaller countries would do well without US/UK as long as it's not the longer in the middle of lots of warring countries. SK and Taiwan would drop but probably still comfortably above median.

And besides, it's not really the US that's backing HK, it's more like a combination of UK and all the financial institutions invested in HK.
posted by tksh at 4:08 PM on May 30, 2007


It's really weird that the former Axis powers (Germany and Japan, and to a lesser extent Finland) are in the top 12, yet the Allies (Russia and the U.S.) are down near the bottom.

No it isn't. Germany and Japan were not allowed to, and decided not to, have standing military after WWII. Only recently has either developed any form of strong national defense.

What dirty work are you referring to?

From WWII to the cold war through to Afghanistan, countries that are small and supposedly neutral have let other countries, such as the U.S., defend them. Did the Swiss build a nuclear arsenal to counter the Soviet threat? No, they instead built up a corrupt banking system and relied on the rest of the Western world to do the dirty work - develop, build, and maintain a deterrence force. When 9/11 came around and global terrorists were linked directly to Afghanistan, did these countries belly up to the bar and say they'd be the first to hunt down and bring the terrorists to justice? No, they let the U.S. and a scant coalition do the work.

These countries rely on the U.S. and its allies to roll up their sleeves and offer a sword or a shield, and they enjoy a local economy free of the burdens of a defense budget or military personnel put in harm's way. They are not societies to be glorified as somehow above the petty squabbles the rest of the lesser world involves itself in.
posted by Muddler at 4:11 PM on May 30, 2007


I find the argument that the world should be grateful to US world policing (aka the coattails argument) a bit funny (in an ironic sense). It doesn't even hold up to the most basic analysis, since, to the best of my knowledge, the rest of the world are not participants in the American democratic process. The US does things according to its own self-interest (as many high-ups in the regime repeatedly claim), and any intervention in the world is imposed in a non-democratic fashion. in iraq, they attempted to bootstrap a democracy by authoritarian command. what a strange concept. If the people really wanted to and were prepared to govern themselves, don't you think they'd find their own way to it?

If we ask you to do something and you do it, we should be most grateful, but the implication is that the world should lie around prostrate saying "thank you for saving us" while the US has its fingers in so many pies.

"We're gonna help you whether you like it or not!" I don't think anybody did an extensive survey of Iraqi's to ask them if they would welcome an invasion by the US, especially if they could foresee the consequences. The fact that Iraq has been trying to make the best of it says more about the coping ability of Iraqi's than it does about the American policy of invasion, and their deserving thanks for it as Bush believes. Maybe they do deserve thanks for it, but to suggest that you deserve thanks, that's quite rude in any circumstances.

The coattails argument is being used a lot lately, perhaps most notably by that scumbag John Bolton, who in recent interviews deflects all of the blame for failures in iraq and says it is the responsibility of iraq to take control of itself. It reminds me of these taser incidents, where a person is so stunned by the taser that their muscles don't work, yet the police are shaking and kicking them and commanding them to stand up. cruel and unusual punishment.

Sure the US has done and continues to do a lot of good in the world, but the fiction that your mere existence is beneficial to the entire world and we should all be be grateful because of these mystical ideals of freedom you are infused with regardless of your methods for evangelizing them is absurd.
posted by ryanfou at 4:13 PM on May 30, 2007


Oh, I thought the guy behind this was Simon Killalea, the Sydney indie music journalist & backing visuals guy for the band, Decoder Ring.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:22 PM on May 30, 2007


tskh, I see that more than wars and the military go into the ranking, but including these other factors seems like a strange judgement call to me. As long as we are making up factors, maybe we should include sexism, racism, etc. You know, attitudes that, if gone unchecked and pushed to a boiling point cause violence.

Think about racism for a moment. The U.S. and a scant few other countries have a melting pot, and certainly there is racism and violence as a result - but what about countries throughout the world and their views? Are they "peaceful" nations just because they don't have to deal with people from other races? Look what is going on in Europe as they contend with immigration they've never seen before. Similarly, are nations that have terrible working conditions "peaceful?" I can make a good argument for ranking each of these issues in the peace index - at least as good an argument as including the prison statistics.

As for who is backing HK, it doesn't really matter for my point. I'm simply stating that countries like HK, that rank high on the peace index, do so through the protection of those lower on the list. I do not agree that without such protection, nay, without such other countries, that everything would remain fine and dandy for these countries.

If nothing else, never in human history has there been a lack of a power struggle. If you eliminate the history that exists, you will simply create a new history of different nations holding the same set of cards - there has been and probably always will be a power struggle between those of different points of view and cultures. The question to me is, can you claim that certain countries, those that pretend not to participate in the struggle but rely on the protection of others, are somehow more peaceful. I don't think so.
posted by Muddler at 4:23 PM on May 30, 2007


WE'RE! NUMBER! NINETY-SIX!
WE'RE! NUMBER! NINETY-SIX!
WE'RE! NUMBER! NINETY-SIX!

In your face, Cote d'Ivoire!
posted by Flunkie at 4:27 PM on May 30, 2007


I bet the views of sheep were not taken into consideration in New Zealand's ranking.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:28 PM on May 30, 2007


Look what is going on in Europe as they contend with immigration they've never seen before.

Well, Europe has had its share of immigration before, but not the melting-pot style of assimilation that you describe. To this day, for example, Angles, Saxons & Jutes live in distinct & separate ghettoes in England.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:31 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


ryanfou, do you have even the most basic knowledge of international treaties and defense organizations? NATO ring a bell? Remember the cold war, or any given UN resolution requiring military intervention? Who steps up? Who sits back?

You are stuck on the Iraq page (which was a war by a lying administration more than half of the U.S. didn't vote for and about 70% doesn't back now) and the misconception that I, and others, are expecting gratitude for the U.S.'s actions around the world. Not so.

We don't want you to lie there and take it. The U.S. wants the rest of the world to get off its ass and deal with its own problems - something most of the world is not willing to do. The U.S. population gets particularly pissed when a country, like Afghanistan, lets itself go to the point it becomes a place dangerous to our own national security.

But did Europe or the Eastern world, all much closer to Afghanistan physically, step up and do anything pre-9/11. No.

Is Denmark doing into Darfur? No.

Does the world expect the U.S. to do all of these things? Yes.

Double standards, and calling nations that sit back and do nothing peaceful while expecting others to take action is not to be applauded - its hypocrisy.
posted by Muddler at 4:33 PM on May 30, 2007


Muddler;

I think if asked, most people would describe a peaceful country as being a country where they don't have to worry about being attacked or having no where to live. They can go about repeating the same routine of life everyday without having to worry much about the country's foreign policy. The fact that the country's peace could be a result of some other country's actions and not of its own is ignored. And I think that's the type of peacefulness that the study tries to rank.

You're right that some of the higher ranked countries depend on those lower on the list but if you play those factors in, it can't really be called a peace index can it? It'll be more of "Index of countries by their ability to maintain status quo".
posted by tksh at 4:46 PM on May 30, 2007


muddler, without quantifying or qualifying my knowledge, and if there's a specific cold war point to make, feel free but I won't generally address it.

NATO has quite a few member states, I don't know the exact number, but do you think the US is the sole executor of UN resolutions? What about Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon, three that I am most familiar with. many countries "stepped up", many of your NATO allies helped out in those missions. to my knowledge, there are no Americans in UNIFIL, and lets look at KFOR. what was your point again?

Sure there may be no danish troops in Darfur (there may be I don't know), but there are African Union troops there. You blame Denmark yet there are still no American troops there either so what's your point? are countries stonewalling on UN Resolutions? which countries.

Also, Canada is ranked quite highly on that peace list, and it is part of the coalition in Afghanistan. What about other coalition partners, France, Italy, the UK?

afghanistan is an interesting case because it was a battleground for the russians and americans for the duration of the cold war. The country didn't just "let itself go".

The rest of the world is trying to deal with their own problems, by and large, you just don't seem to notice it.
posted by ryanfou at 4:58 PM on May 30, 2007


Hey, how come Iceland isn't on that list?

The longboat and I await answers.

Peacefully, of course.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:03 PM on May 30, 2007


Because they engaged in a pre-emptive attack on a middle eastern country under false pretenses.

Yes, the nation of Iceland is at war with Whateveristan for cod smuggling. Jerks.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:05 PM on May 30, 2007


Muddler: Australia has joined the US in pretty much every war it has fought since WW2 (including Afghanistan, Iraq, and - Robert McNamara's comment that "none of our allies were with us" aside - Vietnam also). We also have a very diverse mix of cultures & races, due to decades of immigration.

Can you suggest, then, why Australia ranks #25, while the US is at #96?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:23 PM on May 30, 2007


Muddler - thrown out for the sake of argument: even the idea of a US security umbrella during the Cold War is a myth. The Soviet Union was having trouble holding onto its client states in the Warsaw Pact (see Hungary, Czechoslovakia etc.) and the CIA has now been shown to be knowingly playing up the threat to keep defence spending levels up. They weren't going to attack Western Europe; at most they'd jockey for clients in the Third World, just as "we" were doing.
I've also seen a well-argued case that some agencies in the US would have cheerfully shafted the UK over the Falklands War, as you perceived your best interests to be a win for the then military junta in Argentina, boosting one of your Latin American client regimes.
posted by Abiezer at 6:40 PM on May 30, 2007


Wow, the United States ranks poorly on some list constructed to rank the US poorly.

In other news, the United States ranks dead last on the List Of Countries That Are Not The United States.

They weren't going to attack Western Europe; at most they'd jockey for clients in the Third World, just as "we" were doing.

Well, they quite clearly attacked Eastern Europe. The reason we call it Western Europe is because it was the part of Europe not behind the iron curtain. And they invaded Afghanistan. and they shot down a Korean passenger airliner, killing a U.S. congressman on board.

Finally, "they" invaded Lithuania in 1991, under Gorbachev, to reclaim Lithuania for the USSR after it declared independence 9 months earlier. They did this a week before the Gulf War began, when a few hundred thousand US troops were amassed on the USSR's southern doorstep.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:54 PM on May 30, 2007


Well, they quite clearly attacked Eastern Europe.
While I'm not particularly invested in making a strong case for the argument I put above, that's just a daft comparison Pastabagel. Those were the countries occupied in WW2 and ceded at the post-match carve-ups. As time wore on holding what they had was hard enough.
Your other two examples could well be client state wars. Obviously, "we" had done a fair bit of interference ourselves by that point too. Certainly by 1991, intervening in Lithuania, again somewhere the Soviets could see as in their backyard, hardly implies they're going to push for the Atlantic coast.
I'm not a great scholar of the period, but I do think you'd be hard pressed to show conclusively that the USSR had any more ambitious designs than furthering its national interests, just as the Western powers did. I know was mightily pissed off with Stalin for failing to supply the air support he promised when the Chinese intervened in Korea.
posted by Abiezer at 7:07 PM on May 30, 2007


*Mao was mightily pissed off*
posted by Abiezer at 7:08 PM on May 30, 2007


Pastabagel: Finally, "they" invaded Lithuania in 1991, under Gorbachev, to reclaim Lithuania for the USSR after it declared independence 9 months earlier.

Abeizer: Certainly by 1991, intervening in Lithuania, again somewhere the Soviets could see as in their backyard, hardly implies they're going to push for the Atlantic coast.

The Baltic Coast would have been the goal. Russia has always eyed the Baltic states becoz Petersburg freezes over, while the Baltic states have year-round ports. They would also have been serving ethnic Russians' interests, since heaps of Russians colonised the three states during the post-WW2 occupation, such that approx 50% or so of each country is ethnic Russian, and naturally, we wanted to throw them the fuck out of our countries.

In doing so, we would also have nationalised the factories & other infrastructure that the Russians set up in probably the most developed states of the former USSR.

The fact that Lithuania was attacked was obviously because the Estonians are Finno-Ugrics and not actually Balts at all, and the Latvians would have kicked their asses all the way back to Siberia.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:24 PM on May 30, 2007


Muddler:

Hong Kong is part of China, it's not being protected from China by the USA.
Switzerland? They've been an armed fortress for the 20th century, with compulsory military service. IIRC, they have to retain their guns by law, after they finish this service. They're not outsourcing their defence to anyone. (The nuclear weapons thing? I think you might find nukes are beyond their technological abilities).

As for the US doing the dirty work for the countries at the top of the list. Sorry, no. The invasion of Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with keeping me safe, and it sure as hell wasn't done in my name. OTOH, my country contributed to the fight against the Taliban and the hunt for OBL, yet still scored highly on this index.

[You also miss the point that this index has more measures than just 'engagement in external wars'].
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:43 PM on May 30, 2007


"Peace" is not absence of war. War precludes peace, but lack of war doesn't mean you have peace. Getting your face crushed with a thug's baseball bat is not a peaceful life. Getting fines or beatdowns from organised crime or police or officals is not peaceful. Living in fear is not peaceful.

The US is not low on the list because of Iraq. Being at war will have dropped the ranking of the US, but I'm pretty sure it's the poor showing of domestic peacefulness that is really biting the US - the number of people in prison, the distrust people have for each other, the corruption and lack of transparancy, etc.

I've been to a few countries, and the difference that domestic peacefulness makes is sometimes palpable you can feel it in the air as you step off the plane. The USA really does rank poorly compared to it's wealth and power in that respect. I think the list is probably pretty fair.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:12 PM on May 30, 2007


or police or officals

That was supposed to be "or corrupt police or officials".
posted by -harlequin- at 10:13 PM on May 30, 2007


ryanfou, do you have even the most basic knowledge of international treaties and defense organizations?

International treaties, hmm, good topic.

Muddler, do you have even the most basic knowledge about America's lack of participation, and even participatory obstructionism, in international treaty law?

The degree of damage the U.S. has done to international law and international stability, not to spread democracy or any other ideal, but to further its own ends, is probably incalculable at this point.

And you talk about double standards. Good god.

Maybe you should have a look at the history of UN Security Council vetoes. It's fun to undermine an organization and then claim it's ineffective. Those talking about maintaining the status quo are dead right.

And do you even distinguish between justified, effective action and any other kind? Because you seem to think that every time American tanks roll things are getting better. Here's a clue for you:

Canada in Afghanistan? Check.
Canada in Vietnam and Iraq? No fucking way.

Also, New Zealand stood up to the major powers when it came to port calls for nuclear ships, so they get some serious credit for that, considering how easy it is to bully an economically small, isolated nation.
posted by dreamsign at 3:24 AM on May 31, 2007


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