How Low Can America Go?

We’re number 96! We’re number 96! We’re number 96! Feel free to chant along as you read the following discouraging, though hardly surprising, bit of news from Reuters:

US ranks low, just above Iran on new peace index

The United States is among the least peaceful nations in the world, ranking 96th between Yemen and Iran, according to a new index released on Wednesday that evaluates 121 nations based on their peacefulness.

According to the Global Peace Index, created by The Economist Intelligence Unit, Norway is the most peaceful nation in the world and Iraq is the least, just after Russia, Israel and Sudan.

“The objective of the Global Peace Index was to go beyond a crude measure of wars by systemically exploring the texture of peace,” said Global Peace Index President Clyde McConaghy.

He said the inaugural effort proves “peace can and has and will continue to be measured.”

The index was compiled based on 24 indicators measuring peace inside and outside of a country. They included the number of wars a country was involved in the past five years, how many soldiers were killed overseas and how much money was made in arms sales.

Domestic indicators included the level of violent crimes, relations with neighboring countries and level of distrust in other citizens.

The results were then reviewed by a panel of international experts.

“We were trying to find out what positive qualities lead to peace,” said Leo Abruzzese, the North American editorial director of the intelligence unit that is part of The Economist Group that publishes the well known magazine.

He said they found in general the most peaceful countries were the smallest, the most politically stable and democratic.

“Democracy didn’t actually correlate with peace, but a well-functioning democracy did. Efficient, accountable government seems to be the leading determinant of peace. Beyond that, income helps.” [full text]

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2 responses

  1. i think we went down the wrong road a long time ago, when the motion picture association established strict censorship of sex in the movies. that left moviemakers who were looking for a quick attention-grabber to use violence to cover up their lack of interesting plots. we still don’t put any brakes on the depiction of violent narratives in our media, and our stuff cycles around the world, goes through hong kong and korea, and comes out even worse. filmakers advertise that this movie will be bloodier than the last. it’s so sad that around 1913 or so we didn’t go the other way. then americans would be the world’s great lovers and we would be exporting love and pleasure.

  2. [...] Thus, much like old Elvis, America stands in the spotlight on the world stage, obese, rundown, and with enough pills in its system to choke Slovenia. And all that extra weight and medication seems to make us cranky, given how poorly we fare at peacefulness (96th among nations). It’s not a pleasant sight. However, instead of truly confronting our various failings and fallings, we continue to indulge in the fantasy that we remain in our glory, that we are still king. But many years have passed since that was so. America is no longer top dog. Now, we ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog. –David L. Jaffe Jun 02 2007 12:32 pm | US News and Health and Pharmaceuticals | Leave a Comment [...]

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