U.S. ranks 121st on think tank’s Global In­dex of Peace rat­ing of coun­tries

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics - BY CON­NOR FOARDE

When it comes to liv­ing a peace­ful ex­is­tence, it helps to be an iso­lated is­land and it’s not so good to be a global su­per­power.

The U.S. came in 121st out of 163 na­tions in the lat­est “Global Peace In­dex” is­sued by a Wash­ing­ton think tank last week, just ahead of Myan­mar and far be­hind top scor­ers Ice­land and New Zealand.

The in­dex, pro­duced by the non­par­ti­san In­sti­tute for Eco­nomics and Peace, mea­sures the peace­ful­ness of 163 in­de­pen­dent states and ter­ri­to­ries based on met­rics such as mil­i­ta­riza­tion, de­fense spend­ing and mil­i­tary ex­ports, in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal con­flicts and safety for or­di­nary cit­i­zens.

China fin­ished 112th in the sur­vey, while Rus­sia was ranked the 154th most peace­ful coun­try. Bring­ing up the rear in the sur­vey were Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria.

The U.S. score was its low­est rank­ing in six years, with the sharp­en­ing par­ti­san de­bate since Pres­i­dent Trump’s elec­tion cited as a key fac­tor.

“The United States has de­te­ri­o­rated in the Global Peace In­dex pri­mar­ily due to in­creases in po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity in the coun­try, and that po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity is a re­flec­tion of a grow­ing par­ti­san di­vide,” said Michelle Bres­lauer, pro­gram di­rec­tor for the In­sti­tute for Eco­nomics and Peace.

Over­all, the 2018 sur­vey found the av­er­age global level of peace fell by 0.27 per­cent from 2016-2017, with 92 coun­tries hav­ing be­come less peace­ful and 71 hav­ing im­proved. Six out of the nine re­gions on the in­dex saw de­te­ri­o­ra­tions, in­clud­ing the four most peace­ful re­gions: Europe, North Amer­ica, the Asia-Pa­cific and South Amer­ica.

“Peace­ful­ness has de­clined year-onyear for eight of the last 10 years,” ac­cord­ing to the study. “Since 2008, 85 coun­tries have be­come less peace­ful, com­pared to 75 that have im­proved.”

Ms. Bres­lauer noted that the U.S.’s score on the in­dex tends to be held down by fac­tors be­yond the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate or the oc­cu­pant of the White House, in­clud­ing such fac­tors as high in­car­cer­a­tion rates, nuclear ca­pa­bil­ity, arms ex­ports and in­volve­ment of the U.S. mil­i­tary in con­flicts around the globe.

Pres­i­dent Trump’s push for greater de­fense spend­ing also is set to hurt the U.S. rat­ing in the com­ing years.

Ice­land has held the ti­tle as the world’s most pa­cific na­tions since 2008. Europe was named the most peace­ful re­gion, hav­ing 8 out of the 10 most peace­ful coun­tries in the world. For the sixth straight year, the Mid­dle East and North Africa re­gion earned the sta­tus of least peace­ful re­gion in the world. This year’s GPI por­trays a world wracked by po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity and un­re­solved in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic con­flicts, de­spite mod­est im­prove­ments in last year’s re­port.

Find­ings from the 2017 GPI in­di­cated that the av­er­age global level of peace has de­te­ri­o­rated by 2.14 per cent since 2008. How­ever con­trary to this year’s data, a ma­jor­ity of 93 coun­tries on the in­dex saw an im­prove­ment in their lev­els of peace­ful­ness, while 68 saw a de­te­ri­o­ra­tion.

“The 2018 GPI re­veals a world in which the ten­sions, con­flicts, and crises that emerged in the past decade re­main un­re­solved, es­pe­cially in the Mid­dle East, re­sult­ing in this grad­ual, sus­tained fall in peace­ful­ness,” ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey.

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