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