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New Peace Index Ranks US Among Worst Nations

by Deborah Charles

WASHINGTON- 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."

Fifteen of the top 20 most peaceful nations are in Western Europe, and countries with higher income appeared to lead to higher levels of peace, he said.

The United States ranked 96th out of 121 nations, just worse than Yemen and just better than Iran, Honduras and South Africa.

Abruzzese said the United States' score was pulled down by the number of wars it is involved in, large numbers of soldiers killed on the battlefield and high defense spending.

He said the fact the United States has the world's largest prison population per share of overall population also pulled down the score.

"It also has relatively high levels of violent crime," he added.

McConaghy said the index would be revised each year and increase the number of countries included. Some countries like Afghanistan and North Korea were not included in the first index because reliable data for all 24 indicators was not available.

121 GPI rankings

Countries most at peace ranked first Rank/Country/Score 1 Norway 1.357 2 New Zealand 1.363 3 Denmark 1.377 4 Ireland 1.396 5 Japan 1.413 6 Finland 1.447 7 Sweden 1.478 8 Canada 1.481 9 Portugal 1.481 10 Austria 1.483 11 Belgium 1.498 12 Germany 1.523 13 Czech Republic 1.524 14 Switzerland 1.526 15 Slovenia 1.539 16 Chile 1.568 17 Slovakia 1.571 18 Hungary 1.575 19 Bhutan 1.611 20 Netherlands 1.620 21 Spain 1.633 22 Oman 1.641 23 Hong Kong 1.657 24 Uruguay 1.661 25 Australia 1.664 26 Romania 1.682 27 Poland 1.683 28 Estonia 1.684 29 Singapore 1.692 30 Qatar 1.702 31 Costa Rica 1.702 32 South Korea 1.719 33 Italy 1.724 34 France 1.729 35 Vietnam 1.729 36 Taiwan 1.731 37 Malaysia 1.744 38 United Arab Emirates 1.747 39 Tunisia 1.762 40 Ghana 1.765 41 Madagascar 1.766 42 Botswana 1.786 43 Lithuania 1.788 44 Greece 1.791 45 Panama 1.798 46 Kuwait 1.818 47 Latvia 1.848 48 Morocco 1.893 49 United Kingdom 1.898 50 Mozambique 1.909 51 Cyprus 1.915 52 Argentina 1.923 53 Zambia 1.930 54 Bulgaria 1.936 55 Paraguay 1.946 56 Gabon 1.952 57 Tanzania 1.966 58 Libya 1.967 59 Cuba 1.968 60 China 1.980 61 Kazakhstan 1.995 62 Bahrain 1.995 63 Jordan 1.997 64 Namibia 2.003 65 Senegal 2.017 66 Nicaragua 2.020 67 Croatia 2.030 68 Malawi 2.038 69 Bolivia 2.052 70 Peru 2.056 71 Equatorial Guinea 2.059 72 Moldova 2.059 73 Egypt 2.068 74 Dominican Republic 2.071 75 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2.089 76 Cameroon 2.093 77 Syria 2.106 78 Indonesia 2.111 79 Mexico 2.125 80 Ukraine 2.150 81 Jamaica 2.164 82 Macedonia 2.170 83 Brazil 2.173 84 Serbia 2.181 85 Cambodia 2.197 86 Bangladesh 2.219 87 Ecuador 2.219 88 Papua New Guinea 2.223 89 El Salvador 2.244 90 Saudi Arabia 2.246 91 Kenya 2.258 92 Turkey 2.272 93 Guatemala 2.285 94 Trinidad andTobago 2.286 95 Yemen 2.309 96 United States of America 2.317 97 Iran 2.320 98 Honduras 2.390 99 South Africa 2.399 100 Philippines 2.428 101 Azerbaijan 2.448 102 Venezuela 2.453 103 Ethiopia 2.479 104 Uganda 2.489 105 Thailand 2.491 106 Zimbabwe 2.495 107 Algeria 2.503 108 Myanmar 2.524 109 India 2.530 110 Uzbekistan 2.542 111 Sri Lanka 2.575 112 Angola 2.587 113 Cote d'Ivoire 2.638 114 Lebanon 2.662 115 Pakistan 2.697 116 Colombia 2.770 117 Nigeria 2.898 118 Russia 2.903 119 Israel 3.033 120 Sudan 3.182 121 Iraq 3.437

© Reuters 2007

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