Sunday, May 29, 2011

It Depends On What Your Definition of "Peace" Is--And Who's Doing the Defining

Every year an Australian outfit called the Institute for Economics and Peace (the word "peace" in any organization's name is a good indication of where it's coming from, i.e. from the left--or from Islam) ranks the nations of the world from most to least peaceful in its "Global Peace Index." Guess what? The U.S. of A. is waaaay down the list:
 Iceland is the “most peaceful” (okay, maybe) country and Somalia is the “least peaceful” (I get it). And the good ol USA? We rank #82. That puts us below Egypt (major killings and internal conflict anyone?). We barely beat out….Bangladesh which weighs in at #83. Cuba does better than we do…as does Laos, Vietnam, China, and Sierra Leone.
The wackiness of this becomes clear when you examine the “peace indicators” that the group uses to determine how “peaceful” a country is. Some of the factors make sense, like “deaths from conflict (internal)” and “number of displaced people.” (I bet we do pretty well in those areas.) But then the Leftism of the whole operation becomes clear. Equally important “indicators” are “armed services personnel,” ”military expenditures,” “military capability/sophistication,” “number of heavy weapons,” and “arms exports.” (We do well here, too, but no doubt that hurts us in the rankings.)
Since when is the size and number of the armed forces an indication of a lack of peace? Excuse me, but the armed forces are a tool. I think that a large miltary, in the right hands, actually preserves peace.
The other problem with this sort of exercise is how you define “peace.” Cuba may be more “peaceful” than other countries because it oppresses people and throws political opponents in jail. But “peace” is not just the absence of war and conflict; a totalitarian society could theoretically be very peaceful. Freedom and respect for individual human rights should be a factor, too.
Indeed. What's needed is a Global Peace Index that takes such factors into account. Or, better yet, a Global Freedom Index. Oh, wait. It appears there already is one.

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