Democracy Arsenal

« Who's REALLY scared of Gaza? | Main | A New Job for Tony? »

June 18, 2007

Peace Index, War Index: who rates?
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

Here are two innovative indices (indexes?, bad speller me) The first came out in May, the second just today.

The Global Peace Index is an Australian initiative...a ground-breaking milestone in the study of peace. It is the first time that an Index has been created that ranks the nations of the world by their peacefulness and identified some of the drivers of that peace. 121 countries have been ranked by their ‘absence of violence’, using metrics that combine both internal and external factors. This definition also allows for the measuring of peacefulness within, as well as between, nations.

The Failed States Index is the other side of the same coin. The problems that plague failing states are familiar: rampant corruption, predatory elites who have long monopolized power, an absence of the rule of law, and severe ethnic or religious divisions. And to make this scene even more edgy, some of the contenders have nukes!

From my days in academia teaching conflict resolution, this type of data is filling an important gap. As we have an art and science of warmaking, we are accumulating an art and science of peacemaking. Now just how to fund it.....


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Peace Index, War Index: who rates?:


The GPI is cool and deserves wider exposure.

I recently spent a couple of weeks in Ireland (GPI peace rating: very high), both the Republic and Ulster (part of the UK). What a pleasure to be in a prosperous, peaceful country (the Republic) and in a former war zone (Belfast) that is now seeing huge growth and investment. There is a prominent plaque in front of the Belfast city hall commemorating the visits of Bill Clinton who is revered in both parts of the island as a peacemaker.

Here in the USA, Bill Scheurer at the Peace Majority Report produced a very interesting 'peace rating' of our elected representatives and senators based on their votes on selected issues. Unfortunately he hasn't had the volunteers he needs to continue the project. Ratings from early 2006 can be seen here. Looking at the low peace ratings of many of our reps helps us understand why the US seems to be always at war.

I was disappointed to see that the United States was not rated as at least "warning" as a failed state; I also believe that it should have been rated as the greatest threat to world peace. Noam Chomsky brilliantly analyzes and articulates, with tremendous documentation, exactly how and why the United States is the greatest threat to world peace on the planet and it definitely fits the definition of a failed state in his appropriately titled book "Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy."

As Chomsky expresses: "One (of the characteristics of failed states) is their inability or unwillingness to protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction. Another is their tendency to regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, and hence free to carry out aggression and violence. And if they have democratic forms, they suffer from a serious "democratic deficit" that deprives their formal democratic institutions of real substance.

Among the hardest tasks that anyone can undertake, and one of the most important,is to look honestly in the mirror. If we allow ourselves to do so, we should have little difficulty in finding the characteristics of "failed states" right at home. That recognition of reality should be deeply troubling to those who care about their countries and future generations.

The world has not renounced war. Quite the contrary. By now, the world's hegemonic power accords itself the right to wage war at will, under a doctrine of "anticipatory self-defense" with unstated bounds. International law, treaties, and rules of world order are sternly imposed on others with much self-righteous posturing, but dismissed as irrelevant for the United States - a long-standing practice, driven to new depths by the Reagan and Bush II administrations.

Washington's aggressive militarism is not the only factor driving the race to "apocalypse soon," but it is surely a significant one. The plans and policies fall within a much broader context, with roots going back to the Clinton years and beyond. All of this is at the fringe of public discourse, and does not even enter marginally into electoral choices, another illustration of the decline of functioning democracy and its portent."

This book should be required reading for every American citizen. As the clock ticks toward "apocalypse soon", it's high time that the public woke up to the slaughter, death and destruction that its government continually perpetrates around the globe.

Sorry--can't get the link to work.
Instead go here and click on "ratings".

It seems that the best way to achieve high bluish "peace" status is to cash in the peace dividend and simply not have a military of size to confront any threat, police any sea lanes or do much except engage in peace missions that fail to defeat a nation (Serbia) about the size of Ohio.

Curious cleavings due to geography (Australia and Canada, safely afloat behind the US military's air and sea powers) won't, of course, be analyzed by a study so "ground breaking" it might well be described as a footnote to the Washington Naval Conference.

Curiously lacking any hue for such war-stricken nations as Western Sahara (but Morocco got a baby blue ribbon!), Afghanistan, Nepal, Congo and Somalia -- not to mention perhaps the most militarized country on earth, North Korea -- the deep thinkers down under at least saw fit to grab the orange crayon and fill in the US space.

Bully for them!

If it's so wrong to study conflict in order to conceptualize to understand peace, what does it say about a survey that can't even put the crayola onto the nations torn most by bloodshed over the past decade?

Same goes with the Failed State Index. Someone who actually studies these regions, warfare or foreign policy might be prodded to suggest that perhaps "Congo" never was much of a "state" and Gertrude Bell's "Iraq" over the past eight decades hasn't exactly developed a sense of nationhood greater than the sum of its tribes, kinship groups, languages, religions and castes (except, apparently, when the non-failed state killed hundreds of thousands of its own people and launched pointless wars against its non-Baath neighbors).

For all the new technology that brings nonsense of this sort to my eyes, there's the omnipresent sense that it's all old hat. Without all the bytes, the same sort of document could've been dusted off a pamphlet from a 1968 Friends Service Committee luncheon or cribbed from the notebook of Ernesto Teodoro Moneta.

One would hope that, some fine day, Democracy Arsenal will remember that Democracy often isn't forged from the chatter of a knitting bee or that it can survive without an Arsenal.

can = can't

Of course

Of course a soldier wants an arsenal, but the truth is that the USA is currently not threatened by any other state, hasn't been invaded since 1812, and doesn't need an army except to provide employment to soldiers and to promote losing escapades in various exotic countries.

In other words, why is America the only developed country (discounting its impressed allies) that has to be constantly at war?

Police the sea lanes, indeed. And the air force? Policing the air lanes? Like on September eleventh, perhaps? What's your point, soldier, other than criticism?

It wasn't the Army asking for an "Arsenal of Democracy" on Dec 29, 1940.

It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Fireside Chat was delivered nearly a year before Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. On that evening, FDR looked to a real Axis of evil -- Japan, Germany and Italy -- and borrowed a phrase bandied about by his longtime aide, Harry Hopkins, in a verbal push to awaken a nation sleepy with isolationism.

One wonders if FDR, much less ol' Harry, would be welcome in a Democratic Party today driven by the bumper sticker national security dictates of

So much is Tony Blair savaged on these pages, one wonders how Winston Churchill and his island nation would've fared. Hrumph. "Spearhead of resistance to world conquest," indeed.

For those timorous warriors of the beltway chatter clubs, FDR's exact words fell from his mouth as so:

"We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with the same resolution, the same sense of urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war."

Would we only have a president now such as FDR. Might the spirit of his words animate a forum that delights with the red of his tooth, but dulls what was meant by his claw.

FF11 is very famous now. My friends like to play it and buy FFXI Gil. If you have money to buy FFXI gold, you will find it is very useful. Earning Final Fantasy XI gold is not so hard. Try your best and then you can get it. I buy FFXI Gil, just because I like it.

we don't think it is reasonable to spend hundreds thousands dollars to buy a decorating watch. you can use those money to invest in other industry which will return you good profit.
here you just need to spend 100-200 dollars to buy a replica rolex watches.
Breitling replica watches are made by the rating 1:1 according to the original watches, and you can't distinguish the original and the fake watches when you look at the surface of the watches.

his friends thank him very much for introducing them the cheap rs gold.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use