Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rah Rah America! We’re Number Ninety-Seven!

The Global Peace Index has ranked 140 countries according to how peaceful they are. “Peaceful” includes domestically and how the country interacts with the outside world.

America needs to learn how to work and play well with others. We’re in the bottom third. Last year we were ranked at 96; this year we’ve gone down a notch.

The index was created by the Institute for Economics and Peace. This is a think tank that examines the relationship between peace, business and economics. They use 24 indicators to measure how peaceful a country is. These indicators include: arms sales, the number of soldiers killed overseas, the violent crime rate and the country’s human rights record.

Iraq and Afghanistan are at the bottom of the list, along with Somalia, Sudan and Israel. The U.S. is also more peaceful than Iran (105) and Russia (131).

Countries that are more peaceful than the U.S. include: Libya, Belarus, South Korea, Chile and Cuba.

Iceland ranked number one. Japan was 5th, Canada 11th, Germany 14th, Italy 28th, France 36th and Britain 49th.

Big deal, right? We have the world’s largest army — so there. If any other country has something to say about our low ranking, we’ll just obliterate them.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Anonymous Kvatch said...

Iraq and Afghanistan are at the bottom of the list...

[sigh] Not like we had a hand in that. Did we get points subtracted for our role in dropping Iraq and Afghanistan to the bottom?

May 21, 2008 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kvatch: It would serve us right to have points subtracted for invading Iraq and Afghanistan. As bad off as those 2 countries already were, we've made them much worse.

May 21, 2008 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

I wonder how we rank on the stupidity index, and how that ranking contributed to this ranking. I wonder how many places our Stupidicity Index Ranking will go up when Dubya one day assumes room temperature.

Ever see that movie Idiocracy? It's a silly movie. My son got me to watch it last year, and I've come to believe it's the gospel - where our country will be in a thousand years.

May 22, 2008 at 3:23 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Even the Nazis and the Vikings have mellowed out while we get worse and worse.

And everyone knows that Iraq was run by a modern-day Hitler and that Afghanistan is controlled by swarthy Muslims who would not dare to have their representatives set foot in America to visit with Unocal. You people are mad.

May 22, 2008 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger kip said...

The Right Wing considers it a badge of honor that we're seen as such a warmongering country.
One question: Where did the evil empire of Finland rank?

May 22, 2008 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: If there was a stupidity index, no doubt we'd rank pretty high. I think most of the world views America as a 300-pound dumbfuck with a quick temper. Like with most bullies, a lot of other countries are terrified of us; and a few of them have us wrapped around their little finger.

I've never heard of Idiocracy; I'll have to check it out.

Randal: Pretty ironic, huh. Nazi Germany has turned into a peaceful democracy and we've mutated in the other direction.

Kip: Some rightwingers are probably pissed off that we didn't rank 140th. We need more wars, more prisons dammit! I don't know about Finland. The article didn't have a complete listing. I imagine they'd rank pretty high.

May 22, 2008 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

War is about all we export these days. Peace is so unprofitable.

May 22, 2008 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: Yup, the Pentagon and the Prison Industrial Complex are two of the main drivers of our economy. Peace is for sissies.

May 22, 2008 at 8:14 PM  
Anonymous S,W, Anderson said...

"Big deal, right? We have the world’s largest army — so there."

I don't have exact current numbers, but I would be amazed if China and Russia don't have much larger armies than ours.

That said, the U.S. ranking is dismal and it's costing us in various ways in our relations with other countries. Not that any of this is likely bother Sen. "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

May 22, 2008 at 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Americaneocon said...

But you forget:

"America is the richest country and the most sophisticated high-tech military power in the world, and is spending more on defence in real terms than at any time since the end of the second world war."

Peace through strength, eh?

May 22, 2008 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: True, Russia and China probably have larger armies than us. But Americans are paying a high price for our government's twisted priorities.

Am-Neo/Donald: Yes we're rich, sophisticated and powerful. And we also have the world's largest prison population, one of the world's highest crime rates (we've diverted money from local police departments to the War on Tur) and one of the world's largest gaps between CEOs' salaries and average workers' salaries. The natives are getting restless. I don't think we can keep buying and posing our way out of this.

May 23, 2008 at 1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my sociology class in college, we always had discussions on why America was less peaceful than our neighbor, Canada. And there was no right answer because so many problems contribute to instability.

But to be a bit blunt...why do we have to play well with others when we are the superpower of the world. We can bomb bomb bomb Iran and nobody will police us. We can also torture foreign citizens in off-shore locations and nobody's gonna cry foul because we are the "Muthaf***ing USA." I mean all we are doing is exporting corporatism eh i mean "democracy" to these barbarians.


May 23, 2008 at 2:04 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jo: It's interesting how Canada is so different, less warlike, than the U.S. I remember in Bowling For Columbine, Michael Moore was assuming that Canada had a lower crime rate because of fewer guns, but during the movie he found out that Canadians have about the same number of guns per capita as Americans.

There really is something different about Canada, a certain underlying tension and volatility that America has and Canada doesn't. I live right across the strait from Victoria, BC, so we go there frequently. And last summer we spent 2 weeks driving across Canada. There isn't anything magic about it, but that underlying tension and irritability just wasn't there.

I think your blunt diagnosis is correct: we shit on the world because we can.

May 23, 2008 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Mentarch said...

Be careful Tom - our Bush emulator par excellence, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has been doing everything he can to make us more like the U.S. within and abroad (one small example here).

That we still ranked 11th gives me hope that Harper will ultimately fail ...

May 23, 2008 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mentarch: Damn, that's not good news, is it. Hope you can cling to that number 11 position; it's a long way down to 97.

May 23, 2008 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger American Hill BIlly said...

Shitting on the World? I've spent the last year in America Central....The States along with Reagan, and bastards of the past have turned this beautiful area into a living hell for these peopel, but now is a recovering wasteland....My "boots are on the ground here"!! Let me tell you these Countries are starting to side heavily with Venezuela....especially for economic reasons. The economies are getting better across the board. They still love us Americans, but honesty I catch myself saying "Soy de Canada" more often than not. Along these lines the important part is that OUR country is now starting shit here again, and in the Caribbean....The movie could be called US NAVY...PIRATES OF THE WORLD!!!lol

May 23, 2008 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

American Hill Billy: That sounds like an interesting place to be. I've never been to Latin America, except for a few Mexican border towns. I can see why Venezuela is having an influence. Chavez may be a dictator but at least he's an alternative to just being used as a tool for Bechtel and Halliburton.

I've traveled in Asia a lot (a long time ago) and it was the same thing: Most of the people like Americans even if they don't like our government. And I think even then some Americans were pretending to be Canadian.

May 23, 2008 at 7:53 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

" . . .why do we have to play well with others when we are the superpower of the world. We can bomb bomb bomb Iran and nobody will police us."

I know this was written as sarcasm, but it's a way of thinking that should be examined seriously for how dumb and dangerous it is.

Read the history of Europe and Russia over the past 400 years, and you'll see a recurring theme. When one major power gets too far out in front of the rest and begins throwing its weight around, other, often smaller and weaker, countries coalesce to oppose the bully.

That's how the Kaiser's Germany was brought low early in the 20th century, and then again in the Hitler era.

Don't think other countries wouldn't coalesce against the U.S., if we continue to behave like a bully and aggressor.

And get this: coalitions formed against bullies invariably win.

May 29, 2008 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Yes, we're playing the exact role that's been played over the centuries by England, Spain, Portugal, France, Russia and Germany. None of those countries are presently a "superpower" and at some point we won't be either.

It should be simple and cut and dry. But for too many Americans, "God's will" and "Manifest Destiny" create all these illusions about America being permanent and infallible. Don't think so.

May 30, 2008 at 12:32 AM  
Anonymous Cyan said...

I am just sick to death of this America-is-Number-one mantra. I mean, how stupid do you have to be to actually believe that? Name 3 things America is number one in? In all fairness, you could say high-tech industries (Apple, IBM, etc.), but beyond that, it's a bit of a stretch.

Think about any of the measures of quality of life and America comes out woefully behind: literacy, infant mortality, life expectancy, academic achievement, health care (quality and cost metrics), GDP, on and on. Hell, you could even include average broadband internet speed (where countries like Japan, Korea, and many European countries just beat us up).

America is not number one. So, please, just freaking open your eyes and wake up.

June 4, 2008 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Cyan: Yup, it's pretty ridiculous, this whole "we're number one!" mentality. It's fine for sports fans cheering their favorite team, but countries and governments need to be a little more rational.

Everybody loves their own country. No matter how poor a country is or how corrupt their government is, I doubt if anyone is walking around thinking "oh, gee, we're only number 58." Even if America still excelled in all the things we used to excell in, it's still pointless to thump our chests and yell out "America is number one!"

June 4, 2008 at 8:47 PM  

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