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Thursday, 09 June 2016 05:17

The United States Is Ranked 103rd on Global Peace Index

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MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2016june8 choosepeaceCould the United States government live without war? (Photo: Dave Hogg)

For all the self-styled US "patriots" who shout "USA, number one!" at rallies, please take note: A recent study finds that the United States is the 103rd most peaceful nation on Earth, out of a total of 163. This is the finding of the Global Peace Index 2016, conducted by the Institute for Economics & Peace's Vision of Humanity project. As Vision of Humanity notes in its summary of findings:

The 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI) shows the world became less peaceful in the last year, reinforcing the underlying trend of declining peace over the last decade. Results also show a growing global inequality in peace, with the most peaceful countries continuing to improve while the least peaceful are falling into greater violence and conflict....

It shows that amidst the global deterioration the world continues to spend enormous resources on creating and containing violence but very little on peace. The key to reversing the decline in peace is through building Positive Peace - a holistic framework of the key attitudes, institutions and structures which build peace in the long term. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16, which focuses on peace, justice and strong institutions is critical to focusing the international community on the goal of attaining a more peaceful world....

The world continues to spend enormous amounts on creating and containing violence and little on building peace. The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2015 was $13.6 trillion in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. This figure represents 13.3 per cent of the world’s economic activity (gross world product) or $1,876 for every person in the world. To put this in perspective, it is approximately 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment. 

Naturally, some people and companies that reap financial profit from conflict are doing quite well. Of course, that's at the expense of countless deaths and injuries around the world. The report mentions terrorism as playing a role in some of the documented violence -- although it's not always clear when terrorism is at the root of the violence, or when it is simply a justification for state militarism.

Vision of Humanity's analysis draws attention to the general lack of a framework of peace to mitigate violence. It asserts, "The study of what creates peace can be advanced through the concept of 'Positive Peace,' which represents 'the attitudes, institutions and structures which sustain peace.'"

"Positive Peace," as detailed by the Institute for Economics & Peace, requires comprehensive, worldwide attention to the factors that precipitate conflicts -- as well as those that foster peace, including "equitable distribution of resources" and "acceptance of the rights of others," among other conditions necessary for peace.

A lack of commitment to pursuing the conditions that foster peace results not only in war, but also in tumultuous and deadly upheaval, including the displacement of people as refugees. The study indicates that displacement has skyrocketed in recent years:

The number of refugees and internally displaced persons increased dramatically over the decade, doubling from 2007 to 2015, to approximately 60 million people. There are nine countries with more than 10 per cent of their population classified as refugees or displaced persons with Somalia and South Sudan having more than 20 per cent of their population displaced and Syria with over 60 per cent displaced.

The deaths of those seeking safety and economic survival barely even make the mainstream US news for more than a moment anymore, since such deaths born of desperation have become so "normalized."

The Guardian US listed the top ranking nations for peace and those with the most intense war activity:

The 2016 index, which analyzed 163 countries and territories, rates Syria the least peaceful country, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The world’s most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Portugal.

The newspaper also cites a revealing quote:

Steve Killelea, the founder and executive chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) think tank, which produces the index, said the consequences of conflicts in Middle Eastern and north African countries are being felt well beyond their borders.....

“As internal conflicts [in that region] become more entrenched, external parties are increasingly becoming more involved and the potential for indirect or ‘war by proxy’ between nation states is rising,” he said.

The US military and intelligence services specialize in war by proxy and "low intensity" conflicts around the world. Nick Turse, a journalist who researches US military war activity and weaponry, found that the United States is presently engaged in some sort of military activity in 120 countries.

So when it comes to being a peaceful nation, the United States is not even close to being "number one"; in fact, it is 103rd.

Not to be reposted without permission of Truthout.