World Peace Index: US Heading up Bottom Third

Based on twenty two criteria, the Institute for Economics and Peace, in its Global Peace Index, ranks the 162 nations of the world.

To calculate how peaceful a country is the GPI looks at 22 different indicators. Each of the different indicators is weighted according to importance and they can be broken down into three broad sections listed below with some examples:

Ongoing domestic and international conflict

  • Number of external and internal conflicts fought
  • Number of deaths from organised conflict
  • Level of organised conflict

Societal safety and security

  • Level of perceived criminality in society
  • Political terror scale
  • Number of homicides per 100,000 people
  • Number of internal security officers and police per 100,000 people


  • Nuclear and heavy weapons capability
  • Ease of access to small arms and light weapons
  • Volume of transfers of major conventional weapons as recipients (imports) per 100,000 people

This calculation is used to get an overall score with Iceland, the most peaceful country, getting 1.19 while Syria, the least peaceful, gets 3.65  The Guardian, UK


Here’s the world map, and ranking.  And the US peace ranking, also.

As you might intuit, the numbers have been rising (getting worse) of late.

World peace has deteriorated steadily over the last seven years, with wars, militant attacks and crime reversing six earlier decades of gradual improvement, a global security report said on Wednesday.

“There seem to be a range of causes,” Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman of the IEP, told Reuters. “You have the repercussions of the “Arab Spring”, the rise of terrorism particularly following the invasion of Iraq and the repercussions of the global financial crisis.”


Burma: Nation Waiting

Interesting news today from Burma/Myanmar:

Burmese President Thein Sein, who has steered a wave of reforms since the end of military rule, will not be seeking a second term at the next election in 2015, the leader of his party said on Thursday.

Which of course raises questions about the country’s First Lady – Aung San Suu Kyi:

The hugely popular Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to run, but only if the constitution is changed to eliminate a clause that bars Burmese from the presidency if their children or spouse are foreign nationals. Her two sons are British, as was her late husband.

The current speaker of parliament and leader of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), Shwe Mann has also expressed an interest in running.  Like Thein Sein, he was a member of the now disbanded military junta — though it can be assumed the feelings in his heart and mind are not similarly disbanded….

Burma Royhinga

Ethnic tensions remain high in parts of the county with military shelling in Kachin state and Buddhist-Muslim communal violence in Arkan state.  Aung San Suu Kyi, herself, came under fire by some human rights activists for a BBC interview last week in which she seemed to shifting blame for the initiation of violence from Buddhists to a more “moderate”  view of “violence is coming from both sides.”

“It’s not ethnic cleansing. … I think it’s due to fear on both sides. And this is what the world needs to understand—that the fear is not just on the side of the Muslims, but on the side of the Buddhists as well,” she said. “Yes, Muslims have been targeted, but also Buddhists have been subjected to violence. There’s fear on both sides, and this is what is leading to all these troubles.”

This could be helpful if it leads to a damping down of tensions and steps towards reconciliation.  It will not be helpful if it constitutes a blind eye and tacit permission for one of the two ‘aggrieved’ parties to muscle up even more.

Extreme Weather, Extreme Violence

“…researchers are now quantifying the causal relationship between extreme climate and human conflict. Whether their focus is on small-scale interpersonal aggression or large-scale political instability, low-income or high-income societies, the year 10,000 B.C. or the present day, the overall conclusion is the same: episodes of extreme climate make people more violent toward one another.”

Supercell thunderstorms with a cycling, cylindrical vortex of air that moves upward off the ground --also known as a mesocyclone

Supercell thunderstorms with a cycling, cylindrical vortex of air that moves upward off the ground –also known as a mesocyclone

… We found that higher temperatures and extreme rainfall led to large increases in conflict: for each one standard deviation change in climate toward warmer temperatures or more extreme rainfall, the median effect was a 14 percent increase in conflict between groups, and a 4 percent increase in conflict between individuals.

The studies in our analysis covered all major regions of the world and showed remarkably similar patterns across a wide range of settings. For example, they documented that spikes in temperature increased violent crime in the United States and Australia, that years of low rainfall increased domestic violence and ethnic conflict in South Asia, that extreme rainfall events increased land invasions in Brazil and that warmer temperatures increased civil conflict throughout the tropics. These studies also documented the role that climate played in the collapse of many of human history’s iconic civilizations: the Akkadian empire in Syria around 2000 B.C., the Maya in Mexico in the ninth century A.D. and Angkor Wat in the 1400s.

Weather and Violence

Violence and the Human Heart

I’ve never particularly bought into the notion that violent media images are strongly linked to violent behavior.  A new meta-study suggests I should.

There is now consensus that exposure to media violence is linked to actual violent behavior — a link found by many scholars to be on par with the correlation of exposure to secondhand smoke and the risk of lung cancer. In a meta-analysis of 217 studies published between 1957 and 1990, the psychologists George Comstock and Haejung Paik found that the short-term effect of exposure to media violence on actual physical violence against a person was moderate to large in strength.

NY Times  worth having a look at.

I’d be interested not only in whether such viewing is linked to actual violent behavior but whether the anti-social attitudes of so many screen characters don’t have a bleed-in effect on watchers; not so much that shooting will happen as the general rise of contempt for others, self-centered assurance and the rise of MY opinion over all available facts.

PTSD and Domestic Violence

Actor Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame, among other movies, has been a strong spokesperson against domestic violence.  Here he fields a question and links PTSD to much violence against women.


Originally found at