The Global Peace Index
Apparently it's a competition now. A new study called the Global Peace Index, just released, ranks nations across the world according to their "peacefulness," using factors like military spending, violent crime rates, the size of a country's prison population and organized crime rings to reach their conclusions. The number one country? Norway, followed closely by New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland and Japan. (The high ranking of the latter country just goes to further illustrate the strange paradox of its recent spate of dismemberments. What's up with that?) Not too surprisingly, the US ranks somewhere near the back of the pack, earning a ranking of 96th out of 121, Iraq being the 121st. Other nasty places to live, peace-wise, include Sudan (120), Israel (119), Russia (118) and Nigeria (117). Other factors the study used to determine rankings (which may explain why Israel is grouped among the former) include a country's relations with its neighbors (natch) and political instability.