Peaceful and not so peaceful places

While peace and stability aren’t
easy to come by, this year the world fared slightly worse, partly due to the
global recession, according to the fourth annual Global Peace Index.

The survey, which aims to
objectively measure security and violence among nations while illustrating
drivers of peace, ranked 149 countries this year.

Based on 23 factors, including
military expenditures, participation in United Nations peacekeeping, social
unrest and jail population, the U.S. placed #85 falling behind China (#80) and
Cuba (#72).

Its mediocre spot is due to a
combination of factors. While receiving low marks for its domestic murder rate,
military expenses and role in international conflicts, it received a boost for
respecting human rights and strengthening international relations.

Jamaica ranked #98, four places
higher than last year and just 13 places behind the U.S.

Not surprisingly, Iraq was where it
was last year — in the bottom spot.

And New Zealand snagged the top
spot, earning the title of most peaceful nation in the world.

But how can peace be calculated?
That’s the tricky (and controversial) part of this survey.

Clyde McConaghy, board director of
the Institute for Economics and Peace, the think tank responsible for compiling
the data said: “We work with a definition of peace that is not as the
opposite of war but the absence of violence.”

While the Australian-based think
tank has established a correlation between economic instability and political
unrest, it claims that countries with a suffering economy can remain high on
the list.

Iceland, for example, was at one
time ranked the most peaceful country in the world until it fell to fourth
place after the financial crisis that hit the country in 2008. This year is
climbed to second place.

How the Caribbean fared:

72 Cuba

94 Trinidad

98 Jamaica

114 Haiti

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