Interesting perspectives on current global affairs and global differences in terms of the degrees to which different states and different regions are conflict-prone are offered in the latest release by the Vision of Humanity organisation in producing the 2013 edition of their Global Peace Index.
Based on analysis of 22 quantitative and qualitative indicators, this index ranks countries in terms of “the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation” (Vision of Humanity, 2013).
What is striking from the above map (and mirroring the trends observed for the Failed State index) is the degree to which the locations of the more conflict-prone regions of the world mirror global trends of economic underdevelopment, with most of the most conflict prone states identified by this analysis being located within the developing. By contrast, the more peaceful states in the globe almost all tend to be located within the developed world, with an especial concentration of the most peaceful states globally in northern (and especially north-western) Europe. This is not a “hard and fast” rule however and indeed a number of developing states attain more favourable rankings than some developed states do – for instance, countries like Botswana, Mauritius and Chile are higher in the rankings than the United Kingdom is.
The most peaceful state globally according to the 2013 Index is Iceland, ranking just ahead of Denmark in second place and New Zealand in third place. Austria, Swtizerland, Japan, Finland, Canada, Sweden and Belgium (in that order) make up the rest of the Top 10 states. Ireland figures among the states with the highest levels of peacefulness, being ranked in 12th place out of the 162 states studied in this analysis. By contrast, the least peaceful state in the world, based on the 2013 Global Peace Index, is Afghanistan, with Somalia and Syria making up the rest of the bottom three and with low rankings also being associated with other states in the developing world, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, Yemen, North Korea, Iraq and Pakistan, as well as with the Russian Federation.
The Guardian has offered an interesting and insightful commentary on the index, which is also worth checking out.