- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2016

America, land of peace? Not necessarily. The U.S. no longer ranks in the top 100 most peaceful nations on Earth.

It stands at No. 103, according to the Global Peace Index, a comprehensive statistical analysis that quantifies the relative peacefulness of 162 countries. Such nations as Cuba, Gabon, Sri Lanka, Haiti and Bangladesh are ranked as “more peaceful” than America, the massive study found.

Released Wednesday, the tenth annual assessment is data-driven and measures such influences as internal crime statistics, political forces, refugee activity, population trends and other factors — including terrorism, the number of homicides and economic conditions.

The most peaceful spots on the planet? Iceland, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Japan and Slovenia for the top 10.

Syria is at the very bottom of the list followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, Yemen, Central Africa Republic, Ukraine, Sudan, Libya and Pakistan.

China is ranked at 120, Russia at 151. An interactive map ranking the nations can be found here.

Issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace, an Australia-based think tank, the report stated that there had been a “historic decline in world peace” in the last decade, largely driven by conflict, terrorism and political instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

The breadth of terrorism is spreading,with only 23 percent of countries in the index not experiencing a a terrorist incident,” the analysis said.

A combative world is also an expensive one, the study found. The cost of military readiness and response, the impact of refugees, the cost of internal security and other factors adds up.

“The economic impact of violence on the global economy amounted to $13.6 trillion or 13.3 percent of the gross world product,” the analysis stated. The total for the last decade is $137 trillion.

“Terrorism is at an all-time high, battle deaths from conflict are at a 25-year high, and the number of refugees and displaced people are at a level not seen in 60 years,” the report said, noting that 60 million people — almost 1 percent of the world’s population — are now displaced.

The report also had a warning. According to the study, political instability in Brazil is up by 15 percent, along with increases in police activity and incarceration — “a worrying trend just months before the start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.”

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