Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Notes from the Failed States Index

Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace (full listing) have the 2007 Failed States Index. No surprise that Sudan and Iraq are one and two. It is a measure of how bad things are in Sudan that it manages to edge out Iraq as Worst Hell on Earth. Third place is that experiment is total anarchy, Somalia. Fourth place is the mess that Robert Mugabe has made out of Zimbabwe.

This first interesting placement is Pakistan in 12th place, judged worse than North Korea. A military dictatorship that is both at war with and terrified of their growing ranks of Muslim fundamentalists. Safe haven to Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and close ally of the United States, Pakistan is balanced on a knife's edge. A puff of wind from the wrong direction could tumble Pakistan into the full blown revolt that Al Qaeda's al-Zawahiri has called for. Far more than Iraq, the fate of Pakistan endangers the world.

Iran (57th place, ahead of the Philippines) is looking pretty good even with their oppressive mullahs and Bush's war wish. Israel is 75th place almost entirely because of its ranking in "Group Grievance," the Palestine problem.

Coming in at 160th place is the United States; but, there are 177 nations in the ranking so the United States is only the 17th best country in the world. The US scores poorly in Uneven Development because while we have our super-rich we are also uncaring for our multiple millions of desperately poor. Human Rights in the United States is a sore point with the judges and place the US on a par with Rwanda on that account. The US also scores poorly on the issue of Displaced Persons (worse than China), 3.5 million Americans are homeless for some part of the year.

So, what are the best countries in the world? Norway, Finland, and Sweden are, in that order. Canada (10th best) scores better than the United States in ten of the twelve categories.

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