Make of it what you will -
WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) - The United States is among the least peaceful nations in the world, ranking 96th between Yemen and Iran, according to a new index released on Wednesday that evaluates 121 nations based on their peacefulness.The Economist, by the way, strongly advocates free trade and fiscal conservatism in its editorials. It supported George W. Bush's election campaign in 2000 and as of January 2007 maintains vocal support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Hardly a bulwark of the "lib'rul" media.
According to the Global Peace Index, created by The Economist Intelligence Unit, Norway is the most peaceful nation in the world and Iraq is the least, just after Russia, Israel and Sudan.
"The objective of the Global Peace Index was to go beyond a crude measure of wars by systemically exploring the texture of peace," said Global Peace Index President Clyde McConaghy.
He said the inaugural effort proves "peace can and has and will continue to be measured."
The index was compiled based on 24 indicators measuring peace inside and outside of a country. They included the number of wars a country was involved in the past five years, how many soldiers were killed overseas and how much money was made in arms sales.
Domestic indicators included the level of violent crimes, relations with neighboring countries and level of distrust in other citizens.
The results were then reviewed by a panel of international experts.
..."Democracy didn't actually correlate with peace, but a well-functioning democracy did. Efficient, accountable government seems to be the leading determinant of peace. Beyond that, income helps."
Fifteen of the top 20 most peaceful nations are in Western Europe, and countries with higher income appeared to lead to higher levels of peace, he said.
The United States ranked 96th out of 121 nations, just worse than Yemen and just better than Iran, Honduras and South Africa.