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  Print view: Israeli and American Rankings on Violence and Corruption
COMMENTARY:

Israeli and American Rankings on Violence and Corruption

by Stephen Lendman
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Although America ranks low at 85 (above the 94 average), it deserves a bottom position for imperial wars. In addition, numerous countries score low because of American and/or Israeli direct or indirect meddling.

Launched in May 2007, the Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks nations according to peacefulness. Its 2010 report pdf graphic includes 149 countries, graded on the basis of "ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society and militarisation...." [An earlier article discussed GPI's 2008 survey. Also Wikipedia has this entry.]

This year's index includes 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators, "which combine internal and external factors ranging from a nation's level of military expenditure to its relations with neighboring countries and the level of respect for human rights."

According to GPI's founder, Australian entrepreneur Steve Killelea, indicators were chosen by an international panel of academics, business people, philanthropists, and peace organization members.

They include:

  1. Ones relating to ongoing external and internal wars:
    • number of external and internal conflicts fought: 2003 - 08;
    • estimated number of external conflict deaths;
    • estimated number of internal conflict deaths;
    • level of internal conflict; and
    • relations with neighboring countries.
  2. Ones measuring societal safety and security:
    • perceptions of criminality in society;
    • number of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) as a percent of total population;
    • political instability;
    • level of respect for human rights (a political terror scale);
    • potential for terrorist acts;
    • number of homicides per 100,000 population;
    • level of violent crime;
    • likelihood of violent demonstrations;
    • number of persons imprisoned per 100,000 population; and
    • number of internal security and police officers per 100,000 population.
  3. Measures of militarization
    • military expenditures as a percent of GDP;
    • number of armed services personnel per 100,000 population;
    • volume of major conventional weapon imports per 100,000 population;
    • volume of major conventional weapon exports per 100,000 population;
    • budget for UN peacekeeping missions: percent of outstanding payments v. annual peacekeeping mission budget assessments;
    • total number of heavy weapons per 100,000 population;
    • ease of access to small and light arms; and
    • military capability/sophistication.
  4. GPI rankings conspicuously omit two factors:
    • outside influence causing internal conflicts, instability, and/or disruptions; and
    • responsible provocateur countries.

As a result, although America ranks low at 85 (above the 94 average) behind Rwanda, Indonesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Egypt, it deserves a bottom position for imperial wars. In addition, numerous countries score low because of American and/or Israeli direct or indirect meddling. They might be relatively peaceful without it.

Breakdown of America's GPI Score

On a 1 - 5 scale (1 best), America should score 5 on number of external and internal conflicts fought directly and/or indirectly. Instead, it got 2.5.

It scored 2 on the estimated number of deaths from external conflicts. It deserves an asterisked 5, meaning its global barbarity is unmatched.

For over four decades, Gideon Polya's body count analysis is perhaps the most reliable measure available. He states:

"There is no public discussion of the actual human cost of First World policies" - the main cause of global barbarism in all forms, including wars, other conflicts, massacres, genocide, starvation and famine, as well as preventable disease, poverty and neglect. Combined they comprise an "apocalyptic quartet of violence, deprivation, disease, and LYING (about who's) responsible for the continuing carnage."

Polya defines avoidable mortality as "the difference between the actual deaths in a country and (those) expected for a peaceful, decently governed (one) with the same demographics."

As of October 7, 2010, he estimates 4.9 million violent and non-violent avoidable Afghan deaths since October 2001. Under age five children number 2.6 million. Another 3.2 million are refugees. Daily the body count rises because of America's invasion and occupation.

In mid-September 2010, he cited UNICEF data indicating that "every 3 days, more Occupied Afghans die avoidably (3,700) than the estimated 3,000 on 9/11.

In March 2009, he cited 2.3 million post-March 2003 Iraqi deaths. Combined, he currently estimates 8 million Iraqi and Afghan deaths, dual genocides by any measure, unmentioned in GPI's index.

Except for its highest in the world prison population and military capability, America's GPI rankings understate reality. For example, it scores 3 for potential terrorist acts when, in fact, it's the leading global state-terrorism exponent by far, exceeding most other countries combined. It's the principle imperial warlord, responsible directly or indirectly for most global deaths, displacement, torture, poverty, and overall human misery.

It scores 3 on disrespect for human rights when, in fact, it flouts them abroad and at home. It got 2 for perceived criminality in society when its level of corruption, lawlessness, and other forms of malfeasance are unmatched. More on that below.

It scored 2 for military expenditures as a percent of GDP. Doing so obscures the fact that it spends more than all other nations combined.

It got 2.5 as an exporter of major conventional weapons when, in fact, it's the world's leading arms provider.

GPI couldn't hide America's record, but did its best to soften it, coming down harder on nations with no power to object.

Breakdown of Israel's GPI Score

Justifiably, Israel ranked 144, besting only Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq in descending order, Iraq ranking last, but Afghanistan is just as bad or worse.

On individual categories, it's another story. Israel got 2.5 on number of external and internal conflicts fought when, in fact, it wages daily war against Palestine, occasional ones against neighbors, and more than ever persecutes its 20% Arab population, including violently. That rates 5 by any standard.

On number of displaced people as a percent of population, ignored are 9.8 million Palestinian refugees, what the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (BRC) calls "the largest and longest-standing case of forced displacement in the world today." An earlier article discussed life in Palestinian refugee camps, just click here.

On potential for terrorist acts, Israel scored 3 when, in fact, it commits daily state terrorism throughout Occupied Palestine, more against Israeli Arabs, and occasionally against neighboring countries. That warrants no less than a 5 ranking.

Most others more accurately represent Israel's penchant for violence and disdain for peace, why earlier it was a regional menace. Now it's a global one.

Israel and America Score Low Compared to Other OECD Countries on Corruption

In its 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Transparency International (TI) said "nearly three quarters of the 178 countries (surveyed) score(d) below five, on a scale from 0 (meaning highly corrupt) to 10 (relatively little), indicating a serious corruption problem." However, it's downplayed in the West, including for America and Israel, culturally though not regionally Western.

Israel ranked 30, America 22, while poor, less developed, and in some cases violent countries scored lowest, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia bottom-listed.

Scoring 6.1 out of 10, TI ranked Israel among the most corrupt Western countries, the CPI measuring public sector perception, omitting unmatched corporate levels throughout the West, America in the lead, but Israel a noted offender for its size.

Commenting, TI Israel's CEO, Galia Sagi, said:

"As opposed to Israel, other countries are improving, and that is a problem. Even though corruption is discussed and condemned, politicians are not doing enough to deal with it. If the political leadership does not prioritize this issue, nothing will change."

For the first time, America (scoring 7.5) lost its top 20 position it never deserved, its combined public/private corruption level unmatched anywhere, but don't expect TI to reveal it. By its own admission, it relies mostly on two sources:

  • "government development agency budgets and foundations," meaning developed richer nations and corporate backed foundations; and
  • "project funds from international organisations, donations from private sector companies and income from honoraria and publications."

Saying its independence depends on multiple sources masks the deep-pocketed ones that contribute, expecting softened host country harsh treatment in return.

TI gets evaluations from the:

  • African Development Bank;
  • Asian Development Bank;
  • Bertelsmann Foundation, a German neoliberal think tank, addressing political, economic, social and other issues;
  • Economist Intelligence Unit, part of Economist Group, including its publication, The Economist, promoting globalization, free trade, and other pro-business priorities;
  • Freedom House (FH), another right wing organization, formerly chaired by neocon hardliner James Woolsey, his tenure marked by FH support for US-backed color revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan;
  • Global Insight, the US-based largest global economics organization; and
  • World Bank, along with the IMF and other international financial institutions, responsible for environmental destruction and massive levels of global poverty and human misery.

Three other sources "reflect the evaluations by resident business leaders of their own country - IMD (International Institute for Management Development), Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, and the World Economic Forum," best known for convening the world's top business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland annually.

The above groups soften American and Israeli rankings, ones so poor they can't mask everything, especially for violence, too visible to ignore, but way understated.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on November 9, 2010.
 

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