Can you guess which nation is the safest, without looking?
Meanwhile, the United States came in 131st place out of 163 nations in the 2023 rankings of the Global Peace Index. This obviously places the United States behind many so-called “third world” nations, as it is one of the less safe nations worldwide. The article from which this information comes (Safest Countries in the World 2023 (worldpopulationreview.com)), lists the United States as being 129th as of 2022, but it has dropped this year by two positions. In fact, the United States’ position has dropped every year in these rankings since 2016. You can see the current rankings for every nation by clicking on “Global Peace Index (GPI).”
The only caveat to this ranking is that two of the three factors used to create this list, are “Militarization” and “Ongoing International Conflict.” However, that is probably fair, given that these factors do tend to lead to unsafe conditions such as war, and even internal strife and violence. The other criterion used is “Societal Safety and Security.” However, the United States does not fare very well on this factor either, as we are probably all aware. In fact, reasons given for the declining ranking of the United States include “a decrease in life satisfaction, rising political division, and an increasing wealth gap.” Thus, this is where this topic becomes overtly political
If you have not seen which nation is rated the safest already, here it is: Iceland, which has no standing army. Other top 10 safest nations include: New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Singapore, and Japan. Note that many of the safest nations, are also among the world’s happiest nations, according to happiness measures. In general, not surprisingly, there seems to be a correlation between safety and happiness. But of course, we know that intuitively. People want to feel safe and secure for their own sense of well-being.
By the way, the only other nation that I know of which has no standing army, Costa Rica, comes in 39th place, not great, but above average, and much better than its gun-toting neighbors, Guatemala (103rd) and Mexico (136th) – which are the only two nations aside from the United States which guarantees the right to gun ownership to its citizens.
According to the article from World Population View, “safe countries tend to display high levels of wealth, social welfare, and education. Additionally, safe countries typically have effective criminal justice systems and governments that maintain very healthy relationships with their citizens.” In other words, they are liberal nations with relatively high-functioning democratic, socialist government. Clearly, the United States is sadly lacking in these qualities, aside from overall wealth, due to the conservative political morons which populate one of its two major political parties. (And we all know which party I am referring to.) Presumably, these safest nations all possess good gun regulation, as well as effective public healthcare systems, among their health and safety oriented, public welfare-minded policies.
Now, let’s talk about the least safe nations in the world. Did you notice that large red blotch on the upper right side of the world map? That is Russia, which ranks 158th in world safety. Thus, five nations actually rank below Russia, most of which are in the Middle East. Afghanistan comes in last place, in fact, ranked 163rd. Ukraine actually ranks one position higher than Russia, at 157th, and clearly, Russia is greatly responsible for the fact that Ukraine is such an unsafe place.
The depressing material doesn’t stop there. This article asks whether the world as a whole is becoming safer or less safe. The conclusion is that, as of 2022, the world as a whole has become less safe by 3.2% overall in the last 14 years – a trend which is probably continuing this year as well. Global peace declined 0.3% in 2022 alone, the most recent year for which these results are available (probably mainly due to the Ukraine War). Indeed, countries in conflict, including Russia, Ukraine, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Haiti, were the main drivers of this decline. The good news is that in fact, 90 countries became more safe, while only 71 became less safe in 2022 (while two nations remained unchanged).
Overall, my conclusion is that if one wants a safe nation to live in, one should advocate for democratic socialist policies (or social democracy).
Most people will never vote to put themselves at risk. They generally won’t vote to fight and die in foreign lands, or have lax, “wild west” lack of gun regulation, or private healthcare rather than an effective, public healthcare program. Note how the United States has had to resort to drafts in the past in order to recruit soldiers, and even now, our government has difficulty recruiting soldiers and thus uses major incentives to entice people to join the military. The military is known as “armed forces” for a reason; they use force. They are not known as, for instance, “gently persuasive choice givers.” Furthermore, aggression is a characteristic of fascistic, autocratic governments, as well as culturally “masculine” nations (of which the United States and other nations with poor safety scores are members). The current trend toward fascism in many nations is very dangerous, in a literal sense.
We must have the will of the people to overcome the will of the greedy, so that we can create a peaceful, prosperous, happily advanced and enlightened future.