I’m surprised by some of the countries that rank among the best performers in the peace and security category. Why is this?
On the whole, the countries that score well in this category do not export arms; they are not directly involved in international violent conflicts (except in some cases as peacekeepers); they tend to have tight cyber-security, and may contribute significantly to UN peacekeeping missions with troops and/or funds. Of course, several of them have a great deal to worry about at home, including violent conflicts within their own borders, and their contribution to international peace and security is often a largely passive one: they do very little harm overseas, rather than doing a lot of good. Still, the net effect is positive and this is what earns them their high ranking in this particular category – even if, in many cases, their overall contribution to the common good is let down by lower scores in other categories.
It’s important to emphasize again that the Good Country Index only measures the international impacts of countries; what they do at home is well documented in many other studies and surveys. The fact that domestic behaviour isn’t included in the Good Country Index of course doesn’t mean we excuse, condone, minimise or overlook it in any way: it’s simply not the thing that we’re measuring.
Remember that when we talk about a ‘good country’ we’re not attempting to judge its overall moral standing: we’re measuring its impact on the rest of the world, its contribution to the common good. You can’t get a complete picture of any country without considering both domestic and international factors, and we would always encourage people to consider the Good Country Index scores alongside some reliable measures of domestic behaviour.