Stranger Fruit

Ranking democracies

Under Bush, the US has taken upon itself to bring democracy to other countries. However, as the Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracy [pdf] shows, the US ranks fairly badly as a democracy itself, coming in 17th worldwide. Evaluated based on electoral process & pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties, the top fifteen are:

    1. Sweden
    2. Iceland 
    3. Netherlands
    4. Norway
    5. Denmark
    6. Finland
    7. Luxembourg
    8. Australia
    9. Canada
    10. Switzerland
    11. Ireland
    12. New Zealand
    13. Germany
    14. Austria
    15. Malta

The other major partner in the “war on terror”, the UK, is ranked 23rd.

Should someone perhaps be talking to those crazy Nordic countries before exporting “democracy”?

Comments

  1. #1 Søren Kongstad
    November 24, 2006

    Sadly Denmark is a partner in the fight on terror.

  2. #2 John Wilkins
    November 24, 2006

    So is Australia. But neither are that significant.

    Nice to see I was right when I told my American visitor that we (Australians) should invade the US to bring democracy to the people. After all, I said, we know they have WMDs…

  3. #3 csrster
    November 24, 2006

    Hey, don’t knock Denmark’s contribution. When America, in its desperate hour of need, came pleading for help with the invasion of Iraq to its truest nordic friend, we came through with a ….. submarine.

    I kid you not.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3639977.stm

  4. #4 Kristjan Wager
    November 25, 2006

    Denmark does have troops on the ground as well (working together with the British troops).

  5. #5 John Lynch
    November 25, 2006

    The US military presence is approximately 152,000 personnel.  The Danish contingent is ~550 troops, 515 on the ground and ~35 with NATO and UNAMI, approximately 0.36% of the US presence. 

    For the record, as of Auguest 2006, 23 non-U.S. military forces are contributing armed forces to the Coalition in Iraq: Albania, Armenia, Australia (1400), Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea (~3000), and the United Kingdom (7,200). Poland (900) and Italy (1785)  are withdrawing all troops by the end of December. The total rises to 27 if you include countries like Fiji, Georgia, Iceland, Slovenia, and Turkey that are part on NATO training missions or UNAMI support. (This number is somewhat hazy … for example, the State Department reported in August 16th 2006 that Hungry was maintaining troops in Iraq despite the Hungarian government announcing a complete withdrawal in December 2004. Rumsfeld inflated the number to 34 in Senate testimony 13 days earlier). Countries that have pulled out of operations are: Nicaragua, Spain, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, Tonga, Portugal, Netherlands, Hungary, Singapore, Norway, Ukraine, and Japan.

  6. #6 Kristjan Wager
    November 25, 2006

    The US military presence is approximately 152,000 personnel. The Danish contingent is ~550 troops, 515 on the ground and ~35 with NATO and UNAMI, approximately 0.36% of the US presence.

    Well, you guys wanted the war, so you get to provide most troops.

    Also, Denmark’s population is only 2% of the US population, so even a representative force wouldn’t really make any difference.

    As an aside, there are a few more Danish troops there, but since it’s the Danish elite troops, whose movement is always kept secret, it’s a bit unclear how many are there, or in Afghanistan.

  7. #7 John Lynch
    November 25, 2006

    Heh! I was certainly not among “you guys” ! In any case, my point wasn’t to demean the Danish effort, just to make the point that an unbalanced coalition isn’t terrible multilateral.

  8. #8 Kristjan Wager
    November 25, 2006

    In any case, my point wasn’t to demean the Danish effort, just to make the point that an unbalanced coalition isn’t terrible multilateral.

    I think most of us Danes can handle people demeaning our effort in Iraq.

    The Danish troops are not really being used for what they are good at – in ex-Yugoslavia, Danish troops managed to keep large areas fairly peaceful, while training local police.
    In Kosovo and elsewhere, Danish troops have helped clear mines so well, that Denmark is usually the first country asked when the UN needs troops for mine-clearing.
    In Iraq, there is no clearly defined goal, and no clearly defined animosity – it’s not the kind of istuaion the Danish troops usually handle. Give them a normal UN peacekeeping mission, and they would be much better off (and actually be able to do something, instead of holing up in their camp).

  9. #9 Chris Mauriello
    January 1, 2009

    Thanks for info. I have been looking for this since I argued politics over Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I credited you and posted ranking on my blog. Thanks.

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