Periods of peace
Modern country with the longest period of peace is not Switzerland, but Sweden: this country hasn’t been involved into military conflicts for over 200 years. The latest military event with the participation of Sweden was coercion of Norway to the Union in 1814 (dissolved in 1905). Among other countries with long periods of peace are Switzerland (since 1848), Costa Rica (since 1949) and Pennsylvania (peace from 1682 till 1754). Also long periods of peace were in Japan (from 1603 to 1868), in the Khazar Khaganate (from 700 to 950), and, oddly enough, in the Roman Empire (about 200 years of peace).
For 12 consecutive years, a group of experts from a number of research institutes and analytical centers from around the world under the auspices of the Institute for Economics and Peace of University of Sydney calculate the Global Peace Index. Calculations are made on the basis of statistical data of the UN, the World Bank, Transparency International and other international organizations and national institutions with 22 different indicators. By the end of 2014 the index was determined for 162 countries. The most “peaceful” country many years in a row remains Iceland and most “non-peaceful” is Syria.
Criteria of peace
The criteria that are taken into account to determine peacefulness (in the Global Peace Index) include more than internal and external conflicts. Social and political aspects, such as violent crimes, political instability, respect for human rights, number of prisoners and guards are also considered. The level of militarization of the country: the percentage of military spending, the number of weapons (including nuclear), and the availability of weapons are also taken into account.
Iceland is a country with no regular army, navy, or air forces. Instead, the funds are spent on peacekeeping missions, such as the Crisis Response Unit (ICRU). Protection of Iceland is exercised by NATO, and the country joined this organization one of the first, on April 4, 1949. However, in 2006 the NATO airbase in Iceland ceased to function. Iceland is ranked the first in the Global Peace Index.
Switzerland is “only” №5 (after Iceland, Denmark, Austria and New Zealand) in the Global Peace Index – an index that characterizes the relative peacefulness of countries and regions. The last military conflict that occurred in Switzerland took place in 1847. It was an internal armed conflict of a religious nature between Catholics and Protestants. As for the external wars, since 1815 Switzerland has not participated in any of them, including two world wars of the twentieth century.
Good, peaceful people
Indian people Hopi (full name is Hopituh Shi-nu-mu – «peaceful people») never attacked anyone. According to the 2010 enumeration there are only a little more than 18 thousand Hopi people currently living in the reservation of about 6,500 kilometers in Northeast Arizona. The concept of peace is inherent in the culture of this nation, in its rituals, religion and morality. Hopi worldview involves the peaceful coexistence of people with all things and phenomena in the world.
In the twentieth century the famous peacemaker Mahatma Gandhi developed the philosophy and practice of nonviolent resistance – Satyagraha, the exact opposite of aggression. Satyagraha sees means and ends as inseparable: one cannot achieve peace through violence. “There is no way to peace, peace is the way,” many believe that these are the words of Gandhi. The philosophy of Satyagraha was successfully used by Gandhi in South Africa and in the struggle for Indian independence. Under the influence of the theory of Satyagraha Martin Luther King led the civil rights movement in the United States.