Democratic Ratings of Countries in Our News

Democratic Ratings of Countries in Our News

In our dealings with key countries now, it is important to have a sense of how they rate as democracies.  I also started on this to consider how we will be rated now that we are slipping in checks and balances.  But the ratings are only made yearly.

We use the Democracy Index in Wikipedia formed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.  They use a scale of 1-10, and separately rate on five elements of Democracy:  Electoral process and pluralism (E); Functioning of government; Political participation; Political culture; and Civil Liberties (CL).

Countries with an index s > 8 are labeled Full Democracies.  Those with 6<s<8 are Flawed Democracies.  Those with 4<s<6 are labeled Hybrid Regimes, and those with s<4 are Authoritative Regimes.

Let’s start at the bottom of 167 countries rated:

167 North Korea 1.08;  E 0; CL 1.08.

This really emphasizes what a sad dictatorship this is.  I know that Trump is just buttering up Kim Jung Un with fake love as he has done all his life to make a sale.  And Kim knows it.

166 Syria 1.43; E 0; CL 0.  We were only involved here to wipe out ISIS.  Russia and Iran had to move in to save the small Assad regime.

159 Saudi Arabia 1.93; E 0; CL 1.47.  This is really embarrassing that Trump is backing them and even tried to help them cover up the Khashoggi murder.  The Senate passed a resolution to cut off military aid to Saudi Arabia over the war in Yemen, and Trump just vetoed it.

158 Yemen 1.95, plus a tragic proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

150 Iran 2.45; CL 1.47.  I agree with Trump, lets hope we don’t have to go to war here, despite our breaking the non-proliferation treaty with them, despite our sanctions on them, and despite our forcing other nations not to deal with them.  Iranian oil output has dropped from 3.2 million barrels a day to less than 1 million.  That’s a $60 billion a year loss, out of a GDP now of $334 billion.

144 Russia 2.94; E 2.17; CL 3.24.  Trump’s true love.  I think that interfering in elections in many different countries has to be counted negatively in another category.  And not recognizing and halting such interference has to count against Trump and America.

134 Venezuela 3.16; E 1.67; CL 3.53.  Between Russia and China, hardly a good place.

130 China 3.32; E 0; CL 1.47.  And Trump was admiring Paramount Leader Xi Jinping for giving himself a lifetime tenure.

114 Iraq 4.06; E 4.95; CL 3.82.  Crossing 4.0 means that they are a Hybrid Regime.  Costly leadership changes don’t always lead to Democracies.

71 Mexico 6.19 made Flawed Democracy.

50 Brazil 6.97, but an environmentally unfriendly nationalistic government now.

30 Israel 7.79, but now factor in Trump’s interference in their election.

25 United States 7.96.  Still not a Full Democracy.  We have to defend this against serious slippage this year.

21 South Korea 8.00, made Full Democracy.

6 Canada 9.15, and no border wall between us.

1 Norway 9.87, listed just to give them credit and show that it can be done.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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