Ours is the greatest country in the world. I would never say that, no matter what country in which I lived.
My reason for this position is that claiming the greatest designation for one’s country automatically indicates that every other country in the world is of lesser quality. For instance, if Canadians were to claim that they live in the greatest country on the planet, they would be telling Americans that they do not have it as good as Canadians. And vice-versa.
It is a good thing to appreciate one’s culture and country. I have no problem whatsoever with one thinking or saying, I live in a great country, or, my country is a wonderful place in which to live. But to claim the greatest status by nature demeans all others.
I live in the United States of America and absolutely say it’s a great place to live. I also lived in Canada for twenty-seven years and found it a great place to live. Both countries on either side of the 49th parallel have their pros and cons, but the citizens of each country can proclaim that it is a great place to live without denigrating the other by boasting best in show.
No doubt the assertion of being the greatest country is often simply a way of expressing appreciation for one’s own nation. I would contend that most users of the phrase are not intentionally demeaning other countries . . . and likely are not conscious of the fact that the wording does just that. But being the species that speaks – words which can enliven or kill – we need to take care in our usage of language.
I like living in the great country of America. I liked living in the great country of Canada. My educated guess is that I would like living in the great country of Norway or Switzerland or New Zealand or . . .