The original definition of first / second / third worlds were NATO / Communist / neither. However, as the Soviet Union disintegrated this definition has become outdated.
Nonetheless, there is still visible segregation, both politically, culturally and economically, between the countries in the original first / second / third world definition. For example, western countries are politically aligned with the U.S. while Russia and China are politically anti-U.S; economically most of the western countries are developed and the ex-Soviet Union countries are still having developing economy; culturally western countries have a relatively high level of English which is preferred in international communication, while ex-Soviet Union countries have generally low command of English and use Russian in international communication.
Moreover, the fact that "Finland / Sweden / Ireland / Switzerland were all third world countries" in the original definition was a joke as all these countries are politically, culturally and economically the same as other European countries, only lacking NATO membership, which can be remedied by expanding the definition of first world countries to include the whole EU/EEA/EFTA as well, because the original definition only considered military alliance, which the absence of NATO membership does not make any country less integrated than the others.
Therefore, can we still define first / second / third-world countries, with the aim of categorise them politically, culturally and economically (all three) according to the similarities inside a certain world using a definition like below:
- Countries which are pro-U.S. and pro-EU, including all NATO countries, U.S. allies, EU / EEA / EFTA members, etc, with a generally developed economy, high level of democracy and freedom, etc. Examples include Japan, Australia, Turkey, Isreal, Taiwan, etc.
- Countries which are anti-U.S., commonly pro-China or pro-Russia, including all CIS countries, commonly with developing economy and an authoritarian regime. Examples include North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, etc.
- All the other countries not particular pro-U.S. / China / Russia, including most Arabic countries.
No matter what the actual definition is, I think it is inappropriate to say Lithuania / Latvia / Estonia / etc., as second world now in 2019 as they are fully integrated into EU and NATO, with developed economy like the rest of Europe, and politically anti-Russia, instead they should now be categorised as first world countries.
Do the above definitions work well if the aim is to categorise the general aspects of the countries involved, not only military but also politically and culturally. Are there any better definitions which serve the purpose better and not referencing the history?