ISSN 2330-717X

Global Arms Race Budget Grows – OpEd


By Hassan Beheshtipour

According to a report from Sweden’s Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI) the global military budget has increased in the year 2010.

Accounting for inflation, the report suggests the actual global military expenditure in the year 2010 increased to USD 1.6 trillion.

This budget shows a 1.3 percent increase in global military expenditure even when adjusted for inflation. But overall, considering the recent global economic crisis, the growth rate of the global military budget has decreased. For example, in Europe, where countries are forced to figure a way out of their budget deficits, the military expenditure has fallen by 2.8 percent.

According to the SIPRI report, the US is yet again the unchallenged champion in the military hardware race. The US military budget reached USD 698 billion in the year 2010. In other words, the US accounted for 43 percent of the world’s military expenditure last year. This number is six times higher than China’s expenditure, which stands second after the US. China’s military budget in the year 2010 was USD 119 billion.

Yet, the US military expenditure growth rate declined by 2.8 percent in 2010. This number becomes interesting when you put into consideration the fact that the expenditure was growing at an average rate of 7.8 percent between 2001-2009.

Overall, since 2001, when the war in Afghanistan started, the US military budget has been increasing. It reached its peak by 2003 when the Iraq war began and by the year 2010 the US military budget had recorded an overall 82 percent increase since 2001. It seems this trend will not be changing in the near future.

Based on the SIPRI report, China and other countries in Asia have tried to keep their growth of military expenditure on the same level as their overall economic growth. This is not something the US has put into consideration.

Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the Defense Expenditure Project at SIPRI, said Russia’s military expenditure in 2010 reached USD 58.7 billion, i.e. 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Meaning, Russia is placed fifth behind the US, China, the UK, and France. According to Freeman, when accounted for inflation, Russia’s military expenditure in 2010 recorded a 1.4 percent decrease, which is the first decrease in Russia’s military expenditure since 1998. Russia has said that a severe decline in the country’s economic growth was the main factor behind the decrease.

However, one should not be mislead by the decrease as the country’s actual military expenditure recorded a significant increase over 2009. Considering the seven percent inflation, Russia’s military expenditure increased by 82 percent in ten years (2001) and 186 percent since the year 1998. The rise in Russia’s military expenditure directly reflects a rise in expenditure in other nations such as the US and India even as the country has been faced with economic hardship. Furthermore, Russia is trying to make up for lost ground in military hardware development and seeks to reinstate its global influence.

One can conclude that despite the fact that growth in military logistics and expenditure slowed down in 2010, still the world has experienced a significant increase in actual military spending. This while the US continues to print and distribute US dollars in the global market, without real financial backing, to a point where the US dollar has reached its lowest levels in history.

For example, the people of the world were able to purchase an ounce of gold at USD 850 three years ago, while today, they are forced to spend roughly USD 1,480 for one ounce. It is not clear the US intends on watering down the value of the dollar to sustain its wars in Afghanistan Pakistan, Iraq, and now Libya.

Nowadays, world nations expect the dollars that are being spent on obliterating nations to be spent on feeding and curing people. However, it seems until power dominates the world, people in power will need weapons to defend their unjust rule. Therefore, thinking about a world where military budgets are spent on solving the problems of nations is nothing more than wishful thinking.

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