According to the latest report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the global defense spending has increased and this is the first time it has happened since 2011.
The United States is on the top of the list, just like we suspected with a military spending of $611 billion. This figure is 36 percent of the total global spending and it is 3 times the amount spent by China, which is in the second place. After China comes Russia with a spending of $69.2 billion.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia was the 3rd largest military spender but this year, it has dropped to 4th position. Due to tensions with Russia, the military spending in the Western Europe has increased by 2.4 percent. The most noticeable increase was seen in the spending of Italy, which is 11 percent to be precise.
The defense of society is among the primary functions of a country’s government. The government works on the behalf of the general public to ensure the military is resourced enough to defend the nation. Defense spending is higher today than any time in the past ever since the outrage of the World War Two.
Military Spending by Country
The world military expenditure has risen consecutively for the second year to a total of 1686 billion dollars in 2016. Spending in Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Oceania and North Africa continued to grow. On the other hand, the spending in the Middle East, Caribbean, South America, Central America and the sub-Saharan Africa fell. Let’s have a closer look on the increase in the spending of each nation.
The United States continues to take the lead followed by China, Russia and Saudi Arabia
The United States’ military expenditure grew by 1.7% between 2015 and 2016. China experienced 5.4% increase in its military expenditure. This growth, however, is lower as compared to the previous year. Russia, on the other hand, increased its military expending by 5.9% which makes it the third largest spender. In 2015, this position was held by Saudi Arabia but the country has dropped to 4th position in 2016. Saudi Arabia’s spending fell by 30% despite the fact that the nation is continuously involved in regional wars. India increased its military expenditure this year too by 8.5%, which makes it the 5th largest spender.
As the US has increased its military expenditure, chances are the decreasing trend of global military spending will end. This trend was the result of economic crisis and the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the US military spending was still 20% lower than what they used to be in 2010. Due to the change in the political situation of the USA, the future of its military spending patterns remains uncertain.
Military spending in Europe show a steady rise
It is the second consecutive year that the military expenditure in Western Europe has increased. In 2016, 2.6% increase was seen. The most notable increase recorded in the spending of military was 11% from 2015 to 2016. Many countries in Central Europe have increased their military spending between the period of 2015 and 2016 and that’s majority because of the Russian threats.
Oil-exporting countries and their reduced military budget
Many of the oil-exporting countries have cut their military budget. That’s probably because of the falling oil revenue and economic problems related to oil price shock. Saudi Arabia is one of these countries. Other countries that reduced their military spending include Venezuela, Iraq, South Sudan, Azerbaijan, Oman, Kazakhstan, Peru, Mexico and Ecuador. Countries such as Norway, Kuwait, Algeria and Iran are better equipped economically so the oil price shocks did not stop them from increasing their military budget.
Summary of the world military spending as per the stats of 2016
- In 2016, the world military spending accounted for 2.2% of the global Gross Domestic Product. The highest share came from the Middle East.
- The military spending in Africa fell by 1.3% in 2016 particularly because of the reduction in oil revenue of most of the oil exporting countries.
- Spending in Oceania and Asia increased by 4.6% because of tensions in certain regions over the territorial rights in the South China Sea.
- A substantial increase was seen in the spending of Kuwait and Iran whereas, a substantial decrease was seen in the spending of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The data for some countries in the Middle East such as UAE, Syria, QatarYemen and, Lebanonis unavailable for now.
Overall, there is an increasing trend in the defense spending in most of the countries. It seems like actors do not want to rely on diplomacy or international institutions, instead, they want to be self-sufficient in protecting themselves.
Wars in the Middle East, tensions in the South China Sea and the annexation of Crimea in Russia are continuously increasing conflicts between nations. Countries also don’t have much confidence in the work of defense done by most of the international organizations. This has forced them to fend for themselves and hence, they are investing to increase their national armies. The countries that already have massive defense budgeting are following this trend heavily. For most of the European countries, Russia is a big threat. However, there is very little proof that supports the fact that increased defense spending actually increases the stability of a country. It is unfortunate that no nation is paying attention to this phenomenon.
At the time when global tensions are rising, it is never easy to convince countries to reduce their military spending. The countries that are vulnerable the most are never willing to realize that there is opportunity cost involved in the current level of their military spending.
Here is a list of countries organized by their military expenditure for 2016:
|Countries||Expense in Billion Dollars||%Share of total expenditure|