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Military Spending continues to rise in 2010

Military Spending continues to rise in 2010

The annual SIPRI report (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) shows military spending has set yet another record by reaching $1,630,000,000,000 (1630 billion US dollars) in the year 2010. This is an increase of 1.3 % on last year. Unsurprisingly, the largest increase is the $19.6 billion increase in US military spending. However there are also some interesting regional variations.

Spending in South America and Africa has grown by 5.8 % and 5.2 % respectively bringing their total spending to $63.3 billion and $30.1 billion, whereas in Europe, seemingly due to the economic crisis, there has been a decline in spending of 2.8 % to $382 billion.

The surprising South American increase—a region not currently engaged in any wars—is almost entirely explained by Brazil who spent an extra $2.4 billion compared to the previous years. SIPRI proposes the explanation that, “Brazil is seeking to occupy a greater role in international affairs,” and in order to do this needs to improve her military power. SIPRI also reports the surprising statistic—given the way the Western media portray the President—that Venezuela reduced her military spending by 27 %.

Africa—a region full of conflict—spent $30 billion which is clearly a disgusting sum of money given the state of poverty in which the vast majority of Africans live.

In Asia the biggest increases were in China ($4.4 billion) and Indonesia ($1.3 billion) whereas India spent $1 billion less than the previous year.

In Europe, while spending fell to $382 billion, it is still 11.9 % higher than 2001.

The Middle East is more difficult to estimate but SIPRI suggest a rise of 2.5 % with the biggest increase in Saudi Arabia.

To put all of this into context, the International Peace Bureau estimates that $329 billion per year would be enough to meet the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals which is only 20 % of global military spending. Imagine what we could do to this planet if we could spend 100 % of military spending on other activities?

Further information can be found on the SIPRI website: www.sipri.org