“World military expenditure totalled $1.75 trillion in 2013, a fall of 1.9 per cent in real terms since 2012, according to figures released [April 14, 2014] by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible from today at www.sipri.org. The fall in the global total comes from decreases in Western countries, led by the United States, and despite increases in all other regions. In fact, military spending in the rest of the world excluding the USA increased by 1.8 per cent. The next three highest spenders—China, Russia and Saudi Arabia—all made substantial increases, with Saudi Arabia leapfrogging the United Kingdom, Japan and France to become the world’s fourth largest military spender. China, Russia and Saudi Arabia are among the 23 countries around the world that have more than doubled their military expenditure since 2004. The fall in US spending in 2013, by 7.8 per cent, is the result of the end of the war in Iraq, the beginning of the drawdown from Afghanistan, and the effects of automatic budget cuts passed by the US Congress in 2011. Meanwhile, austerity policies continued to determine trends in Western and Central Europe and in other Western countries. ‘The increase in military spending in emerging and developing countries continues unabated,’ said Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman, Director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure Programme. ‘While in some cases it is the natural result of economic growth or a response to genuine security needs, in other cases it represents a squandering of natural resource revenues, the dominance of autocratic regimes, or emerging regional arms races.’
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