World military spending falls, but China, Russia’s spending rises, says SIPRI

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on April 14, 2013

News release: “World military expenditure totalled $1.75 trillion in 2012, a fall of 0.5 per cent in real terms since 2011, according to figures released today by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible here. The fall—the first since 1998—was driven by major spending cuts in the USA and Western and Central Europe, as well as in Australia, Canada and Japan. The reductions were, however, substantially offset by increased spending in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America. China, the second largest spender in 2012, increased its expenditure by 7.8 per cent ($11.5 billion). Russia, the third largest spender, increased its expenditure by 16 per cent ($12.3 billion). Despite the drop, the global total was still higher in real terms than the peak near the end of the cold war. ‘We are seeing what may be the beginning of a shift in the balance of world military spending from the rich Western countries to emerging regions, as austerity policies and the drawdown in Afghanistan reduce spending in the former, while economic growth funds continuing increases elsewhere,’ said Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman, Director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. ‘However, the USA and its allies are still responsible for the great majority of world military spending. The NATO members together spent a trillion dollars…In 2012 the USA’s share of world military spending went below 40 per cent for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. A declining trend that began in 2011 accelerated in 2012, with a drop in US military spending of 6 per cent in real terms to $682 billion.”

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