No region of the world escapes the increase in military spending

The feeling of a general threat hangs over the world, more and more countries have warmongering tendencies and traditional war, called “high intensity”, has reappeared on European soil with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. What could be more logical, then, than global military spending continuing to increase? In 2023, they reached 2,443 billion dollars (2,109 billion euros), or + 6.8% in real terms compared to 2022, says the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) in its annual report, published Monday April 22.

The reference institute, which aggregates armaments, administrative expenses, salaries, social benefits and research and development, emphasizes that it is “largest year-over-year increase since 2009” And “the highest level reached by military budgets in the world”. All five continents are affected. The thirty-one countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alone account for 55% of expenses; the ten biggest spenders – United States and China in the lead – have devoted 1,799 billion dollars to it, 105 billion dollars more than in 2022. Huge in absolute value, these figures must be put into perspective: the effort does not weigh that 2.3% of global gross domestic product (GDP), or “306 dollars per human being”.

It remains that “States give priority to military force, which risks fueling the “action-reaction” spiral in an increasingly unstable geopolitical and security context”, warns Nan Tian, ​​principal researcher of Sipri’s military spending and arms production program. In this context, the power and superiority of the American military-industrial complex cannot be denied. Washington swallowed up $916 billion (+2.3%), or 68% of NATO spending. An effort much greater than that of its partners. It fuels Donald Trump’s acrimony against European countries deemed to be bad payers and his threats to no longer come to their aid.

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“For European NATO states, the last two years of war in Ukraine have fundamentally changed the security outlook”, notes Lorenzo Scarazzato, researcher at Sipri. The indicative rule of 2% of national GDP for defense, set ten years ago, is “increasingly considered as a reference”. Eleven countries have reached or exceeded it, and others are on track to do so.

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