Arms spend­ing up glob­ally, ex­cept in US, W. Europe

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

World mil­i­tary spend­ing was largely un­changed in 2014 as lower spend­ing in the United States and West­ern Europe was matched by in­creases else­where, prompted by con­flicts in the Mid­dle East, Eastern Europe and Africa, an arms watch­dog said Mon­day.

The Stock­holm In­ter­na­tional Peace Re­search In­sti­tute said to­tal global arms ex­pen­di­ture was down 0.4 per­cent at US$1.8 tril­lion.

Amer­i­can spend­ing was re­duced by 6.5 per­cent as part of mea­sures to cut the U.S. bud­get deficit, while the three big­gest arms spenders af­ter the U.S. — China, Rus­sia and Saudi Ara­bia — greatly in­creased their pur­chases. Saudi Ara­bia boosted its mil­i­tary in­vest­ments the most, by 17 per­cent, while China’s arms spend­ing rose by 9.7 per­cent to an es­ti­mated US$216 bil­lion.

SIPRI pro­gram direc­tor Sam Perlo-Free­man said the con­flict in Ukraine has prompted many Euro­pean coun­tries near Rus­sia to in­crease mil­i­tary spend­ing, par­tic­u­larly in cen­tral Europe, the Baltics and the Nordic coun­tries. On the other hand, the five big­gest spenders in West­ern Europe — France, Bri­tain, Ger­many, Italy and Spain — have all bud­geted for fur­ther, small cuts this year.

“The Ukraine cri­sis has fun­da­men­tally al­tered the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Europe, but so far the im­pact on mil­i­tary spend­ing is mostly ap­par­ent in coun­tries bor­der­ing Rus­sia,” he said. “Else­where, aus­ter­ity re­mains the main driver of down­ward spend­ing trends.”

Ukraine in­creased ex­pen­di­ture by over 20 per­cent in 2014 and plans to more than dou­ble spend­ing on the armed forces in 2015. In line with plans made be­fore the Ukraine con­flict Moscow is also spend­ing more on arms this year, the in­sti­tute said in its re­port.

The fast build-up of arms

in ar­eas such as the Mid­dle East and Africa is “plac­ing an in­creas­ingly high bur­den on economies,” Per­loFree­man added.

“Th­ese in­creases partly re­flect wors­en­ing se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tions, but in many cases they are also the prod­uct of cor­rup­tion, vested in­ter­ests and au­to­cratic gov­er­nance,” he said.

In Latin Amer­ica, Mex­ico in­creased its spend­ing by 11 per­cent be­cause of the con­tin­u­ing battle against drug car­tels, with Brazil’s ex­pen­di­ture fall­ing slightly due to eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties. Cri­sis-hit Venezuela had the largest drop in the re­gion, of 34 per­cent.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.