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World is arming again: US magazine

Increased funding for the armed forces has been compounded by the war [in Ukraine], but is based on a pre-existing trend, the “Foreign Affairs” magazine wrote, listing Poland among the countries increasing arms spending and modernising the military.

“From 1999, global military spending began to rise as the world abandoned the optimistic viewpoint characteristic of the post-Cold War period,” the magazine pointed out. “Since 2000, Russia has been spending heavily in an attempt to restore the lost military greatness of the Soviet Union.”

As it added, citing the the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute SIPRI, “the US gradually increased its defence spending after September 11, 2001, Europe’s military spending remained stagnant for longer, but many of the continent’s countries began modernisation and expansion campaigns after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and over the past 30 years, China has increased its military spending more than any other country in the world.”

The authors noted that a significant percentage of the world’s wealth is located in the military, reporting that in 2021, 2.2 percent of global GDP was spent on the armed forces.

“The increase in spending is particularly evident in Europe. The continent cut defence spending after the collapse of the Soviet Union and it remained stagnant for decades to come, but when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the Old Continent began to rearm regularly,” they wrote.

Military spending in Europe in 2020.

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) July 22, 2022

Russia, on the other hand, has long invested in its military, according to the authors. “One of Vladimir Putin’s main policy goals is to halt post-Cold War cuts to armed forces spending, and since his election as president in 2000 (…) the country’s military spending has increased almost continuously.”

On top of that, according to Foreign Affairs, China’s expansion has prompted neighbouring countries, such as Japan and Australia, to spend more on their own armed forces.

“Countries may need to strengthen their forces to respond to the threat posed by Russia, but over-armament may worsen the period of uncertainty while taking away funds that could be spent on other needs,” the magazine concluded.

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