Military spending worldwide increased in 2009 to an estimated $1.53 trillion, despite the global economic crisis, according to a report published Wednesday by a Swedish think tank.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimates that spending increased nearly 6 percent from 2008 and nearly 50 percent since 2000. The figures were published in the SIPRI’s 2010 edition of its Yearbook on Armaments, Disarmament and International Security.
According to the report, the United States, with a real-terms increase of $47 billion, accounted for just over half of the world increase in military spending. Sixty-five percent of the other countries for which data was available also increased military spending in 2009. Asia and the islands in the Pacific Ocean showed the greatest spending increase at 8.9 percent.
“Many countries were increasing public spending generally in 2009, as a way of boosting demand to combat the recession. Although military spending wasn’t usually a major part of the economic stimulus packages, it wasn’t cut either,” explains Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the Military Expenditure Project at SIPRI. “The figures also demonstrate that for major or intermediate powers such as the USA, China, Russia, India and Brazil military spending represents a long-term strategic choice which they are willing to make even in hard economic times.”
However, smaller countries in Central and Eastern Europe, struggling to reduce their deficits, cut military spending, the BBC reports
. The news outlet also reports that “when measured as a proportion of GDP, military expenditure is greater in the Middle East than anywhere else in the world.”
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