Global military spending reached its highest level since the records began two decades ago, according to a new analysis released Monday—an increase led by the United States and China.
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The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) revealed in its latest annual report that countries around the world collectively poured $1.82 trillion into their militaries in 2018, a 2.6 percent rise from the previous year. Together, the top two spenders, the United States and China, accounted for about half of all spending.
“The increase in U.S. spending was driven by the implementation from 2017 of new arms procurement program under the Trump administration,” Aude Fleurant, director of SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure (AMEX) program, said in a statement.
Last year, the U.S. military expenditure—which represents more than a third of global spending—increased for the first time in seven years. It rose by 4.6 percent, hitting $649 billion.
SIPRI researcher Nan Tian told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that trend is expected to continue.
“They have started to implement a new modernization program of the military that will start in 2019 or 2020,” Tian explained. “This is in the region of $1.8 trillion over the next 20 years. It is a massive amount of money being spent by the U.S.—and it ranges from conventional weapons to nuclear capabilities.”
Progressives continue to criticize President Donald Trump for his focus on military spending—particularly in contrast with his lack of investment elsewhere, from education and housing to clean air and water.
Trump’s recent budget proposal “finds vast billions for militarization, while it cuts much smaller poverty and other programs,” Lindsay Koshgarian of the National Priorities Project and Rev. Drs. William J. Barber II and Liz Theoharis wrote for The Guardian last month.
“For too long, we have had budgets that provide security for a wealthy and powerful few rather than the poor and disenfranchised many,” they added, acknowledging previous presidents’ contributions to military expansion. “Real security means establishing peace, justice, and promoting the material wellbeing and liberty of all, including future generations.”
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