Monday, April 28, 2008

The Disarmaments Industry

I think most Americans have a very spotty sense of just how much money they spend on their Weapons of War. Generally, you read stories about China's increase in expenditures or their new training exercises with the Russians, but the stories rarely give you the scale of things. This story is a pretty good example:

Rearming the world
Why nations are suddenly locked in an arms race unseen since the early days of the Cold War
Boston Globe
By Joshua Kurlantzick
April 27, 2008

LAST SUMMER, AS Americans focused on the surge in Iraq, most ignored a military exercise with a potentially more far-reaching impact. In a remote location in the Ural Mountains, Russia, China, and several Central Asian nations gathered for a massive war game, ironically dubbed "Peace Mission 2007."

Thousands of troops, armored vehicles, fighter-bombers, and attack helicopters stormed a town in a mock battle that was supposed to simulate fighting a terrorist takeover. Beneath its antiterror veneer, Peace Mission 2007 was a classic display of military readiness: When it was over, the troops paraded before their assembled defense chiefs, and the whole event laid the groundwork for a closer military alliance among the participating nations.

That such an exercise was held at all might seem shocking. Despite the global war on terrorism, and a steady drumbeat of civil conflicts, no war involving a major power like Russia has occurred in decades, and no external enemy threatens any of the Central Asian nations.

But the exercise highlighted an alarming new reality. With much less fanfare than the early days of the Cold War, the world is entering a new arms race, and with it, a dangerous new web of military relationships.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks international armed forces spending, between 1997 and 2006 global military expenditures jumped by nearly 40 percent. clip

Much of this new arms spending is concentrated among the world's biggest consumers of resources, which are trying to protect their access to energy, and the biggest producers of resources, which are taking advantage of their new wealth to build up their defenses at a rate that would have been unthinkable for a developing country until recently." more

The article goes on, but it's remarkably free of actual numbers. The author quotes from the SIPRI site, but he doesn't give the reader a feel for the conclusions he is making. No where does the article speak of the 1.2 trillion the world now spends.

Yes, the world's biggest consumer country (USA) does spend a lot on weapons of war.

Like about 623 billion dollars.

Russia and China spend about 1/6 of that combined.

And of the so called big producer countries, our ally, the Saudis, now spend almost 20 billion. But Venezuela only spends about 1.6 billion. Mexico spends about 6 billion and Nigeria spends not quite a billion.

Our new mortal enemy that must be crushed, Iran, spends a little over 4 billion.

As you might imagine, the good old US of A is also the largest exporter of weapons. And most of our allies are in the top ten.

It is true though.

At a time when humanity should be investing in advanced photon to electron materials, and high speed rail, and new ways to feed, educate, and empower ourselves, we are instead, investing in the weapons that will bring misery and destruction to us all.

Today's present day armaments industry must become

a disarmaments industry.

We must invest in the tools of peace


Or we will be consumed by these Masters of War


Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. Dwight Eisenhower

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Blogger Charlie Loving said...

The M-4 carbine by Colt Arms cost $1,500. An Ak-47 cost around $60.00

3:56 PM  

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