Tuesday, June 13, 2006

SIPRI (part1) The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute REPORT

The media have barely mentioned the annual report of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) that just came out. It is very interesting to browse through it, however.
Here are some worth-mentioning figuress:

World military expenditure in 2005 is estimated to have reached $1118 billion in current dollars. This corresponds to 2.5 % of world GDP or an average spending of $173 per person.

World military expenditure in 2005 presents

  • a real terms increase of 3.4 % since 2004,
  • and a real term increase of 34 % over the 10-year period 1996–2005.

The USA, responsible for about 80% of the increase in 2005 (attributable to the ongoing costly military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.) is the principal determinant of the current world trend. Its military spending represents 48 % of the world total, distantly followed by the UK, France, Japan and China with 4–5% each.

On the good news front, there has steady decline in the number of conflicts since 1999, and the figure for 2005 is the lowest for the entire post-cold war period. In fact there are no active interstate conflicts in 2005.

When the report was mentioned at all in the press, those were the figures that were given, but there are more interesting numbers, analyses and estimates in the report that were strangely not much present in the news:

The global downward trend in international transfers of major weapons was reversed in 2003. Since then there has been an increase in the volume of major arms transfers as reflected. The five largest suppliers in the period 2001–2005 were Russia, the USA, France, Germany and the UK and they accounted for over 80% of total deliveries. The report ranks:

  • Russia in the first place with $26.9 billion in exports,
  • the United States in second place with $25.9 billion
  • France in third place with $6.3 billion,
  • Germany in fourth with $4.8 billion
  • Great Britain in fifth with $4.4 billion in exports.

In the period 2001–2005, 43 % of Russia’s deliveries went to China and 25 % to India and the four largest recipients of US exports in 2001–2005 were Greece, Israel, the UK and Egypt, in that order.

I haven’t seen this in the French or the American news – although, strangely enough some Russian media have mentioned it (see here). You’d think that the other two major providers of weapons – which are democracies by the way - would report the news. Most French media (see here or here for instance) did report of course that about half of military spending in the world comes from the US, but they failed to mention France's rank in selling weapons. Granted France is far behind Russia and the US but fair news would require mentioning it nonetheless.

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