US and Europe boost defense spending amid rising tensions with Russia and China

US and Europe boost defense spending amid rising tensions with Russia and China

The US and European countries are increasing their defense budgets as they face growing threats from Russia and China, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The report, released on Friday, shows that global military spending rose by 3.6% in 2023, reaching $2.1 trillion. This was the highest annual increase since 2010, driven mainly by the US and its NATO allies.

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The US remained the world’s largest spender on defense, accounting for 39% of the total. Its military expenditure grew by 5.7% in 2023, reaching $819 billion. This was the third consecutive year of growth, following a decade of decline.

The US ramped up its spending in response to the perceived challenges from Russia and China, as well as the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. The US also increased its support for its allies, such as Taiwan, Ukraine, and the Baltic states, which face pressure from Beijing and Moscow.


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The report notes that the US defense budget for 2024, which was approved by Congress in December, will further boost spending by 6.8%, reaching $875 billion. This includes $28 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a new fund to counter China’s military expansion in the Indo-Pacific region.

Europe also saw a significant rise in defense spending, as NATO members sought to meet the target of spending 2% of their GDP on defense by 2024. The report says that 12 NATO members reached or exceeded this goal in 2023, compared to nine in 2019.

The combined military expenditure of the 27 NATO members in Europe grew by 4.2% in 2023, reaching $286 billion. The largest increases were recorded by Poland (10.8%), Germany (10.4%), and France (8.3%).

A combat vehicle in a factory of German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall in Unterluess, Germany, seen in February 2024. The report attributes the growth in European spending to the deteriorating security situation in the region, especially the escalating tensions with Russia over Ukraine. Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and backs separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, has amassed tens of thousands of troops near the border, raising fears of a possible invasion.

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The report also cites the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exposed the vulnerabilities of the health and social systems in many countries. The report says that some governments have increased their defense spending to stimulate their economies and create jobs, while others have diverted funds from other sectors to cope with the crisis.

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The report warns that the rising military spending could undermine the prospects for peace and cooperation, especially in the face of the global challenges posed by the pandemic, climate change, and poverty.

“The world needs to find a way to reduce military spending and invest more in human security and sustainable development,” said Dr. Nan Tian, a senior researcher at SIPRI. “Otherwise, we risk entering a new arms race that will make the world less safe and less resilient.”

Source : CNN Business

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