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WASHINGTON consolidated its position as the world’s leading war machine, with a staggering $732 billion of military spending in 2019, 38 per cent of the global total, according to a new report.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) annual evaluation put total global military spending at almost $1.9 trillion (£1.5tn) last year, a rise of 3.6 per cent from the 2018 total.
Spending on war and weapons accounted for 2.2 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) according to the global security organisation’s report. This equates to around $249 (£200) per person.
The rise has been spurred on by the US which expanded spending on war and weapons by 5.3 per cent compared to the previous year.
The 2019 report found that the top military spenders after the US were China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
“The increase in US spending in 2019 alone was equivalent to the entirety of Germany’s military expenditure for that year.
“The recent growth in US military spending is largely based on a perceived return to competition between the great powers,” Sipri senior researcher Peter Wezeman said.
Dr Nan Tian said that weapons expenditure was 7.2 per cent higher than in 2010, indicating that military spending growth has accelerated in recent years.
“This is the highest level of spending since the 2008 global financial crisis and probably represents a peak in expenditure,” he said.
Washington has continued its global belligerence despite the Covid-19 pandemic, mobilising naval warships to the coast of Venezuela and imposing sanctions on a host of countries including Iran.
In March UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire and a pause in conflicts saying “to silence the guns, we must raise the voices for peace.”
But his pleas received only nominal support with battles continuing to rage, particularly in Libya where the international community continues to breach the UN arms embargo.
Many NGOs and social movements are urging world leaders to re-evaluate spending and instead prioritise healthcare, education and the needs of the people over endless war and destruction.
The International Peace Bureau responded to the Sipri report saying: “Indeed, global priorities are wrong; it is time for a new era of peace, a global ceasefire as called for by the UN and people around the globe.
“Let us demilitarise the world and invest in global peace and diplomacy.”
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