Accessibility Tools


    Breadcrumbs is yous position

    Military spending and arms trade

    Military spending and arms trade

    Global military spending in 2023 exceeded 2500 billion dollars. Strongly increasing for over 9 consecutive years. How many good things could be done, for the good of all, with over 2500 billion dollars?

    To save on military expenses, the only banal but effective solution is to eliminate the need for such expenses. Eliminating the danger of possible military conflicts, thanks to an international agreement, "obliging" all countries, and all populations of the earth, to respect each other. DirectDemocracyS has many initiatives ready to change and improve the world.

    The next problem will be to spend all the money saved thanks to our work in the right way. It must be avoided that a few "smart" people take away economic and financial resources from many needy people.

    The production and trade of weapons.

    Let's be clear, the visible, declared, documented and "legal" part of these productions and trades represent only a small percentage of the large productions and the enormous illegal arms trafficking, but even if partial, these data should make us think.

    For example, in the world, almost 15 billion bullets are produced every year. We have about one and a half each. Should this scare us? No, it should make us all work together to change and improve the situation.

    But let's look at some recent data.

    The volume of international transfers of major arms in the five-year period 2018-2022 was 5.1% lower than in 2013-17 and 3.9% lower than in 2008-12. The volume of transfers in 2018-22 was among the highest since the end of the Cold War, but was still about 35% lower than the totals in 1978-82 and 1983-87, when arms transfers reached the peak. Arms purchases by states, often from foreign suppliers, are largely driven by armed conflicts and political tensions. There are strong indications that tensions are rising in many regions, particularly in Europe following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and it seems highly likely that there will be greater demand for major weapons in the coming years, much of which will be satisfied by international transfers.

    The trend of major arms transfers, 1955-2022


    Major weapons suppliers

    SIPRI identified 63 states as major arms exporters in 2018-22, but most are minor exporters. The 25 largest suppliers accounted for 98% of the total export volume and the 5 largest suppliers in the period – United States, Russia, France, China and Germany – accounted for 76% of the total export volume.

    Since 1950 the United States and Russia (or the Soviet Union before 1992) have been by far the largest suppliers. However, in 2018-2022 the United States consolidated its position as the world's largest arms supplier, and the gap between it and Russia widened. In 2018-22, US arms exports increased 14% compared to 2013-17, and their share of the global total increased from 33 to 40%. In contrast, Russia's arms exports fell by 31 percent and its share of the global total fell from 22 to 16 percent. Known plans for future deliveries clearly indicate that the gap between the United States and Russia will widen and that, within a few years, Russia may no longer be the second largest arms supplier.

    Arms exports from France, the third-largest supplier, grew by 44% between 2013-17 and 2018-22, while exports from China and Germany fell by 23% and 35% respectively.

    Major gun importers

    SIPRI identified 167 states as major arms importers in 2018-2022. The five largest arms importers were India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia and China, which together accounted for 36% of total arms imports. The region that received the largest volume of major arms imports in 2018-2022 was Asia and Oceania, accounting for 41% of the global total, followed by the Middle East (31%), Europe (16 %), from the Americas (5.8%) and from Africa (5.0%). Between 2013-17 and 2018-22, the flow of weapons to Europe (+47%) increased, while flows to Africa (-40%), the Americas (-21%), the Middle East (-8.8%) and Asia and Oceania (-7.5%) decreased. Many of the 167 importers are directly involved in armed conflicts or tensions with other states in which the main imported weapons play an important role. Many of the exporters are directly interested in or participants in at least some of the conflicts and tensions, which partly explains why they are willing to supply weapons, even when the offer appears to contradict their stated policies on arms exports.

    The financial value of states' arms exports

    While SIPRI data on arms transfers do not represent their financial value, many arms exporting states publish figures on the financial value of their arms exports. Based on this data, SIPRI estimates that the total value of the global arms trade was at least $127 billion in 2021 (the most recent year for which financial data is available), up from $95 billion (in constant 2021 US dollars) in 2012. The total value of arms trade in 2021 was approximately 0.5% of the total value of global international trade in 2021.

    World arms exports, boom in Italy (+84%) and France (+47%).

    A first analysis of the data collected by Sipri in Stockholm in the period 2018-2023. The US lead is confirmed and increased, while France jumps to second place in the global ranking. Record growth for Italy with Leonardo. Saudi Arabia is the first arms importing country. In second place there was a notable increase in Qatar (+396%). In Asia, Japan's imports jumped (+185%).

    The Russian attack on Ukraine in 2022 and the prolongation of the conflict have affected not only international relations, but also the world economy, in particular that of war industries and trade in their products, i.e. weapons and ammunition.

    A very recent report from the prestigious Swedish institute Sipri (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) provides an update on the arms market, which is obviously being affected by the ongoing war in Europe. Strange as it may seem, between 2014-2018 and 2019-23 the world trade of major weapons systems (ships, aircraft, armored vehicles, etc.) decreased slightly by 3.3%, also connected to the reduction in imports from Africa (in particular Algeria and Morocco) and Latin America.

    In this context, United States arms exports grew by 17% between 2014-2018 and 2019-23, while those of Moscow halved, given that Russian national production is concentrated above all on supplying its forces armies engaged in war.

    In fact, for the first time in recent history, Russia has been relegated to third place (traditionally it was always in second place), now occupied by France. The conflict, on the other hand, caused European states to almost double their arms imports (+94%) between 2014-18 and 2019-23.

    In the last five years, the flow towards Asia, Oceania and the Middle East has increased, where nine of the ten largest arms importers are located.

    It is interesting to note that approximately 55% of European arms imports in 2019-2023 come from the USA, compared to 35% in 2014-2018, highlighting not only the strengthening of the political, military and industrial link with the country overseas, but also the increased dependence on Washington.

    Many of the Eastern European countries, after having supplied Ukraine with their Soviet-era armaments, are modernizing their arsenals with products made in the USA. At the same time, Europe as a whole is responsible for a third of world exports.

    The United States is in first place among exporters globally with a share of 42% in the five-year period 2019-23, while in the 2014-2018 period it was 34%, supplying 107 states with an unmatched historical record.

    According to SIPRI, the US and Western European states together accounted for 72% of all arms exports in 2019-2023, up from 62% in 2014-2018.

    The second exporter, France, saw its turnover increase (+47%) between 2014-2018 and 2019-23, directing 42% of its goods towards Asian states (in particular 'India with almost 30%) and Oceania, while 34% towards the Middle East.

    Russia, on the other hand, continues to see a decrease in its exports (-53% between 2014-2018 and 2019-23), as also confirmed by the numerical decline of its customers: 31 states in 2019, only 12 in 2023. However, even for Moscow's main recipient area is Asia and Oceania, which received 68% of total Russian arms exports in 2019-23 (34% destined for India and 21% for China).

    After the first three (United States, France and Russia), only two recorded an increase in exports: Italy (+86%) and South Korea (+12%), while for the other five of the top ten there was a decrease: China (-5.3%), Germany (-14%), United Kingdom (-14%), Spain (-3.3%) and Israel (-25%).

    Obviously, the import of weapons by European states grew by 94% in 2019-23 compared to 2014-2018, given that Ukraine became the largest European importer of weapons in 2019-2023 and the fourth in the world, supplied by at least 30 states after the Russian invasion since February 2022.

    Globally, 37% of arms exports in 2019-23 went to Asia and Oceania (confirming the growing tensions taking place in the area), although there was a slight decline compared to 41%. in 2014-2018.

    The major exporters in the area are the United States (with 34% of total exports in that quadrant), Russia (19%) and China (13%).

    Here, India (+4.7% between 2014-2018 and 2019-23) and Pakistan (+43%) increased their arms imports, 82% of which were supplied by China. Other significant increases were recorded in Japan (155%) and South Korea (6.5%), confirming the difficult relations with Beijing.

    The Middle East, historically always a "hot" area, continues to receive around a third of world exports, in particular Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt.

    Saudi Arabia is the second largest arms importer in the world in 2019-2023 (with 8.4% of global imports), while Qatar almost quadrupled its imports (+396%) between 2014-2018 and 2019-23, becoming the world's third-largest arms importer in 2019-23, while Egypt is seventh.

    The largest suppliers are, in order, the United States (52%), France (12%), Italy (10%) and Germany (7.1%). African countries are bucking the trend, recording a 52% decrease in their imports between 2014-2018 and 2019-23, a significant figure.

    It is no coincidence that, following tensions, wars and financial allocations from governments (including the EU), the share value of war industries has increased significantly in the last two years (that of Leonardo has doubled in ten months!).

    Certainly, the events in Gaza and the further expansion of the conflict (Lebanon, Syria, Red Sea) are acting as a further stimulus to the production of munitions weapons, in the context of an international policy that seems to know only the muscular way of weapons and to have completely forgotten that of diplomacy and dialogue.

    Mutual fear, lack of respect and lack of trust makes few people gain from the death, wounds, pain of many people and the destruction of entire countries. By remaining passive spectators, all of us are guilty and complicit in every single suffering and destruction. The only hope for a different, and certainly better, world is to all come together and work actively in DirectDemocracyS. Because sooner or later, war and destruction arrive in every part of the world, and only with our prevention rules can any possible conflict be avoided.

    Add comment

    Before submitting the comment, you agree that:

    a. To accept full responsibility for the comment that you submit.
    b. To use this function only for lawful purposes.
    c. Not to post defamatory, abusive, offensive, racist, sexist, threatening, vulgar, obscene, hateful or otherwise inappropriate comments, or to post comments which will constitute a criminal offense or give rise to civil liability.
    d. Not to post or make available any material which is protected by copyright, trade mark or other proprietary right without the express permission of the owner of the copyright, trade mark or any other proprietary right.
    e. To evaluate for yourself the accuracy of any opinion, advice or other content.

    Security code Refresh


    Donation PayPal in USD

    Blog Welcome Module

    Discuss Welcome

    Donation PayPal in EURO

    For or against the death penalty?

    For or against the death penalty?
    • Votes: 0%
    • Votes: 0%
    • Votes: 0%
    Icon loading polling
    Total Votes:
    First Vote:
    Last Vote:

    Mailing subscription form

    Blog - Categories Module

    Chat Module

    Login Form 2

    Offcanvas menu

    Cron Job Starts