United States Military Spending

Military MadnessAnup Shah, World Military Spending, Global Issues, Updated: May 06, 2012

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few….No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare”
– James Madison, Political Observations, 1795

“…it does not matter if the war is not real, or when it is, that victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous. The essential act of modern warfare is the destruction of the produce of human labor. A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. In principle, the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation.”
– Winston Smith 1984 by George Orwell

What does the United States spend?

In Context: US Military Spending Versus Rest of the World

  • US military spending accounts for 41 percent, or over two-fifths (almost half) of the world’s total military spending
  • US military spending is some 63 times the spending on the six “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) whose spending amounts to just under $11 billion. (Libya has fallen, and Sudan has split into two)
  • US spending is as much as than the next top 14 countries.
  • The United States and its strongest allies (the NATO countries, Japan, South Korea and Australia) spend something in the region of $1.2 trillion on their militaries combined, representing over 70 percent of the world’s total.
  • US military spending is almost 5 times more than China, 10 times more than Russia, and 95 times more than Iran.

The defense budget is only the Pentagon request each Fiscal Year. It does not include nuclear weapons programs from the Department of Energy, or funding for wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

What could be bought for the same amount of money?

Tradeoffs and other possible priorities for money currently spent for the military.

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