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Global military spending reached a post-Cold War high of $1.8 trillion in 2018 according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The Swedish-based think tank has published widely sited global spending numbers since the 1960s. Is the world entering a new era of great power conflict?
The United States (41%) and China (14%) — the world’s two biggest military spenders — played a major role in driving 2018′s spending to new heights. Countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region have taken notice of China’s nearly two decade push and upped their spending.
The U.S. “war on terror” helped increase global spending after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but started to taper off around 2011 as the United States faced internal budget pressures and war fatigue. But in 2018, the U.S. began increasing spending once again as the national security focus shifted from terrorism to the rise of China and resurgence of Russia.
While Russia did not increase spending in 2018, the country did complete an expensive military modernization in 2016. President Vladimir Putin’s snatching of Crimea, the destabilization of Ukraine, and election meddling have also helped push spending up in former Soviet states like Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.
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Why Global Military Spending Is On The Rise
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