Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Jason Ditz — Russia’s Military Spending Declines; US Now a Third of Global Spending

Worldwide military spending was slightly up over the last year, with the US amounting to more than a third (35%) of global military spending.
Russia’s Military Spending Declines; US Now a Third of Global Spending
Jason Ditz


Konrad said...

If Russia spends less on its military, this does not necessarily mean that Russia is shrinking its military. The amount of a nation’s military spending does not automatically translate into the size or effectiveness of a nation’s military.

In the USA, much of the trillion-dollar outlay each year is stolen by weapons makers who stretch out program delays and cost overruns as long as they can. Endless dollars are sucked up by senior executives at military contractors.

Because of this theft, the USA is able to slaughter defenseless civilians abroad, but the USA could not prevail in a major war against a major power.

Saudi Arabia’s military spending is not in Saudi riyals, but in foreign currencies such as U.S. dollars. U.S. weapons makers want to be paid dollars in return for the trash (e.g. Patriot missiles) that they sell to the Saudis. The Saudis get dollars (and other foreign currencies) by selling oil.

Therefore when Russia talks about cutting its military spending, I must ask, “Cuts in what currency? Rubles? Or in foreign currency?”

If Russia means it plans to spend less of its foreign currency reserves on the Russian military, this means that Russia wants to make its military stronger by making it more self-sufficient.

However, if Russia means that it plans to spend fewer rubles on its military, then we need more information before we can deduce the purpose for the cuts.

Jason Ditz concludes his post with this: “Russia is clearly moving toward a more defensive footing, and pocketing the savings.”

Again, if Russian cuts mean cuts in rubles, then there are no “savings” involved, since the Russian government has has no need to “save” rubles.

We need more information before we can understand the meaning of these Russian "cuts."

Michael Norman said...

Another dumb move by Putin. Cutting military spending at a time when the U.S. and NATO want to destroy you as never before. And what is Putin spending money on? Gold. What an idiot.

Noah Way said...

Russia was bankrupted by the Cold War - it collapsed due to indirect economic attrition. They learned from the experience and developed what are apparently highly-efficient cost-effective weapons systems to counter the US. The competition is not who has the most expensive shit (which the US wins every time, even though it reall is shit).

Noah Way said...

Also US military spending is closer to half of global military spending, and the US remains the world's largest arms supplier.

Tom Hickey said...

Neither Russia or China are interested in developing offensive capability, especially offensive capability on at least two fronts and several minor areas simultaneously.

The military objectives the US and those of Russia and China are entirely different, and so are their strategies.

The Russian and Chinese strategy is to build weapons to counter American strength in order to raise the expense of attacking them to an unacceptable level, like MAD.

Both are using an asymmetrical approach. The US military structure has weak links that can be identified and exploited technologically, and both Russia and China are focused on that — EW and anti-sattelite capability to counter the weakest point in the US system, command and control, and also developing hypersonic weapons like "carrier killers" to deprive the US of control of the sea.

Plus, the costs are not comparable in currencies. It's not possible to judge the relative effectiveness of the spending by dollar amounts.

It's expensive running an empire both financially and in real terms. While affordability is not an issue with the US, allocation of funds is a political issue. Committing personnel and tech to military use also deprives those resources to domestic use. Moreover, military spending is economically unproductive. The people of a country are no better off economically in real terms and may be less well off depending on the resources converted to military use.

There are many other issue involved in empire that US has to deal with but not Russia or China. Russia and China just have to outlast the US, and they know it. But if the US crosses red lines.….

Tom Hickey said...

Also US military spending is closer to half of global military spending, and the US remains the world's largest arms supplier.

Right. A lot of military-related spending is black. Military spending should also include paramilitary operations like the operational arm of the CIA.

Noah Way said...

And export sales ...