Military spending in North America saw its first annual increase since 2010, while spending in Western Europe grew for the second consecutive year.
World military expenditure rose for a second consecutive year to a total of $1686 billion in 2016—the first consecutive annual increase since 2011 when spending reached its peak of $1699 billion.* Trends and patterns in military expenditure vary considerably between regions. Spending continued to grow in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe and North Africa. By contrast, spending fell in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East (based on countries for which data is available), South America and sub-Saharan Africa.
US was responsible for 82% of all $188 billion in global weapons exports (by value, in 2014 dollars).
Top weapons exporters by value:
EU states: $15B
State Dept WMEAT, Table III
The Pentagon repeatedly denied that launch-on-warning was American policy, claiming that it was simply one of many options for the President to consider. A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.
According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.
I don’t think there’s much question about it. Even if they think it’s unlikely, Russia thinks war is possible enough that steps are required.
Citing routine drills, Russia has even moved missiles within striking range of NATO targets, into the Kaliningrad enclave bordering Poland and Lithuania.
Meanwhile, CNN informs us that:
“Moscow abruptly left a nuclear security pact, citing U.S. aggression, and moved nuclear-capable Iskandar missiles to the edge of NATO territory in Europe. Its officials have openly raised the possible use of nuclear weapons.”
Retired Army Gen. Richard Cody, a vice president at L-3 Communications, the seventh largest U.S. defense contractor, explained to shareholders in December that the industry was faced with a historic opportunity. Following the end of the Cold War, Cody said, peace had “pretty much broken out all over the world,” with Russia in decline and NATO nations celebrating. “The Wall came down,” he said, and “all defense budgets went south.”
Now, Cody argued, Russia “is resurgent” around the world, putting pressure on U.S. allies. “Nations that belong to NATO are supposed to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “We know that uptick is coming and so we postured ourselves for it.”
An extraordinary demarche came at the weekend from the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper, he accused Nato – an alliance, lest we forget, of which Germany is a member – of “sabre-rattling and war-mongering” by staging military manoeuvres close to Russia’s borders. This, he said, was not the way to treat Russia; it was time to restart dialogue.
At the start of 2016 nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea—possessed approximately 4,120 operationally deployed nuclear weapons. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possessed a total of approximately 15,395 nuclear weapons compared with 15,850 in early 2015 (see table 1).
The majority went to Asia and to the crisis region of the Middle East. Between the Persian Gulf and the Bosphorus, imports of heavy weapons – the SIPRI report is concerned only with these – rose by 61 percent. Between 2011 and 2015, India was the only country to import more weapons that Saudi Arabia – a land with just 30 million inhabitants. Compared with 2006–2010, the oil sheikhdom’s arms purchases have almost trebled. Number four in the list of the biggest importers of arms is the United Arab Emirates, with a population of barely five million. Turkey is number six.
This is such a serious problem to consider and prevent. The article is worth reading whole.
Let’s imagine a hypothetical scenario in which an imaginary country—we’ll call it Country X—that the U.S. is ostensibly at peace with after decades of tension also happens to have the nuclear capability to destroy the world as we know it. Engaging in respectful dialogue and making compromises on both sides could result in a global coalition with the power to defeat ISIS. Yet rather than choosing this option, the U.S. considers imposing harsh sanctions on Country X to weaken its already struggling economy, and then proposes stationing troops on Country X’s borders. All this despite the fact that if Country X’s economy or government collapses, the world security order would be thrown into even greater chaos. Now substitute “Russia” for “Country X.”
“In the U.S., there is almost no real, serious public debate about this gravest of international crises,” said Katrina vandal Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation Continue reading
The central nuclear observation of the report is thatNATO nuclear forces do not have much credibility in protecting the Baltic States against a Russian attack.
That conclusion is, to say the least, interesting given the extent to which some analysts and former/current officials have been arguing that NATO/US need to have more/better limited regional nuclear options to counter Russia in Europe. Continue reading
Tests of how Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 will perform in combat won’t begin until at least August 2018, a year later than planned, and more than 500 of the fighter jets may be built before the assessment is complete, according to the Pentagon’s test office.
“These aircraft will require a still-to-be-determined list of modifications” to be fully capable, Michael Gilmore, the U.S. Defense Department’s top weapons tester, said in his annual report on major programs. “However, these modifications may be unaffordable for the services as they consider the cost of upgrading these early lots of aircraft while the program continues to increase production rates in a fiscally constrained environment.” Continue reading
“It’s a great airplane and very dangerous, especially if they make a lot of them,” one senior U.S. military official with extensive experience on fifth-generation fighters told me some time ago. “I think even an AESA [active electronically scanned array-radar equipped F-15C] Eagle and [Boeing F/A-18E/F] Super Hornet would both have their hands full.”
The Syrian deployment will allow the Russian air force to gain valuable operational experience on the Su-35 — even if four warplanes don’t add a decisive material value to the fight.
During the 1980s, the Cold War and the global nuclear arms race propelled total military spending in the world higher than ever before. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the idea of the “peace dividend” got hold and for a short while, it did indeed look like that was where the world was going and that global military spending would gradually normalise to a much lower level, appropriate for a reduced-conflict, non-confrontational, uni-polar world. The two biggest spenders saw the biggest drop in their spending. Russia simply could not afford the Soviet level of spending after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and its economy went from crisis to crisis, further diminishing their ability to spend. In the United States, without any notable enemy and significant military threats to their national security, military spending gradually came down while the economy boomed. It came down to the lowest point in recent history in the middle of the Clinton years. Since the USA is the largest military spending nation by far (accounting more than one thirds), it coincided with the lowest point in global military spending too.
This is probably oversimplified, but Yang is certainly an influential individual in the development of China’s modern military aircraft. Beckhusen argues that Yang has basically invented the Chinese evolutionary approach to designing and building combat aircraft. Instead of designing and building a brand-new aircraft from scratch, it “borrows” from other countries’ design, integrate some imported and/or indigenous technology, and produces it at a fraction of the price.
Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014, about 35 percent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found.
The first development which has to be pointed out is the fact that the total sales of the world’s top 100 arms producing companies are quite stable. They have gone down a bit over the past two years, but not that much. We are also seeing a more regional, or more national development – and one of them is very clear: Russian companies have seen a very steep increase in their total sales. So, the companies in the top 100 based in Russia have increased their revenues from 2013 to 2014 by almost 50 percent. That is a very significant change. By contrast, there was a fall in revenues of companies in the US and western Europe.
“It’s a long war, unfortunately. But it’s been a war that has been in existence for millennia, at the same time—the use of violence for political purposes against noncombatants by either a state actor or a subnational group.
Terrorism has taken many forms over the years. What is more challenging now is, again, the technology that is available to terrorists, the great devastation that can be created by even a handful of folks, and also mass communication that just proliferates all of this activity and incitement and encouragement. So you have an environment now that’s very conducive to that type of propaganda and recruitment efforts, as well as the ability to get materials that are going to kill people. And so this is going to be something, I think, that we’re always going to have to be vigilant about. There is evil in the world and some people just want to kill for the sake of killing…This is something that, whether it’s from this group right now or another group, I think the ability to cause damage and violence and kill will be with us for many years to come.”
Micah Zenko summarised Brennan’s whole speech:
To summarize, the war on terrorism is working, compared to inaction or other policies. But, the American people should expect it to continue for millennia, or as long as lethal technologies and mass communication remain available to evil people.
Physicians for Social Responsibility’s (PRS) study concluds that the death toll from 10 years of the “War on Terror” since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as 2 million.
It is heavily critical of the figure most widely cited by mainstream media as authoritative, namely, the Iraq Body Count (IBC) estimate of 110,000 dead. According to the PSR study, the much-disputed Lancet study that estimated 655,000 Iraq deaths up to 2006 (and over a million until today by extrapolation) was likely to be far more accurate than IBC’s figures.
total deaths from Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 1990s – from direct killings and the longer-term impact of war-imposed deprivation – likely constitute around 4 million (2 million in Iraq from 1991-2003, plus 2 million from the “war on terror”), and could be as high as 6-8 million people when accounting for higher avoidable death estimates in Afghanistan.
Journalist Ahmed provided a brief history of the rise of Islamic State, arguing the complicity of US and British in its creation and rise through deliberate tactical actions, ill-conceived policies and indirect/direct financial support.
“Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these, re-draw the map of the Middle East.“