Posted by: bklunk | June 12, 2007

Number Four With a Bullet

Despite all our talk about the democratic peace, the benefits of globalization, and the replacement of the war-making state with the trading state, states still seem to think that maintaining expensive military forces is worthwhile. Go figure!

China becomes Asia’s biggest military spender – Turkish Daily News Jun 12, 2007

China overtook Japan as Asia’s biggest arms spender in 2006 as global military expenditures grew 3.5 percent to US$1.2 trillion, a Swedish research institute said yesterday.

The United States remained by far the world’s top military spender last year, devoting about US$529 billion on weapons, up from US$505 billion in 2005, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said.

“The large increase in the U.S. military spending is to a great extent due to the costly military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,” SIPRI said in its annual report.

Britain and France were second and third, respectively, while China’s growing military expenditures reached nearly US$50 billion, making it the fourth biggest arms spender in the world, SIPRI said in its annual report. Japan was fifth with US$43.7 billion.

The figures cited were in 2005 dollars.

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  1. Even after considerable globalization and increases in inter-continental trade countries still seem to cling to realist theories of security. I guess different countries stock up arms to fell safe, kind of like how a person would buy a gun to guard against being robbed. China is developing at a rapid pace; it now has a lot to lose. In order to protect their resources they build up there arms. It makes sense if one is thinking in realist terms. In the case of China it has many rivals, it is the one Communist super-power in a room filled with democracies. If someone were to threaten them, China would lose both ideologically and economically.

  2. China, like any country, is looking for security. And they are doing that through cooperating in many multinational organizations, but inevitable they still desire security from a military stand point. If nothing else they will use a powerful military as a form of deterrence with America and other military powers.

    This seems like a very predictable move on China’s part. It is unfortunate that it seems inevitable that a rising super power will only brings more weapons to the table. A liberal would blame this on a lack of organizations ability to make China feel secure without a large military.

  3. It makes sense that as China is growing it is spending more money on military expenses. According to realists, in order to feel safe you have to have power. The quote by Flavius Vegetius Renatus said that, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” I think that the quote describes this well because countries generally do not want war, but have to build up their arms in order to feel safe. To be able to show they are willing to fight if they need to other actors might be less willing to be forceful toward them. I think that as countries around the globe start to build up their arms it influences other countries to spend more money to, even though there is not a large change of war at the time.

  4. Soft power is overrated. It can affect world events by a great deal, but when it comes down to the tooth and nail, you have to have hard power to back it up. Economic hard power isn’t even enough. You have to have that military stockpile, not to use per say, but so you can point behind you and say… “Well, I DO have these”, when bargaining for gains. Unlike Iran and North Korea, China has had nukes for a while, so it has more has more room to build up its defense systems, since it won’t raise as many hairs as if Iran or NK did it. I don’t see it intentionally starting a war with any great powers, but its hawkishness about Taiwan and Japan worries me a bit.

  5. Maybe is just me but I was suprised to see that China spends only around 50 bil. dollars on their military and security. Comparing to U.S, China has greater population, vast borders and some regions that are not that stable since ethnic movement. It is also the case that Japan is opening their military potential again, so it could be that China is increasing its security and bargining power.

  6. This should come as no surprise to anyone that China is increasing its spending on military. Military nowadays is used mostly for soft power politics. Since China is on the rise as a country as a whole, it is only fitting that they have a strong military that will go along with it. This is just another way of China trying to show the rest of the world that it is on the rise and that it will become a superpower to reckon with in the near future.

  7. Vladimir’s comment is quite telling. At least in terms of military spending, the US seems to be playing a distinctive role in international affairs. While China may have long-run global ambitions, only the US has the current wherewithal to play a global imperial role.

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