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News > U.S.

US Skyrocketing Military Spending Upsets World

  • The General Frank S Besson carries equipment to build a floating harbour in Gaza, 2024.

    The General Frank S Besson carries equipment to build a floating harbour in Gaza, 2024. | Photo: X/ @swilkinsonbc

Published 29 April 2024 (23 minutes ago)
Opinion

With its appetite for global hegemony, Washington continues to fuel chaos around the world.

A recently released report showed that defense spending by the United States -- the world's largest military spender -- accounted for nearly 40 percent of world's total military expenditures in 2023.

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In the latest move of aggressive U.S. military spending, President Joe Biden signed a US$95-billion foreign aid bill, which includes more military aid for Ukraine and Israel.

With its skyrocketing military spending and unabated appetite for global hegemony, the United States continues to fuel chaos around the world.

ROCKETING SPENDING

Military spending by the United States rose 2.3 percent to reach US$916 billion in 2023, representing 68 percent of total North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military spending, according to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report.

Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to addressing the U.S. long-term fiscal challenges, noted that the U.S. defense spending increased by US$55 billion from 2022 to 2023 in part due to additional military aid for Ukraine.

In the bill newly signed by Biden, more than US$60 billion goes to Ukraine while US$26 billion goes to Israel despite international criticism over the civilian casualties the Israeli army caused in Gaza.

The United States has provided Ukraine with massive military aid especially since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, as part of its strategy to counter its strategic rival, Russia.

As Israel's largest military supplier, the United States is complacent in the humanitarian crisis and regional insecurity of the Middle East.

In 2023, most European NATO members increased their military expenditure partly due to the two conflicts, the SIPRI report showed. The total European military spending in 2023 has seen a 16 percent year-on-year increase to US$588 billion.

Estimated military expenditure in the Middle East increased by 9.0 percent to US$200 billion in 2023, the highest annual growth rate in the region seen in the past decade. Israel's military spending grew by 24 percent to reach US$27.5 billion in 2023.

PURSUIT OF HEGEMONY

The SIPRI report showed that the United States spend more on defense than the next nine countries combined. Meanwhile, total military spending by NATO members reached US$1.3 trillion last year, accounting for 55 percent of global military spending.

The United States has decided to "shift its focus away from counterinsurgency operations and asymmetric warfare to developing new weapon systems that could be used in a potential conflict with adversaries with advanced military capabilities," according to the report.

Analysts believe that this shows that the United States is trying to eliminate all potential enemies, which embodies the Cold War mentality and hegemonic thinking.

"Really what American foreign policy is about is promoting American power: ensuring that America remains the hegemonic dominant power of the international system and minimizing any source of threat to America's geopolitical dominance," U.S. political scholar Christopher Layne said in a discussion last year.

Igor Korotchenko, a Russian military expert and the editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine, pointed out that the large number of U.S. military bases and aircraft carrier formations around the world serve its ambition to expand global military influence.

Huge U.S. military spending is not only an important indication of Washington's pursuit of an aggressive foreign policy but a cause of instability and chaos across the world, Korotchenko said.

Washington's attempt to maintain global hegemony by trying to divide the world is "a strategy that is very dangerous and misguided," said Jeffrey Sachs, economics professor at Columbia University.

WIN OR LOSE

The United States' enormous military expenditure and ongoing provision of foreign military aid clearly show its priorities. In the newly released first quarter financial results, U.S. military giant Raytheon saw sales of US$19.3 billion, up 12 percent from a year earlier, and net income of US$1.7 billion, up 20 percent from a year earlier, which both beat expectations.

Raytheon's order backlog is a record US$202 billion, with massive orders in the defense and commercial aerospace sectors, reflecting strong revenue potential in the future.

Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, reported first-quarter sales of US$17.2 billion , up 14 percent from a year earlier. The recent passage of the foreign aid bill may increase orders for F-35 fighter jets, which could mean additional revenue for Lockheed Martin, reported Bloomberg.

"It's past time to break the grip that the U.S. military-industrial complex has on our politics, policy, and collective thinking. For the military-industrial complex, no amount is too much to spend on Pentagon contractors," Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization headquartered in Washington. D.C., said in a statement earlier this week.

"For those of us in the real world, a dollar spent on killing machines is a dollar that we can't spend on daycare, expanding Medicare, or other human priorities," said Weissman.

A growing number of Americans are discontented with the continued consumption of national resources by the military-industrial complex, while crucial areas of people's livelihood receive insufficient attention.

Earlier in April, people held a rally protesting America's defense policies in Renton, a city in the northwestern U.S. State of Washington, according to a report by Renton Reporter.

"I would like to see the money being spent on the military being spent on healthcare, education, saving the planet, transportation, light rail, bicycle infrastructure, and things like that. Good things for human beings," Mona Lee, 85, who led the protest.

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