New global arms record and leader USA

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At the edge of the Munich Security Conference (MSK), the London International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) presented its annual report on the military balance in the world. It shows that the United States and its allies spend more money on armaments than any other country. The others seem to be guilty again.

$ 1.73 trillion has been spent worldwide on arms and the military last year. The United States alone contributed $ 684.6 billion to this. China followed with 181.1 billion, Saudi Arabia with 78.4 billion and Russia with 61.6 billion. Federal German armaments spending in 2019 is estimated at $ 48.5 billion.

The payment come from the new report of the London International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on military balance presented in Munich on Friday. Thereafter, global arms spending increased by four percent from 2018 to 2019. According to the IISS, this is the largest increase in the past ten years. European arms spending grew by 4.2 percent, said Institute chief John Chipman on the edge of the Munich Security Conference (MSK). The reason for this is the fear of Russia.

In terms of numbers, the report said the U.S. spent $ 53.4 billion more last year alone. That is about the UK’s military budget of over $ 54 billion in 2019, Chipman said. What the United States and Chinese armaments spending have in common is that they each grew by 6.6 percent. The two countries would spend more money on arms research, development and procurement than Russia.

Leader in the USA hardly in sight

Interestingly, IISS chief Chipman and his team mainly dealt with the activities of Russia, China and Iran. Why the United States spends so much and so much more money was not discussed at the press conference on the sidelines of the MSK.

According to the report, Russia is spending more and more money to develop faster and more innovative weapons. Chipman referred to developments such as the nuclear-armed submarines of the “Poseidon” class, the nuclear-powered Crusie Missile “Burevestnik” and the hypersonic missile “Kinschal”. The Russian armaments are aimed at modernizing their own arsenal. It is about increasing the firepower and the responsiveness of your own troops.

Chipman pointed out that budget constraints and industrial problems make it difficult for Russia to quickly acquire new weapons. According to the IIS, the problems are evident in the program of the new Su-57 fighter aircraft, the new engine of which is not yet available.

Does the West do nothing?

After the Russian armament, the IISS director targeted the China. In the report of the London Institute, Beijing’s individual steps are enumerated in order to modernize its own armed forces, from the navy to the army to the air force. These include the J-20A stealth fighter plane, new airborne missiles and the DF-17 hypersonic weapon. According to the report, the Asian country is primarily expanding the capabilities of its navy, including with new destroyers and corvettes.

London’s military and strategy experts note that arms states are still pursuing more national than common interests. Chipamn recalled statements by French President Emmanuel Macron about “brain dead” NATO, while US President Donald Trump had previously declared it “obsolete”.

The United States would increase the number of its soldiers in Europe and show more activity in the Persian Gulf, supposedly in response to Iranian actions. At the same time, the largest military power cannot expand its capacities indefinitely, since it wants to show itself more in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, their allies would have to do more in Europe.

Rockets in particular are being developed

IISS Director Chipman said that the US and its allies in the arms sector were no longer the sole technological leaders. Other countries are now exploring and conquering cyberspace and space. They would also develop technologies that can be used in civil and military terms. At the same time, the conventional artillery and missile defense systems would be further developed.
The London armaments researcher showed on a map that more and more countries are developing and using anti-ground missiles, the cruise missiles. This includes Australia, Japan, Israel and even Iran. The latter is expanding rocket development because its options to buy or even build combat aircraft are very limited, said IISS expert Francois Heisbourg.
Chipman warned that the West could fall behind when it comes to new arms technologies. He actually cited protests by armaments workers like Google employees in 2018 against Internet company projects for the U.S. Pentagon as a danger.

The case for revived arms control

According to the IISS, future military conflicts will be carried out with conventional weapons as well as unconventional ones. Hardware and software are increasingly being networked right through to the use of digital weapons. The head of the London institute cited examples of Russia’s activities in the Ukraine conflict, but also the unproven use of poisons, such as against ex-agent Sergei Skripal.

Iranian military activities were also cited as an example. No one from the IISS was expecting western activities and capabilities, not covert operations or cyberspace. For this it was generally said that modern conflicts “Are more diffuse than before”, Civil structures need better protection.

After all, the French IISS expert Heisbourg spoke out in the question and answer session about expanding and strengthening arms control again. In view of the developments, this is urgently necessary. He recalled the successes in the area in the 1970s and 1980s and warned of the consequences if arms control was not revived.

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