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How military spending has changed in the past decade

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How military spending has changed in the past decade

WORLDWIDE military spending was flat in 2011 compared with the year before, according to data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think-tank, but this masks some significant changes. America, Western Europe and Latin America, which between them make up 65% of the global total of $1.634 trillion (at 2010 prices), all spent less than they had in 2010.

This is the first time America made a year-on-year reduction since 1998, trimming its budget by 1.2% to $690 billion. To keep the total flat, there were some big rises elsewhere. Russia’s spending increased by 9.3% to $64.1 billion, which may have had something to do with the build-up to the presidential election earlier this year.

It is now the third biggest spender worldwide, ahead of both France and Britain. The chart below gives a sense of how much defence spending has changed relative to economic performance in the past decade for 116 countries and territories for which data are available. China, for instance, which spent $129 billion last year, has increased spending broadly in line with its GDP growth.



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