Russia Drops out of Arms’ Race! Stops Being World’s Largest Military Spender!
For the first time in 12 years, Russia didn't make it into the top five countries in military spending. That was reported this week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. This is despite the fact that global military spending set a record — almost $2 trillion. In relation to global GDP, it came out to $240 per person on Earth. The Russian military budget is designed against this trend. In 2018, it was less than the American, Chinese, Saudi, Indian, and French budgets. Remaining the main opponent in NATO exercise scenarios, Russia spent ten and a half times less than the United States on military purposes, four times less than China, and $2.5 billion less than France. The total expenditures by the NATO countries over the last year increased by 4%, while Russia's expenditures decreased by 3.5%.
For years, Vladimir Putin has stressed, the country's defense is a matter of quality, not quantity. Moscow won't be dragged into a new arms race.
Vladimir Putin: «In percentage terms, we expect a decrease in military spending. It won't affect our security. We've been developing new weapon systems, ones that no one else has. No one has hypersonic weapons yet, while we do. More than that — they're not prototypes; the Kinzhal is on alert. It's a matter of principle — priorities should be determined correctly about how we spend money. We shouldn't waste it. We should make the right decisions and allocate resources to where they can make the maximum effect».
If in defense spending Moscow now occupies sixth place, in the world ranking of the leading exporters of arms it's in second place, only behind the USA. NATO's astronomical military budgets concern the taxpayers of the alliance's member countries more than Russian experts. The symbol of the USA's naval might, the program of constructing aircraft carriers is an annual pain in the neck for the Congress that allocates money for that.
The most expensive ship in the world, the USS Gerald R. Ford, valued at $13 billion, spent two years plying the seas without an air wing because of problems with the launch and landing system. This March, it was put into dock for repair. Another pride of the U.S. Navy is the Zumwalt stealth destroyer, worth $4.5 billion, which stalled in the Panama Canal right after it was launched. Last year in Germany, for the first time in the history of the Bundeswehr, an already-built ship was returned to the shipyard: the newest frigate, worth €3 billion, didn't pass its trials.
At the same time, the newest cruise and anti-ship ballistic missiles easily destroy all of these expensive products of the military industry. There's a reasonable question — does the effectiveness of these weapons correspond to the costs of their construction and repair? Paris compares the current rise in military spending with the Maginot Line — the famous fortification line that pre-war France spent 3 billion francs on over 11 years that couldn’t save the country from Hitler’s blitzkrieg.