Emerging Nations Opt for Arms Spending Over Development

zayas-640-629x419

The U.N.’s Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, says it is governments’ responsibility to inform the public about military expenditures – and to justify them.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has relentlessly advocated drastic cuts in global military spending in favour of sustainable development, will be sorely disappointed by the latest findings in a report released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The decline in arms spending in the West, says SIPRI, has been offset by a rise in military expenditures by emerging non-Western and developing nations who are, ironically, the strongest candidates for development aid.

“Four hours of military spending is equal to the total budgets of all international disarmament and non-proliferation organisations combined.” — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Asked whether there are any future prospects of reversing this trend, Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman, director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure Programme, told IPS, “At present, there is little or no prospect of a large-scale transfer of resources from military spending to spending on human and economic development.”

Of the top 15 military spenders in 2013, eight were non-Western nations: China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, South Korea, Brazil, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The Western countries in the top 15 were the United States, France, UK, Germany, Italy and Australia, plus Japan. Canada, a former high spender, dropped out of the list in 2013. The increase in military spending in emerging and developing countries continues unabated, said Perlo-Freeman.

“While in some cases it is the natural result of economic growth or a response to genuine security needs, in other cases it represents a squandering of natural resource revenues, the dominance of autocratic regimes, or emerging regional arms races,” he added.

World military expenditure totalled 1.75 trillion dollars in 2013, a fall of 1.9 percent in real terms since 2012, according to SIPRI. The fall in the global total comes from decreases in Western countries, led by the United States. But military spending in the rest of the world increased by 1.8 percent. Bemoaning the rise in arms spending, the secretary-general said last year the world spends more on the military in one month than it does on development all year.

“And four hours of military spending is equal to the total budgets of all international disarmament and non-proliferation organizations combined,” he noted.

The bottom line: the world is over-armed and peace is under-funded, said Ban. Bloated military budgets, he said, promote proliferation, derail arms control, doom disarmament and detract from social and economic development.

- By Thalif Deen

VIDEO: Bradford’s ‘knit-in’ protesters take action on nuclear weapons

Knitters and crocheters from across the region descended on Bradford’s Centenary Square yesterday to stage a ‘knit-in’ in protest against spending on nuclear weapons.

The Bradford demonstration was one of hundreds taking place across the globe as part of the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending.

The group handed out leaflets and spoke to people in Bradford during the event to express their view that money spent on weapons should be redirected to vital support for public services and renewable energy.

The Bradford ‘knit-In’ will contribute to a planned seven-mile pink scarf to be unveiled in a demonstration on August 9.

Catherine Bann, of Yorkshire CND, said: “Knitting this scarf is a great way of bringing people together to discuss the important issues of the day.”

Click here to watch the video.

‘Most capable destroyer in history’ — with $4 billion price tag — to be christened Saturday at Bath Iron Works

The U.S. Navy will enter a new age Saturday when the first DDG 1000, the USS Zumwalt — “the most capable destroyer in history” — is christened at Bath Iron Works.

The $4 billion guided missile destroyer, designed to provide missile and gun support for troops ashore, boasts advanced technology and the ability to accommodate advanced air missiles, rail guns and lasers. That advanced technology has led the new class to be dubbed “stealth” destroyers.

In November 2001, the Navy introduced the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer “as a transformation in the traditional design of destroyers that would make surface combatants more versatile, more survivable and more relevant to combat ashore,” defense industry analyst Loren Thompson said Tuesday. “I think the lead ship in the class has pretty much borne out [those] claims.”

Click here to read the complete article.

‘Involve civil society in military budget’

Governments must give priority to strengthening national and international security through the promotion of human rights

On the occasion of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, the United Nations Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, calls upon all governments to proactively inform the public about military expenditures and to justify them:

“Every democracy must involve civil society in the process of establishing budgets, and all sectors of society must be consulted to determine what the real priorities of the population are.

“Lobbies, including military contractors and other representatives of the military-industrial complex, must not be allowed to hijack these priorities to the detriment of the population’s real needs.”

The UN has also called on parliaments to implement the will of the people and significantly reduce military expenditures, whether in the field of arms production, military research, military bases abroad, surveillance of private citizens, ‘intelligence’-gathering, or overt and covert military operations.

Click here to read the complete article by Kua Kia Soong, Suaram advisor.

Pax Christi International in the Global Day of Action on Military Spending

Pax Christi International has invited faith-based organisations and religious communities worldwide to join the “Disarmament for Sustainable Development Campaign” as launched by the International Peace Bureau. The main goal of this initiative is to press for an end to excessive military expenditures and for significant investment to address human insecurity and threats to the planet.

Pax Christi International is very concerned about and brings attention to the increasing military expenditures (compared to 2012 data) in the following regions and countries:

  • Africa (large increase). Top five spenders are Algeria (exceeding $10 billion for the first time), Angola, South Africa, Morocco and Libya. Increasing military expenses in: Ghana, Mauritius, Angola, DRCongo, Seychelles, Zambia, Tunisia, Morocco and Mali.
  • Asia and Oceania (significant increase). Top five spenders are China, Japan, India, South Korea and Australia. Increasing military expenses in: Afghanistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan.
  • Central and South America (small increase). Top five spenders are: Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Venezuela. Increasing military expenses in: Paraguay, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia and Peru.
  • Europe (slight decrease). Top five spenders are Russia, France, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. Increasing military expenses in Ukraine, Belarus, Malta and Portugal.
  • Middle East (significant increase). Top five spenders are Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran and Oman. Increasing military expenses in Iraq, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
Click here to read  the complete article.