MILITARY and DEFENCE Guide – Rethinking Security
Global military spending is at a record high of $2240 billion. Increasing international tensions, militarisation, the military-industrial complex, and the greed of private weapons contactors have caused military budgets to bloat at the expense of other societal needs such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure.
Summarised nicely by Iraqi American rights activist, Zainab Salbi,
“One year of the world’s military spending equals 700 years of the U.N. budget, and equals 2,928 years of the U.N. budget allocated for women.”
Increased militarism serves only to promote national interests and creates a cycle of tension and conflict, as nations continually arm themselves in response to perceived threats. As more money is pumped into the war industry, the risks of military dictatorships, rights violations, and repressive regimes increases.
In addition to the death, destruction, and suffering that militaries and wars cause, they also contribute to environmental degradation, climate change, and cause long lasting damage to human health and ecosystems. If we reap what we sow, then why do world leaders consistently sow the seeds of conflict and war?
We believe that the military's role in defence and security needs to be shifted to focus on peacebuilding and conflict resolution first. The capacity for humanitarian intervention by the military is huge, especially in times of disaster. Aid, rescue, emergency relief, post-conflict reconstruction, and enforcing peace agreements and disarmament campaigns, are positive ways the military can protect civilians and reduce the risk of future conflict. Better still shift some money from the military to civil defense and crisis response.
Discover impartial military news sources, and learn how corporate media has become a conduit for pro‐war propaganda. Find excellent organisations such as GCOMS the Global Campaign on Military Spending, and other peace movements and NGOs.
Be sure to check out our related topics on conscientious objectors, conflict regions, nuclear disarmament, peace, international development, politics, and our impressive guide to the Russian war in Ukraine from a peace perspective. You can also follow our excellent Twitter list on the military for up-to-the-minute insight from security experts, international relations and foreign policy specialists, nonviolence activists, and voices from the peace movement.
- United States - 2022 saw the U.S military budget reach $877 billion, this accounts for 39% of all military spending in the world! It places them in the top spot, and is three times the amount spent by runner-up China. Find extensive information on US military budgets, military bases, the extortionately expensive F-35 fighter jets, the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Media Complex, women in the U.S. army, critical analysis, and war veterans. From a political perspective we look into the U.S. as the world's number one arms exporter, private military companies, U.S. imperial wars, and U.S. nuclear weapon stockpiling.
China - In second place, China budgeted $292 billion for military expenses in 2022. Based on active personnel, China has the world's largest military force. Concerns over tensions with Taiwan, and increasing cold war mentality with the U.S. from both sides are concerning, especially given its large arsenal and possession of nuclear weapons.
Russia - The military is a top priority in Russia with $86.4 billion budgeted in 2022 for security and defence purposes. The war in Ukraine has plunged the Russian military and many controversies into the spotlight, such as war crimes, nuclear war threats, mandatory conscription, and Russia’s mercenary Wagner group, and their presence in Africa.
India - The fourth largest military budget is India with $81.4 billion. India is also a nuclear state and has huge numbers of military personnel. Controversy surrounds their youth military recruitment scheme Agnipath, conflict in Kashmir, and tensions with Pakistan.
Great Britain - Spending $68.5 billion in 2022 and committed to increasing their nuclear arsenal, learn more about the UK military budget, the Poppy Appeal, U.S. relations and foreign policy, Trident, and AUKUS the security pact tying the UK to the U.S. and Australia.
Check out our complete country-by-country guides on militaries around the world featuring top issues such as EU militarization, tensions in the Middle East, Central and South American defence, and military developments in Africa.
Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons. It contributes to global peace by limiting the potential for conflict. By halting arms production and repurposing existing weapons for peaceful uses, the likelihood of conflict and war decreases and creates an environment where diplomacy and peaceful negotiations can exist. Show the other side that you are serious about disarmament by taking the initiative and invite them to follow suit.
Learn more about the global efforts for disarmament through our recommended news sources, as well as important information on international treaties, and the concepts of anti-militarism and demilitarization. Search by region for key resources, national organisations, campaigns, reports, books, and videos.
With 31 members, NATO is the world’s largest military alliance. Learn more about security conferences, pro-war budgets, the nuclear no-first-use protocol, the debate for Nato disarmament, and the campaigns saying No to Nato.
In 2022, the combined defence expenditure for Nato members reached $1.2 trillion – the highest amount ever. This wild spending coupled with Eastward expansion is concerning, and poses a threat to global stability and peace especially regarding Russia and China.
Arms exports and the arms industry fuel conflict, human rights abuses, violations of international humanitarian law, repression, displacement, and death, and suffering. Despite this, the global value of weapons production, investment in high-tech weapons manufacturing, and the sale and transfer of this equipment is worth a staggering $112 billion.
Learn about the NGOs calling for accountability, regulation, and a stop to the madness such at CAAT. Find information on the UN Conference of the Arms Trade Treaty, arms dealers, illegal trafficking, arms fairs, and those profiting from death in the name of collective security.
The world's biggest arms exporters are:
U.S.A - 38.6%
Russia - 18.6%
France - 10.7%
China - 4.6%
Germany - 4.5%
Italy - 3.1%
United Kingdom - 2.9%
At Better World Info we believe that war is never the answer, there is no form of just war. The only winners are the weapons contractors, stock holders, and the war industry who line their pockets with tax payers money leaving citizens as the losers.
In this section you will find a detailed history of wars and conflicts including WWI and WWII, as well as the Vietnam War. Learn about the devastating price that veterans pay for their countries, and excellent peace campaigns such as Veterans for Peace. We also highlight the atrocities of war crimes, crimes against humanity, various conventions and tribunals, and information on prisoners of war.
In response to the 9/11 attacks that took place in 2001, the US military spent $8 trillion over the course of 20 years funding its War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was sold to American tax payers through the creation of enemies to justify such large spending in a country already struggling to meet the social needs of its citizens.
The U.S. military receives $1,000 for every $1 dedicated to peace efforts (not including UN efforts). The stark difference brings into question U.S. motives for the promotion of global security. The War on Terror was a racket. It purposely left U.S. citizens uninformed and misled by propaganda to enable the extraction of even more money for the U.S. war industry.
The result of their efforts was 4.5 million deaths, 15.1 million refugees, a 270% increase in the number of terrorists and Jihadists since 2001, hatred, misery, destruction, despair, corruption, the reversal of women’s rights, total loss of safety, and unimaginable hardship.
1.8 million U.S. veterans were registered disabled, and intense intelligence gathering via mass surveillance undermines the civil rights and privacy of ordinary American citizens.
Check out our blog ‘U.S. Military Prodigal Spending and Peaceful Alternatives’ for more information.
The rise of Weapon Systems and Drones - Modern Warfare
Developments in technology and massive investments into the weapons industry have made warfare even more deadly, and the threat of war even more terrifying.
Under the guise of national security, weapons programmes worldwide have embraced the use of artificial intelligence, killer drones and robots, and national and international missiles. Cyber warfare has the potential to cause untold damage to critical infrastructure and systems.
Highly destructive depleted uranium weapons result in serious health and environmental issues for many years to come and are of huge concern due to their lack of regulation. Learn about the devastating impacts of DU, cluster munitions and landmines, as well as other weapons systems, missiles and the incredibly expensive and controversial Eurofighter programme.
Better World Info supports a complete ban of all Atomic weapons, their manufacturing, sale, and use. Be sure to check out our huge guide to nuclear disarmament where you will find over 4,000 resources on nukes, the dangers and outrageous costs of them, and the campaigns and initiatives fighting for an outright ban.
Biological weapons contain bacteria, viruses, or toxins which spread through the environment to cause diseases among people, animals, and plants. The effects can be deadly and biowarfare is prohibited by the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.
Chemical weapons were first used on a large-scale during World War I and are prohibited by international law and the Chemical Weapons Convention due to their devastating and indiscriminate effects. Nerve gases, blister agents, and choking agents cause immense suffering, permanent harm and death.
Beyond the Battlefield - Choosing Peace Funding Over War
We believe that this cycle of posturing and weapons proliferation must end. It is no coincidence that the 5 nuclear states have some of the largest military budgets, AND are the largest profiteers of weapons exports. We must hold governments and thier militaries accountable for the humanitarian crises they create.
"The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded,' Ban Ki-moon.
By giving peace a budget instead, we can transform a culture of war into a force for peace. Retraining military personnel in conflict resolution, human rights, and international humanitarian law, fosters a mindset with peace at its core and prioritizes dialogue over violence.
Time and time again we have seen numerous conflict regions that there are no winners in war. Better World Info actively stands up for peace, against the war industry, propaganda, the buildup of massive arms stockpiles, and outrageous military budgets.
Martin Luther King once famously said,
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on war, than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
Author: Rachael Mellor, 05.07.23 licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0
For further reading on Militaries see below ⬇️
Featured Organisation of the Month
The global movement against gun violence
The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) is a global movement against gun violence, linking together civil society organisations that work on stopping the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. IANSA supports efforts that make people safer by reducing the demand for weapons, improving firearm regulation and strengthening controls on arms transfers.
Featured Online Resource of the Month
The United Nations Office on Disarmament Affairs was established in 1998 and works to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation; to strengthen the disarmament regimes in respect to other weapons of mass destruction; to strengthen disarmament efforts in the area of conventional weapons. On their website you can find an extensive collection of disarmament resources, including background information, data, treaty information, reports and links to other resources.