Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What's going on in the world where we aren't looking?

We focus on the military disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq and worry about whether or not the Bush Administration will attack Iran.

According to John Feffer, we’re missing Asia's Hidden Arms Race, posted yesterday at

In 2003, I read John Feffer’s North Korea South Korea - U.S. Policy in a Time of Crisis and posted about it here. Feffer is an expert on military policy and Asia and co-director of the Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Asia's Hidden Arms Race focuses on the nations who have been participating in the Six Party talks about North Korea’s nuclear program: the U.S., Japan, China, Russia, and the two Koreas.

According to Feffer, “…[I]n the shadows an already massive regional arms race is threatening to shift into overdrive. Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, five of the six countries involved in the Six Party Talks have increased their military spending by 50% or more. The sixth, Japan, has maintained a steady, if sizeable military budget while nonetheless aspiring to keep pace. Every country in the region is now eagerly investing staggering amounts of money in new weapons systems and new offensive capabilities.”

The whole article is worth reading. There’s also a chart showing the increase in military expenditures in the six countries. Russia leads the pack with a 300% increase from 2000 to 2006.

Which country is the chief driver of the global arms spending? According to Feffer, the United States. And he expects it to continue to be even if a Democrat is elected November because “The Democratic frontrunners for the presidential nomination have also called for troop increases and have said nothing about slowing, freezing, or even cutting the military budget.”

(photo of a Russian military corps marching on Victory Day, May 9th, 2006:

1 comment:

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Hi Gail. It's disheartening that Asia is entering an arms race.

If you haven't seen Ben Cohen's Oreo presentation on US arms spending, you're missing a wonderful, though now dated, presentation. It's here:

It makes it clear that the real arms race problem is right here from sea to shining sea.