Defense: most Muslim nations, Israel & U.S. far more heavily armed than others

Below is an edited version of a post I originally shared in 2010. It still reflects 2010 numbers. I revised and highlighted the material for this post.

Since the Syrian civil war and the alleged Arab Spring gave the world a bunch of broken states (to add to the generally iffy Iraq and Afghanistan), I think this general review of militarization of nations, though it's now outdated, is worth posting again as food for your thoughts. World security and peace relies on a mix of freedom and security (military and otherwise) where the "good guys" have the balance. America and NATO allies do not need to be the world policeman forever, do they? Many of these highly militarized countries were thrown into a revolution or civil war of some sort during the so-called Arab Spring. The Arab Spring felt more like an Islamist Chill to some, including me, except for Tunisia.

I'm not trying to suggest that just because a nation is Muslim it is dangerous, because some are modern and positively aware of ideas such as women's rights and tolerating a diversity of religions, such as wealthy, civilized little Brunei.

What this list does suggest is that many Muslim nations have been very well armed. In some cases, that's not good news for the West, but in other cases, you have to ask questions such as: "When was the last time Eritrea attacked a neighboring country, or was attacked by another country?"

"... most of the top 20 military spenders are Arab and/or Muslim-dominated nations."

The CIA World Factbook provides many bits of information about the world we live in, such as the discernible numbers for a variety of subjects, such as population, average income and GDP - gross domestic product. (Think of GDP as similar to being all household annual income before expenses, but for a whole country. That's perhaps not exactly right, but you can read up on GDP on your own.)

An interesting thing gleaned from the information provided on military expenditures is that most of the top 20 military spenders are Arab and/or Muslim-dominated nations (the Muslim nations in the top 20 are bolded). In the top 20 is Israel, too. There are 14 predominantly Muslim countries in the first 20, 12 of which are essentially Muslim states (as in, I see them as being run by Muslim religious law).

So are these nations insulating themselves from the non-Muslim world, concerned about their safety from enemies who would come at them from the outside, or are they more worried about some internal enemies?

The world average for military spending is 2% of GDP. The U.S. is just over double the average, at 4.06%. The U.K., by contrast, matches India and Iran, at a mere 2.50%.

The US military commitment is massive, of course. So is its GDP. So the US military outlay far outweighs these much smaller economies, pound-for-pound. In 2011, US production output was about three times that of China, our closest economic competitor. Even though China's population is three times larger than the U.S. headcount. China's military outlay is 4.60% of its GDP.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/rawdata_2034.text


Raw Data: 

1    Oman        11.40
2    Qatar        10.00
3    Saudi Arabia        10.00
4    Iraq         8.60

5    Jordan         8.60
6    Israel         7.30
7    Yemen         6.60

8    Armenia         6.50
9    Eritrea         6.30

10    Macedonia         6.00
11    Burundi         5.90
12    Syria         5.90

13    Maldives         5.50
14    Mauritania         5.50

15    Kuwait         5.30
16    Turkey         5.30
17    Morocco         5.00
18    Singapore         4.90
19    Swaziland         4.70
20    Bahrain         4.50

21    Bosnia & Herzegovina         4.50
22    Brunei         4.50

23    China         4.30
24    Greece         4.30
25   United States         4.06
26    Libya         3.90

27    Russia         3.90
28    Tajikistan         3.90
29    Cuba         3.80
30    Zimbabwe         3.80
31    Djibouti         3.80
32    Cyprus         3.80
33    Namibia         3.70
34    Angola         3.60
35    Colombia         3.40
36    Turkmenistan         3.40
37    Egypt         3.40

38    Algeria         3.30
39    Botswana         3.30
40    Guinea-Bissau         3.10
41    Lebanon         3.10
42    United Arab Emirates         3.10
43    Australia         3.00
44    Sudan         3.0045    Solomon Islands         3.00
46    Pakistan         3.0047    Indonesia         3.00
48    Cambodia         3.00
49    Rwanda         2.90
50    Comoros         2.80
51    Kenya         2.80
52    Chile         2.70
53    Korea, South         2.70
54    Azerbaijan         2.6055    Sri Lanka         2.60
56    Lesotho         2.60
57    France         2.60
58    Bulgaria         2.60
59    Congo, Democratic 

        Republic of the         2.50
60    Iran         2.50
61    Vietnam        2.5062    
62      India         2.5063    
63      United Kingdom         2.4064    
64      Croatia         2.3965    
65      Portugal         2.3066    
66      Sierra Leone         2.3067    
67      Uganda         2.2068    
68      Taiwan         2.2069    
69      Burma         2.1070    
70      Malaysia         2.03
71      World 2.00 < avg
72      Seychelles           2.00
73      Uzbekistan           2.0074 
74      Estonia           2.0075
75      Finland           2.0076
76      Afghanistan           1.9077 
77      Mali           1.9078 
78      Norway           1.9079 
79      Romania           1.9080 
80      Fiji           1.9081 
81      Slovakia           1.8782 
82     Guyana           1.8083 
83      Zambia           1.8084 
84      Thailand           1.8085 
85      Italy           1.8086 
86      Hungary           1.7587 
87      Poland           1.7188 
88      Brazil           1.7089 
89      Chad           1.7090 
90      Ghana           1.7091 
91      Slovenia           1.7092 
92      South Africa           1.7093 
93      Nepal           1.6094 
94      Netherlands           1.6095 
95      Uruguay           1.6096 
96      Togo           1.6097 
97      Cote d'Ivoire           1.5098 
98      Sweden           1.5099 
99      Peru           1.50100 
100      Nigeria           1.50101 
101      Germany           1.50102 
102      Albania           1.49103 
103     Czech Republic           1.46104 
104     Belarus           1.40105 
105     Belize           1.40106 
106     Kyrgyzstan           1.40107 
107     Papua New Guinea           1.40108 
108     Tunisia           1.40
109    Ukraine         1.40
110    Senegal         1.40
111    Mongolia         1.40
112    Bangladesh         1.30
113    Cameroon         1.30
114    Denmark         1.30
115    Liberia         1.30
116    Niger         1.30
117    Malawi         1.30
118    Bolivia         1.30
119    Belgium         1.30
120    Burkina Faso         1.20
121    Spain         1.20
122    Venezuela         1.20
123    Ethiopia         1.20
124    Lithuania         1.20
125    Latvia         1.20
126    Canada         1.10
127    Guinea         1.10
128    Benin         1.00
129    Switzerland         1.00
130    Paraguay         1.00
131    Panama         1.00
132    New Zealand         1.00
133    Madagascar         1.00
134    Bhutan         1.00
135    Central African Republic         0.90
136    Congo, Republic of the         0.90
137    Ecuador         0.90
138    Gambia, The         0.90
139    Ireland         0.90
140    Luxembourg         0.90
141    Tonga         0.90
142    Somalia         0.90
143    Philippines         0.90
144    Kazakhstan         0.90
145    Gabon         0.90
146    Argentina         0.80
147    Sao Tome and Principe         0.80
148    Mozambique         0.80
149    Japan         0.80
150    Austria         0.80
151    Barbados         0.80
152    Bahamas, The         0.70
153    Malta         0.70
154    Dominican Republic         0.70
155    Costa Rica         0.60
156    Honduras         0.60
157    Suriname         0.60
158    Nicaragua         0.60
159    Jamaica         0.60
160    El Salvador         0.60
161    Georgia         0.59
162    Antigua & Barbuda         0.50
163    Mexico         0.50
164    Laos         0.50
165    Cape Verde         0.50
166    Guatemala         0.40
167    Haiti         0.40
168    Moldova         0.40
169    Mauritius         0.30
170    Trinidad & Tobago         0.30
171    Tanzania         0.20
172    Bermuda         0.11
173    Equatorial Guinea         0.10
174    Iceland         0.00


- jR, aka AirFarceOne (Twitter)
Post a Comment