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to the generally iffy Iraq and Afghanistan), I think this general review of militarization of nations, though it's now outdated, is worth posting again as food for your thoughts.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.

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)

Very American, Tea Party Republicans

This 2013 shutdown showdown is like a Charles Dickens story, except in this story the thing that represents the controlling, mean old man is the protagonist, not the outnumbered, mocked and chastised orphan

MORE FAKE BLAME: It's almost entirely the Republicans' fault we have political discord and federal economic problems. Oh yeah?
Aside from the helping-nothing partisan bias and rampant mass media affection for sloppy budgeting, the tragically disinterested and ignorant (the nanny state lovers among which the Democrats are fully invested in pandering to), and the feckless "I wanna be on the smooth talkers' side" fanboy-ism among otherwise seemingly healthy population, there's this:

Obama called GW Bush's efforts to lift the debt limit "un-American" in a lengthy lecture about how terrible it is back when he was a senator and our fiscal situation was far less dire -- thanks to the Bush and Obama agendas, however, it is worse.

But Obama has seen to it that it got much more worse, while he and the Democrats had all the cards. In Jacksonville, Fla., recently, as Sunshine State News spelled out, "Obama boasted of 'halving the deficit.' That means every year [of his administration] the government has spent FAR MORE than it took in but now the OVERspending has diminished yet STILL IS MUCH HIGHER than the highest deficit that occurred under [GW Bush]. That's his (OBAMA'S) measure of success?"

Uh, yes it is? 

What else is there to brag about, but backing out of Iraq (leaving a mess: how very hopey changey and caring that was, Mr. President) and killing bin Laden (ooo, no other president would have signed off on that, what a big man)? What else: ObamaCare? That isn't a success and probably won't be, because the very propaganda about it deceives everyone and the nearly all the mass media IGNORES THE GORILLAS PANTING IN THE CORNERS.

One example: the WH and nearly every story I stumbled across does not mention -- and certainly aren't doing it clearly, if they do -- that the deductibles under Obamacare's "low-cost" health coverage plans are ENORMOUS. Like, around $3500 or $6000 per year, to start. So, are we just wanting to have the poor to pretend they have insurance that means something, like the poor were allowed to pretend they could afford to buy a house under a horrendous 1990s federal mortgage program?

The unseemly propaganda machine behind ObamaCare seems to me to be simply a multilayered, purposefully confusing pressure sales effort to badger anyone who's breathing, a citizen, and not insured (or insured and looking) into getting this subsidized insurance. As if those who use ERs for general medical care will no longer do so, just like that, in a matter of years. Problem solved.

Nope. Still going to happen.

We need to change the system, and Obama deserves respect for being idealistic enough to put health care reform out front back in 2008-09. But too much about ObamaCare is just bureaucratic and regulatory carpet-bombing of the medical industries, hurting professionals, certain types of jobs, various providers, small businesses, and even the economy as a whole. Health care is often claimed to be 1/7 to 1/5 of the entire economy.

Yet, Obama and the Democrats REFUSE to consider adjustments to that one-party law -- no Republican voted for ObamaCare. The Democrats are casting outrageous names and phrases against those who have refused to accept no for an answer from the White House, regarding fiscal compromise. That is the White House and Democratic leaders compromising? How so, exactly??!

ObamaCare's estimated costs have risen so fast, and it's tie-in with the growth of the IRS (what's the IRS got to do with health care otherwise, for crying out loud?) is so ominous, that it seems obvious that it is more a government growth plan than a help to citizens. It will mostly build federal and state bureaucracies and burden a chunk of medical industries and not really "save money" for government or industry, or help poor and uninsured people. Why is this OK with people? Lack of awareness? Is it the desire to adore the U.S. President, no matter what? Is it a blind belief it will help the poor?

Don't discard all that is ObamaCare, but work it into something... less pro-government.

But maybe too many Americans are no longer in favor of America. A recent poll showed that the huge majority of people in the U.S. think government is supposed to control the people. Guess what: America was founded on the idea that government isn't supposed to do that. Ever heard of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"? Look it up if you haven't. Government is supposed to be servant, not master, in America. Kinda the reason why we busted Britain's chops in the 1700s -- too much elitism in government. 

There's no reason to stop piling regulations onto private industry if the public and the industries don't push back. So, who's pushing back?

In the case of ObamaCare, it looks like it's primarily some House Republicans who are treated like the unwanted stepchildren of a miserable dysfunctional home, by the crusty, nanny-state bureaucrats they are acting out against. This 2013 shutdown showdown is like a Charles Dickens story, except in this story the thing that represents the controlling, mean old man is the protagonist, not the outnumbered, mocked and chastised orphan.

Tea Party Republicans are traditionalists, not radicals, not extremists, except by contrast to the sad state of politics in America today. Their views are simple: limited government, less taxes, and fiscal responsibility. In other words, more freedom for the people, not for the government to control the people. That's radical? I would think desiring MORE government would be the extremist leaning in America. 

If there were something big worth celebrating out of the Obama White House, why would the Democrats' top echelon of leaders -- for starters, Obama, Reid and Pelosi -- be tossing around half-arguments, practice in so much schoolyard name-calling and peddle in such outright untruthful propaganda about Obamacare, the shutdown and the fiscal realities of today?

Name-calling, you ask? Yes, name-calling. How about the terms "anarchists" and "extremists", and the phrases "taking hostages" and "gun to the head"? It that meant literally? Of course not. Is it still absurd to use? Yes, it is. Apparently, Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson (of "just die, and die quickly" ObamaCare rhetorical infamy from his first Congressional term) has opened a school for crazy-talk. Or is it Ed Schultz? Maybe Reverend Wright?

If you don't think that these fringe-worthy phrases from the heart of the Democrats are desperation, then you should just return to your previous state of apathy, distraction and unawareness, because you're just not paying attention. How about "Jihad"? A Democratic congressman (who I won't name because I never heard of him before and hope I don't hear of him again) called Tea Party Republican actions to fight stubborn Obama with equal stubbornness a jihad against ObamaCare. At least he said  an intangible not that it was a jihad against people -- the congressman was more civil than Obama, Reid and Pelosi, as a result.

People elected Obama because they wanted change. But it seems they didn't want healthy change, just more of the nanny state, irresponsible spending, un-American (as Obama himself put it years ago) deficit spending that will turn America into the next has-been world power in another generation or two.

Let Obama be the one to blink for a change. Force him to bend for a change. Instead of claiming he's trying to compromise in silly, baseless sound bites, actually have Obama sit at the table to really, truly compromise, in the spirit of Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and other less rabid political dogs. Obama's easily agitated ego won't allow him to do this without a full-force, duck-and-cover excuse to cover him, but that will at least be fun to watch.

Seeing Obama be a tad fiscally conservative will be a lot more fun than seeing the political orphans in the House GOP get beat up and kicked to the street by their less principled party members and Democrats.

Let the insanity continue, and pray that each sides relents a bit so our fiscal mess won't become even worse. Go on, play chicken with the debt limit, use fiscal conservatism to push some of the left's buttons. Let Obama think about being the president under whom America failed to pay its bills, if he so chooses. Because it won't matter who we blame today. He'll be remembered for it. Let the most stubborn one, Obama, be forced to bend to some of what the political minority in the federal government wants. Other, less cynical and shrill presidents have done so. No reason to Obama should win every time in his chosen game of highly cynical political tactics where tax dollars are concerned.

This country was designed the way it was so that a simple majority rule is weakened by the lesser force of minority opinions. That's part of how the Founders assured that a monarchy would never take hold so long as we didn't reject the essence of the Constitution. America is not designed from a true majority rule concept -- which is often, in effect, mob rule -- as partisan Democrats so often insist. This is a checks and balances design with an ear for the minority, no matter who's in charge.

Like it or not, the POLITICAL MINORITY in this country's federal government isn't the black president, but the Republicans. The GOP ought to get the same regard of any minority. Funny how all the liberals' talk of pandering to minorities disappears when it comes to political choices while they are the majority. Suddenly, the minority is petulant, radical, extreme and threatening to the country. 

A small group of Republicans, the Tea Party Republicans, are trying to make the proven self-absorbed, egotistical cynic in the White House blink. If it doesn't actually reach the point of being honestly dangerous to the country (read: legitimately extremist, not bullshit political name-calling extremist), it isn't to destroy the country, it's trying to make a principled, reasonable minority voice heard amidst a din of pro-government misdirection and hysterical rhetoric.

That is very American.

- jR, aka AirFarceOne (Twitter)

What went wrong in Obama-conomy? Too much, even the NYT saw it (update)

First, they promised jobless numbers well below 8 percent. Then, 400,000 job per month. Then, shovel-ready jobs in the spirit of FDR's CCC. Those jobs were not "so shovel ready," admitted the president. And within all of it, Obama and his folks blamed Bush.
This isn't even leading from behind. This is more like a coach boasting about his successes as a leader and blaming the failures of everyone from other coaches, school administration and game officials, from the sidelines. On Business Insider, this:
"The whole problem can probably be summed up in the infamous chart [image above] made by economic advisor Christina Romer, showing what she projected the unemployment rate would do if the stimulus were enacted vs. what it would have done if it had never been enacted. As you can see, it was way too optimistic, given that unemployment is still over 8 percent."
Update, Oct 2013 (originally published Oct 2012): The quote, above, was from an October 2012 article. The sour economy didn't ruin Obama's reelection bid, however obvious it is that his vows were mere overconfident bluster from an elected leader with far more arrogance about his own knowledge about everything under the sun than actual understanding of economics and job creation. He may have won the election, but he's still losing the economic battle, and a year later, he still refuses to accept his economic and business shortcomings.

Read the Business Insider article: