Disarmament Week? But hundreds of atoms could be launched in a matter of minutes – a global problem

Global military spending has risen to nearly two trillion dollars by 2020, an increase of 2.6 percent in real terms since 2019. Credit: UN Photo / Rick Bjornas
  • Bahr Kamal (Madrid)
  • Inter Press Service

And the world’s nuclear arsenal is packed with about 150 nuclear weapons, hundreds of which could be launched in just a few minutes.

Also while the Nobel Peace Prize winner, the World Food Program, recently celebrated that the European Union – which has many military powers – has provided only 2.5 million euros in humanitarian aid to help vulnerable refugees in Tanzania.

Or when Afghanistan is on the brink of universal poverty and could plunge into 97% of Afghan poverty by mid-2022, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said last August for 24 24 million, outlining the need for immediate funding. This Asian, war-torn country has been the victim of 20 years of military operations by the largest military spending power to press for humanitarian needs.

What are all these weapons for?

In addition to the national security argument in the ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, part of such a large stockpile of weapons has been used by the world’s largest military spenders.

Another portion is being sold or trafficked to so-called “rebel” or “rebel” groups, fueling regional and local armed conflict in at least a dozen countries, including DR Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Nigeria.

Who spends the most?

But let’s go back to some of the key findings included in last April’s report by the prestigious, independent International Institute dedicated to research on conflict, weapons, arms control and disarmament: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI):

. By 2020, global military spending will have reached nearly two trillion dollars This amount represents a real 2.6 percent increase from 2019 ৷ The increase comes a year after global gross domestic product (GDP) fell 4.4 percent, largely due to the economic impact of the Kovid-19 epidemic.

. The top five spenders in 2020, which together accounted for 62 percent of global military spending, were the United States, China, India, Russia and the United Kingdom.

. Strong growth in U.S. military spending continued in 2020, as the world’s largest energy spending reached an estimated 8 778 billion, representing a 4.4 percent increase over 2019, as it accounted for 39 percent of total military spending in 2020.

. China’s military spending, the world’s second-highest, is estimated at মোট 252 billion in 2020. This represents a 76 percent increase over the 2011-20 decade.

. Almost all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have seen their military burden increase in 2020.

. In 2020, military spending across Europe will increase by 4.0 percent.

Nuclear arsenals increase as states continue to modernize

About a few months later, on 14 June 2021, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute began its findings. Yearbook 2021, Which assesses the current state of arms, disarmament and international security.

World Atomic Energy Agency, January 2021

Country Deployed Warhead Other warheads Total 2021 Total 2020
America 1800 3650 5550 5600
Russia 1625 4 630 6 255 6 375
UK 120 105 225 215
France 280 10 290 290
China 350 350 320
India 156 156 150
Pakistan 165 165 160
Israel 90 90 90
North Korea
Total 3 825 9 255 13 080 13 400

Source: SIPRI Yearbook 2021.

A key finding of this is that while the number of nuclear warheads has declined overall in 2020, there have been more deployments with operational forces.

The nine nuclear-armed states – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) – together had an estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons. Of 2021. Occupying these states in early 2020, SIPRI estimates that it has dropped from 13,400.

2,000 nuclear weapons in “high operational alert”

Cipri’s Yearbook 2021 explains that despite this overall decline, the estimated number of nuclear weapons currently deployed with operational forces has risen to 3,825, from 3,720 last year. Of these, about 2,000 – almost all of them from Russia or the United States – were placed on high operational alert.

Two countries, 90% of all nuclear weapons

Russia and the United States together have more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. Both have extensive and costly programs to replace and modernize their nuclear warheads, missiles and aircraft supply systems and manufacturing facilities, SIPRI concluded.

Last but not least those who go to the polls should be aware that the slightest human or technical error or a hasty political verdict could kill every living creature on the planet.

More info

  • In addition to China, India (72 72.9 billion), Japan (.1 49.1 billion), South Korea (.7 45.7 billion) and Australia (.5 27.5 billion) were the largest military spenders in Asia and Oceania. All four countries increased their military spending between 2019 and 2020 and in the 2011-20s.
  • One of the world’s poorest regions, sub-Saharan Africa increased its military spending by 3.4 percent to .5 18.5 billion by 2020. The highest increases were in Chad (+31 percent), Mali (+22 percent), Mauritania (+23 percent) and Nigeria (+29 percent), all in the Sahel region, as well as Uganda (+46 percent)).
  • In 2020, military spending in South America fell 2.1 percent to .5 43.5 billion The decline was mainly due to a 3.1 percent drop in spending by Brazil, the largest military spender in the sub-region.
  • Meanwhile, the combined military spending of 11 Middle Eastern countries for which SIPRI 2020 spending figures fell 6.5 percent to 3 143 billion.

Source: SIPRI

© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedSource: Inter Press Service

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