Wednesday, 18 April 2012

"I'm Spartacus"

Pax Americana et al
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published last year's updated military expenditures; the global total was nearly $1.75 trillion, around 2.5% of Global GDP. Of the top ten spenders, shown in the table above, four are emerging economies, five are advanced economies, and one is an oppressive feudal state. Purchasing Power Parity measured prices should increase emerging economies' expenditure by a factor of 1.5 to 2.

In Market Exchange Rate conversions, Russia has seen a notable increase of 9% compared to 2010, overtaking Britain and France for the third spot. The US still maintains more than four-tenths of the share of global military expenditure. India and China have seen increases corresponding to their economic growth. Brazil, nevertheless, maintains a smaller share of GDP, lacking the military-industrial complex which occupies many a government complexes from Riyadh to the Kremlin.

Much of the military capital stock for emerging economies is outdated compared to advanced economy militaries. India is restocking its air force with a $10 billion contract won by the French aviation manufacturer, Dassault; much to the chagrin of Britain's Eurofighter Typhoon and DFID's Aid Budget. Also on 19th of April, India successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile; a critical instrument for sustaining détente.

China has launched its blue water navy in recent years with plans to fortify the 'first island chains'. Nevertheless, the accumulated military capital stock of the US is enough for it to be the dominant military hegemon at least until the middle of this century; for instance, the US currently maintains eleven naval carrier strike groups, each capable of amphibious assault. Other states currently with similar strike capabilities are arguably only France, India, and Russia, with one carrier strike group apiece; China and Britain are set to join them by the end of this decade.

However, with Britain and France starting to pool their military resources, and with the slight possibility of other European nations joining in, there are likely to be five or six global standing military blocs with the capital stock and manpower threshold to maintain concerted regional and global power projection capability. Leading to a scenario in which if one bloc, say China, discharges some long held grudge it would be ganged up on by the others. A foreseeable global military order in which there are several permutations of détente and containment being played out; but an order which is increasingly likely to be testy and belligerent with an "I'm Spartacus" conformism.