Concerns over big countries’ military budget increases

(VOVWORLD) -The US Senate passed a 700 billion USD National Defense Authorization Act on Monday. It’s a sizable increase compared to the 2017 military budget and 5% above President Donald Trump’s request. Some other countries have already announced increases in their defense budget.
Concerns over big countries’ military budget increases - ảnh 1The US's F-35 fighter jets (photo: US Military)

Analysts say the economic recovery has enabled countries to pour money into their militaries.

Countries raise military budget

The US national defense bill just passed by the Senate, which is dominated by Republicans, would allow the US to buy new F-35 fighter jets, warships, and Abrams M1 tanks, increase military pay by 20%, and distribute about 5 billion USD to forces in Afghanistan.  The bill authorizes an additional 8.5 billion USD for the Missile Defense Agency, which is much more than Trump’s request for 630 million USD. It includes a base budget of 60 billion USD for Overseas Contingency Operations and certain joint military programs of the US and its European allies. Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain, said the increase is necessary to ensure smooth military operations.

The defense bill shows a determination to reinforce the US’s military strength. During his election, Donald Trump pledged to strengthen security and defense, recruit 90,000 additional soldiers, expand the US navy to 350 warships, give the air force hundreds of new fighter jets, and improve US nuclear capability. He hopes massive military spending will stimulate the economy. Analysts predict that the US will increase the national defense budget to 1 trillion USD during Trump’s administration.

In early September French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said France will increase military spending to 1.6 billion euros next year and higher in the next 3 years. Japan’s Defense Ministry proposed a 48 billion USD military budget for 2018, its biggest ever. It clearly stated that the purpose is to reinforce its missile defense capability. South Korea has pledged to increase its defense budget from 2.4% of GDP to 2.9% in the next 5 years.

Building peace is better than increasing defense budgets

The reasons for countries boosting their defense budgets are obvious: heightened tension in many regions, continued terrorism, global competition, and international disagreements over many issues. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on March 16 that it will require more than military spending to effectively combat terrorism.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that instead of building more weapons, countries should invest in preventing disputes, ensuring peace and inclusive development, respecting human rights, and resolving humanitarian crises.