May 6, 2015:
Although global defense spending declined slightly in 2014 for the third year in a row it still stands at $1.8 trillion a year. While most countries are either reducing or not changing annual defense spending, those that feel threatened have been putting more money into weapons and troops. In 2014 Saudi Arabia, fearful of increasing threats from Iran and Islamic terror groups like al Qaeda and ISIL, increased annual defense spending 17 percent, to $81 billion. Ukraine, under attack by Russia, boosted spending by 20 percent in 2014 and is increasing it even more in 2015. Russia had been boosting defense spending since the late 1990s but sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine and plunging oil prices have led to a slight reduction in 2014 and more declines in 2015.
The U.S., which accounts for about 34 percent of global defense spending reduced its defense budget five percent in 2014. China and India raised their spending as did most of China’s neighbors. This was because of growing Chinese territorial claims on its neighbors. In East Asia there is something of an arms race, largely because of Chinese territorial ambitions.