Defense: China could spend as much as the United States by 2028

According to a report issued by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) (1), France lost in 2017 for the benefit of India its fifth place in the world rankings of military expenditures.

With a decline of 1.9% in military spending, France spent USD 57.7 billion for its military, or 2.3% of its GDP. At the same time, India spent USD 63.9 billion, a significant increase of 5.5% year-on-year, ultimately doubling its military budget since 2008.

Out of a global total of USD 1.7 trillion military spending, the US alone totals USD 610 billion, China multiplies its own by 2.6 since 2008 from USD 86.3 billion to USD 228.2 billion while the budget of Russia drops 20% in just one year to USD 66.3 billion, a first decrease since 1998. Saudi Arabia has the third world military budget with USD 69.6 billion.

According to Cyceon, this annual SIPRI report, of which one reminds that it is based on open sources and that classified budgets may not be taken into account, provides three essential insights.

First, Chinese military spending still accounts for only about a third of US spending but at the pace observed in recent years, it can be estimated that the Chinese military budget could equal that of the United States by 2028.

Then, if one combines the military budgets of France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, Europe totals USD 178.5 billion, or about 3 times more than China per capita, but still 3 times less than the United States.

Finally, the “great power” of Russia is mainly based on its nuclear arsenal and seems somewhat overvalued since its military budget is 3 times lower than that cumulated of the member countries of the European Union (EU).

In conclusion, Europe represents the third world military budget but suffers from a severe gap between its military spending and its real geopolitical influence; China catches up with the United States at a rapid pace.

Notes

(1) Ranking of world military expenditure by country, SIPRI, May 2, 2018.