News Release

U.S. Military Spending Still Dwarfs China, Russia, Iran…

Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept just released his latest project: “EMPIRE POLITICIAN: A Half-Century of Joe Biden’s Stances on War, Militarism, and the CIA.”

DAVID SWANSON, davidcnswanson@gmail.com, @davidcnswanson
Swanson is executive director of World Beyond War and recently wrote the piece “Biden’s Announcement That Trump Got Military Spending Just Right Is Dead Wrong.” Today, he tweeted about New York Times columnist Tom Friedman now claiming: “China is now a true peer competitor in the military.” As Swanson recently wrote: “U.S. military spending is $1.25 trillion per year across numerous departments. Even just taking the $700 billion and change that goes to the Pentagon and stands in for the full amount in media coverage, U.S. military spending has been climbing for years, including during the Trump years, and is the equivalent of many of the world’s top military spenders combined, most of which are U.S. allies, NATO members, and U.S. weapons customers.

“Still using that artificially reduced figure, China is at 37 percent of it, Russia at 8.9 percent, and Iran is spending 1.3 percent. These are, of course, comparisons of absolute amounts. Per capita comparisons are extreme as well. The United States, every year, takes $2,170 from every man, woman, and child for wars and war preparations, while Russia takes $439, China $189, and Iran $114.”

LINDSAY KOSHGARIAN, lkoshgarian@nationalpriorities.org, @natpriorities
Koshgarian is program director of the National Priorities Project, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies. She notes that while Biden is heralding the delayed withdrawal of thousands of troops from Afghanistan, “instead of redirecting any savings to our dire domestic situation, they are plowing those savings right back into the Pentagon.

“The majority of Americans support shifting at least ten percent of the Pentagon budget to pay for other urgent needs. Americans deserve to know that the administration isn’t representing their priorities on Pentagon spending. It’s past time we had a national conversation about the resources being wasted on the Pentagon.”

Earlier this month, the group put out a statement on Biden’s proposed budget: “There is no shortage of options for how to rein in the Pentagon’s excesses. Profitable weapons systems and costly service contracts account for more than half of the Pentagon budget, and the nation’s longest war continues to drain national coffers. Experts from across the political spectrum have put forth detailed proposals for Pentagon cuts that would put real security needs above contractor profits and endless war. … The cumulative cost of these wars has topped $6.4 trillion, and every one of those dollars could have been put to better use. Even a moderate ten percent cut in Pentagon spending could be used to create more than one million jobs in infrastructure, or end homelessness.”