Stats for Socialists: No case for increased military spending.

Boris Johnson has just announced an aim to increase British military spending from 2% of GDP to 2.5% as part of “strengthening NATO defences”, while the new Chief of the armed forces, Sir Patrick Sanders, calls on us to be prepared to fight World War Three on land in Europe.

As this is supposed to counter a threat from Russia, it might make sense to examine what the military balance of forces is and who threatens whom.

British military spending on its own is already larger than Russia’s.

Figures from Stockholm International Peace Institute

NATO military spending, taken together, is 19 times larger than Russia’s.

Figures from Stockholm International Peace Institute

The NATO summit this week has agreed to absorb more countries – at the price of extraditing Kurdish dissidents to Turkey, all in defence of “democracy” of course – increase expenditure still further, deploy more troops to “forward” positions, i.e. close to the Russian border and sustain a long war in Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenburg was quite open about what’s going on. “The reality is that we have been preparing for this since 2014…that is the reason we have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance, why NATO allies have started to invest more in defence, why we have increased our readiness”.

“Readiness” – with 300,000 troops geared up… for what?

Place yourself in either of these pie chart segments and ask yourself which one has more reason to feel threatened.