U.S. Military Spending Almost Equals Rest Of The World Combined

The United States spends almost as much on the military as every other country in the world combined, according to Nicholas D. Kristof, writing in the The New York Times.

America Outspends Every Other Country Worldwide Combined

Here’s what Kristof reports:

• The United States spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It says that we spend more than six times as much as the country with the next highest budget, China.

• The United States maintains troops at more than 560 bases and other sites abroad, many of them a legacy of a world war that ended 65 years ago. Do we fear that if we pull our bases from Germany, Russia might invade?

• The intelligence community is so vast that more people have “top secret” clearance than live in Washington, D.C.

• The U.S. will spend more on the war in Afghanistan this year, adjusting for inflation, than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined.

Is Military Spending Untouchable?

These are shocking statistics. And while all the talk in Congress is of budget cuts, and fear over a rising national debt, apparently no one wants to make any changes with the military.

As Kristof points out, the president’s party is irrelevant: President Obama actually asked for about six percent more for the military this year than the amount allocated at the height of the Bush administration.

Meanwhile, 42% Of American Kids Live In Low-Income Homes

All this in a country where, as Care2′s Ann Bibby wrote a few days ago, 42% of American children live in low-income homes, and a fifth of those children live in poverty. And what about unemployment numbers, and the plight of the homeless in this country, a number that keeps rising?

There’s another issue here too: having a strong military is important, but so is diplomacy. And as Kristof also points out, the U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service.

The Example Of Greg Mortenson

American troops in Afghanistan believe strongly in investing in schools, rather than in bombs. They can see the example of Greg Mortenson, who believes investing in girls’ education yields huge returns and has put his faith, and his life, into building schools for girls in Afghanistan.

As of 2010, Greg Mortenson had established or significantly supported 171 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which provide education to over 64,000 children, including 54,000 girls, where few education opportunities existed before.

The Need For Balance

Providing early childhood programs, boosting support for education, and developing our diplomatic tool bag, are just a few examples of how our tax money could be spent more effectively to protect United States citizens than by ploughing so much into military spending.

A strong and safe country needs more much than a powerful military presence.

Creative Commons - The U.S. Army


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

This is not a new stat. For decades, our military spending has equaled the rest of the world.

More importantly, what does that say about us, the peace-loving America?
It says: we are war-mongers
the military-industrial complex rules.
we are a nation that takes what it wants
we care more about resources than peoples' lives
we are more nationalistic, than patriotic
we feel entitled to more than other peoples

It won't change, unless the U.S. learns humility, and that PEOPLE, NOT ONLY AMERICANS are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I cannot imagine bombastic Americans learning these lessons. (even though Jesus taught them)

Claudia McCall
Claudia McCall7 years ago

And yet a young friend of mine, who scored very high on the Air Force's entrance exam, has been denied entry because he's 6' 9" and they don't want to spend the $ to special-order his uniforms.

Gabriel T.
Past Member 7 years ago

Weapons are used by the weak, the greedy, the coward, or who lives in constant fear of others.
This use shows a serious lack in the ability to reason and understanding as much as it shows little or no respect for people and, of course, for life.
Finally it shows a severe lack in the ability of sharing and comunicating...

All that is above observed to be few is what is needed to live in a society... I guess.

Homework: Is there any compatibility between socialization and militarization?

Ben G.
Ben Goodin7 years ago

Jeffery W, you are a moron.

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago


Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago


Jennifer Martin
Jennifer M7 years ago

This is just disgusting

Ray M.
Ray M7 years ago

Disgusting. Stop the insanity.

Adrian M.
Adrian Magana7 years ago

The cost of war is a folly enterprise with little to no return, nations must invest in means to promote peace, such as developing the impoverished nations, as Maitreya has said, it is only by sharing the world resources that we will achieve peace,
"Maitreya watches these events (militarism) with care. He calculates precisely the tensions and their relaxation as they occur and seeks always to establish equilibrium".

Eric Spaeth
Eric Spaeth7 years ago

These hundreds of billions of dollars are, very unfortunately, filling the pockets and putting food on the table of many Americans. Some of it is just greed. I know an architect who worked on the $150M house of a MIC tycoon - American - with a 40-car garage... That would be bad enough by itself, but it's just as bad that war is the bread and butter of many ordinary Americans.

Unless and until we ante up enough money to convert all these military jobs into other more progressive areas, it's hard to see how Washington is going to have the courage to cut this spending.

One other thing that could help Congress get the ball rolling would be Congressional term limits!