Friday, 14 February 2014

The Price of Eternal Vigilance

Top 10 Defense Spenders.
"The price of liberty is eternal vigilance." Baron Courtney

RankCountryMilitary Spend ($b)Percent of GDPPopulationMilitary Spend per capitaLand Area (sq km)Military Spend per sq km
1United States$503.404.35%316438601$1,590.839826675$51,227.91
4United Kingdom$53.432.49%63395574$842.80243610$219,325.97
8Saudi Arabia$30.987.98%26939583$1,149.982149690$14,411.38

Source: Wolfram Alpha (Military Spend, 2007 est.), CIA World Factbook.

I am surprised to see Japan make the list, especially ahead of Russia. I am a little perturbed too, because I live in Japan. It's not merely that Japan is not allowed to wage war. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution forbids the maintenance of a military. They are, however, allowed a police force.

Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Japan even spends more 'policing' its territory than the U.S. One would wonder if that is money well spent. Perhaps it has unintentionally seeded a military industry that is now sizeable enough to chafe against Article 9, leading to Japan's recent provocative actions - i.e assuming control of the Senkaku/Diaoyu, P.M. Abe visiting Yasukuni shrine. My wife believes an unwritten rule of a minimum military spend has been embedded in national budgets for decades (ah, Japan and its unwritten rules!). That $35.78 billion a year seems to be developing a liberty of its own.

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