Introduction – Oct 27, 2019
A nation’s defence spending says as much about its military ambitions as it does about its economy.
America has by far the biggest military budget on the planet. The latest figures for 2018 show that at $649 billion the U.S. spent more than twice as much in 2018 as nearest rival in military spending, China. If nothing else, this reflects the way America sees itself as a global “peacekeeper”.
Although many would dispute claims about America being a “peacekeeper”, military spending doesn’t necessarily equate to military capability. For example, third on the list for global military spending behind China is Saudi Arabia, which spent $67 billion on its military last year. Despite such vast spending however, the poverty stricken Houthi militia have inflicted one humiliating setback after another on the free-spending Saudis.
Perhaps even more telling about its global ambitions is that Russia only ranks sixth on the list of global military spending. That is behind both India and France. Despite claims by commander of the British Army about the threat posed by Russia, this figure alone suggests that Russia doesn’t have any plans to impose its will through force of arms.
Since 2010, as tensions have mounted between Russia and the West, Norway’s military spending has steadily grown.
Russia voices concern over Norway’s defence spending
Polskie Radio English Section – Oct 24, 2019
“Norway is increasing its military budget and its defence spending per capita is now the largest in Europe and the second largest among NATO countries,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
It added: “Norway is modernising its military infrastructure and buying modern weapons. Its military development plans are obviously spearheaded against Russia.”
According to the Russian foreign ministry, NATO allies are increasingly using Norway’s territory and the Norwegian authorities “have actually abandoned” their “commitment to the principle of non-deployment of foreign troops in the national territory in peacetime.”
The foreign ministry in Moscow also said in its statement that “more and more military exercises and drills are being held ever closer to Russia’s land and sea borders.”
Russia’s foreign ministry said its top diplomat Sergei Lavrov would raise these concerns during “an in-depth discussion” with his Norwegian counterpart on Friday.
“We hope that the Norwegian side will provide arguments explaining its active military preparations on Russia’s borders,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
According to Poland’s forsal.pl website, Norway plans to buy military hardware including the latest-generation F-35 fighter jets, submarines and maritime patrol aircraft for its armed forces by 2026 under plans unveiled by the country’s government in March.