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article imageOp-Ed: Which country is most militarized?

By Ken Hanly     Nov 21, 2012 in World
Bonn - While the United States is by far the world's biggest spender on the military, it is not the most militarized country in the world. According to the most recent Global Militarisation Index, Israel is the most militarized nation.
The Global Millitarisation Index is generated by the Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC) in Bonn Germany. The index is based upon several different factors that are given different weights including military budgets, ratio of military spending to GDP, number of military and paramilitary personnel, ratio of number of heavy weapons to the total population and several factors related to comparisons with health expenditures.
Many of the most heavily militarized states are in the Middle East. As well as Israel, five other Middle East countries are in the top ten militarized nations. Syria is number 4, Jordan is 5, Kuwait, 7, Bahrain, 9, and finally, Saudi Arabia, 10. Iran is far down the list at 34. While some Middle East countries are less militarized than others, all rank within the top 40 militarized countries.
Israel has topped the list for most of the last 20 years. Its latest score is 877, 70 points ahead of second place Singapore. The United States with the largest military budget, came in at number 29 with a score of 591. China with the second largest military budget, was much lower on the list at 62 and a score of 414. Significantly, the concentration of militarized states in the Middle East shows what a powder keg the region has become. Much of this powder is provided by the U.S. military-industrial-complex.
The U.S. sold $66 billion dollars worth of arms last year. This is more than triple the $21.4 billion sold in 2010. The largest customers are in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia being the leader with purchases of $33 billion worth of weapons including fighter jets and missiles. The United Arab Emirates and Oman also spent billions. The Obama administration applauds these sales as a great stimulus to the economy. Military Keynesianism seems to be approved by both major parties. Obama claims that sales to Saudi Arabia alone will generate 75,000 new jobs.
Israel is also a major customer of the U.S. although many of the exports to Israel are in the form of aid paid for by the U.S. taxpayer. In 2013 the U.S. will provide $3.1 billion in military aid. This does not count over a half billion for the Iron Dome defense system and other additional aid.
The U.S. sold over 78% of the world's arms in 2011. Russia was second with a mere $4.8 billion in sales not even close to the $33 billion the U.S. sold to Saudi Arabia alone.
While other areas may be hit by austerity, the U.S. makes sure that it nurtures the military-industrial-complex so that it is able to triple export sales in one year.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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