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Supplying some much needed context for discussions of military spending in Asia:

The increase in absolute defense spending in Asia obscures an important truth, however; despite the increases, the economies of East and South Asia remain relatively demilitarized in comparison to the Cold War. Apart from North Korea, no South or East Asian country spends more than three percent of its GDP on defense.  India devotes a considerably lower percentage of its economy to defense today than it did during the Cold War. Chinese military expenditures have similarly declined as percentage of GDP.  Russia spends only a tiny fractionof what it spent during the Cold War, and unlike China and India it spends from a smaller pie. Japan, of course, remains constitutionally committed to 1% spending, which remains an enormous amount because of the size of the Japanese economy. By comparison, the United States currently spends 4.5% of its GDP on defense (including costs associated with the ongoing war in Afghanistan) while both Britain and France spend more than 2%.

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  • Urbicande

    Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

  • rea

    In other words, we concede China, India and Japan huge economic advantages, because of our committment to spend so much of our GDP unproductively.

  • Fred

    We win the cold war and the only dividend is our former adversaries spend less and our military industrial complex gets full employment.

  • Wido Incognitus

    I think it’s interesting there are so few comments on this thread after a thread with over 150 comments as of now. I guess the linked article pretty much says what needs to be said. (I do not think I am being polemical or troll-ish by exaggerating something minor or tangential in an absurd way, which is a bad habit that I certainly do. I am just pointing out that I think it is interesting) (All right, I think that I have closure about feeling bad for bothering you people with my nonsense comments. Enjoy your blog!)

  • harminder

    “Apart from North Korea, no South or East Asian country spends more than three percent of its GDP on defense.” – Not exactly: the World Bank link shows that Singapore spends 4-5% of its GDP on defense

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