Saturday, May 21

Realism to reduce military spending

Experts in war and politics say that pacifists, even if they say interesting things, are goodies and that his opinion should not be taken seriously. It is true that history is made of wars. You just have to go to the history books to find out. From the wars of independence to the wars of liberation, from the wars of seven, thirty or a thousand days to the wars of evangelization, from civil wars to world wars. Seen this way, it might seem appropriate to prepare for war, to increase military budgets, until the next war. Yesterday, SIPRI published a new record figure for world military spending that in 2021 exceeded 2 trillion dollars (2,113 bill USD) for the first time in history. As usually happens every year, the military budget is raised by many and lowered by few. And those who lower it is because they had already increased it before. Militarization has been on the rise not only in 2021, but in the last twenty years governments around the world have increased global military spending by 102%. The United States continues to monopolize the largest part of world military spending, with 801 billion dollars (36% of the total). In Europe it increased by 3% in 2021, in Central and Western Europe it did so by 3.1% due to the investment to acquire new weapons and Military R&D. The Member States of the EU dedicated 257 billion dollars (12% of the total). In Eastern Europe it increased by 2.3%, mainly due to the increase in Russian spending, 65.9 billion dollars (3% of the total) that was already being prepared for the invasion of Ukraine. Up to this point everything checks out, warmongering, the attitude in favor of war as a means of resolving conflicts, would tell us that we have to arm ourselves and prepare for war.

But no, militarism is fortunately not the only option. Many countries and regions have achieved high levels of security without the need to maintain expensive military structures. The pacifist options, which propose the abolition of war as a solution to conflicts, are more favorable and beneficial for society and security. History books tell of the extraordinary, or what those who won the wars want. Real history, that of ordinary people, the one that is not written in textbooks, is built in periods of peace, which luckily are the majority.

Experience shows us that militarization does not cause greater security, neither in places of peace nor in places of conflict or tension. The militarism and armament prior to the First World War and its non-peaceful resolution have been identified as determining factors that led to the world wars. The arms race and the growing militarization shown by current military spending data can lead us to a similar scenario. According to University of Uppsalasince the year 1996 when the increases in military spending began, active armed conflicts in the world have grown from an average of 36 active armed conflicts each year to 53 since 2014, when military budgets increased again after the 2008 crisis Military spending does not generate more employment, as several studies show, such as the one by Brown University, which proves that investment in military spending generates even less than half of employment than investing in education, health or renewable energy. In addition, military missions are not for defense but to a large extent have the objective of helping to bring oil and gas from places of conflict. For example, from 2018 to 2021, Italy, Spain and Germany have spent more than 4,000 million euros on military missions whose purpose has been to ensure imports of crude oil and gas, as shown by a Greenpeace report. On the other hand, there are countless examples that prove that military spending neither prevents nor promotes military invasions. There are countries with huge military spending involved in endless wars and countless countries with negligible military spending that do not live under the threat of military invasion by any neighboring army or great military power.

If increasing military spending does not improve employment, prevent wars or military attacks, and increase security and reduce tensions in places of conflict, what good is it? One answer may lie in whoever wins with it, a perverse interest group who see their profits multiply and their share prices rise at the same time as wars and promises of increases in military budgets follow one another. And who loses? The usual ones. First, those who suffer from the violence of weapons and are forced to run away from the wars generated by the weapons we sell themoften with money earmarked for International Cooperation, such as the European Fund for Peace, created to finance the purchase of European weapons by armies in which there are EU military training missions.

They say that pacifist proposals are utopian and unrealistic, that they belong to a world that does not exist, that it is simple goodness to which not to pay more attention. If peace is what we want to have, behavior based on the belief that problems can be resolved through dialogue, solidarity and tolerance, seems in any case a more positive and realistic position than the one that opts for violent means. to resolve conflicts. The peace proposals of the global campaign on military spending (GCOMS) seem more reasonable than the routes malists leading the world to endless wars. Because what is truly utopian is to think that with more military spending we will have fewer wars. Militarism has been the hegemonic option for decades and its failure has been resounding not only in Europe but in half the world.

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