The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute will today release its report detailing global military expenditure.
The US will once again register the highest military outlay, while China—the world’s second largest military spender—is expected to record growth in military spending, correlating to its growing economy. However, the most interesting trend could be Russia; the report is expected to show its military spending falling for the first time this century, with 2017 spending some 20% lower than in 2016.
As such, today’s report will be a powerful demonstration of the Western sanctions’ effectiveness, which have crippled Russia’s economy since 2014. Whereas Russia has been able to protect its defence spending in the past by diverting cuts to other industries, such as education, those sectors cannot afford to suffer further reductions.
With further sanctions expected over Russia’s role in Syria, the country is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Moscow must either find a way to reconcile with the West to achieve sanctions relief or risk further reducing defence expenditure.
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Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.