tv Inside Story 2020 Ep 118 Al Jazeera April 27, 2020 8:32pm-9:01pm +03
he's extending weekend lockdowns of the country until the end of the holy month of ramadan. the daily death toll from crown virus in europe's hardest hit countries has fallen to its lowest level in more than a month italy plans to begin easing restrictions in a week's time. and nigerians living in the largest city lagos are being warned that they'll be punished if they don't wear masks when outside the state's governor says this is necessary precaution and is needed because the spread of the virus is still in its early phase and days of heavy shelling are continuing in libya's capital a woman and her young son are reported to have been killed forces loyal to the ward cleaver hafter are accused of bombarding residential areas in tripoli those are the headlines about the al-jazeera news in half an hour but next on al-jazeera its inside story with bernard smith do stay with us. for.
worldwide military spending is that it but. where is all that money going on my government change that. is the coronavirus. this is inside story. hello welcome to the program i'm bernard. now it's often said that war is good for business conflicts drive up demand for weapons defense equipment and soldiers and
it appears last year was a bumpy year the stockholm international peace research institute says global military spending grew to nearly 2 trillion dollars that's a more than 7 percent increase over 10 years but the trend may change as the coronavirus pandemic devastates the world's economies 5 countries account for more than 60 percent of the world's military expenditure the us is by far the world's largest spender at $732000000000.00 that's more than a 3rd of the global military budget china is in 2nd place a $261000000000.00 up 5 percent from $28.00 team india is 3rd at $71000000000.00 it's the 1st time 2 asian nations are among the top 3 then it's russia and saudi arabia despite a 16 percent decrease in spending compared to 2080 germany's defense budget rose by
10 percent to $49000000000.00 the biggest increase among the world's top 15 military spenders. let's bring in our guests from sweden's capital we have peter weatherman he's the senior research of the arms and military expenditure program at the stockholm international peace research institute from leipzig in germany adam need director of the australia base to china policy center and from glasgow in the u.k. andrew smith spokesman for the campaign against the arms trade thank you all for joining us peter to you 1st of all do you see a main driver in this increase in spending the. increase in spending is driven by a wide variety of courses depending on region to region. contrary to country but of course as the united states is by far the largest military spending
in the world it's always important to live there and there i think we can say that it's true but ministration in particular is really seeing a return to the great power rivalries of the past and believes that military spending military capability is an important foreign policy tool there now of course we see something similar in china there it is not so much a return to being a very large spender but to actually having an economy that has growth over many years to the point that it can actually now be the 2nd largest military spender in the world and leaving the others except for us of course far behind them so very different reasons but still kind of connected and then of course we look elsewhere in the world in europe we see a perceived threat from rush hour which is driven military spending increases in for example germany and in the middle east we see a number of wars and conflicts ongoing and of course also the rise and fall of my
house which will have contributed to military spending in the world out of your focus of interest is is china what is the driver you see for their at their increase in spending. i certainly she's a means to rejuvenate the chinese nation so though and so that's the way he put said and military how power is a very important element of that because i think interview of beijing soft power economic power and status in the world is underpinned by a variety of different kinds of power combinations and hard power underlie all of that so as a result china has been increasing its military spending for a number of decades now so notwithstanding the overall and unprecedented increasing global defense spending with china in particularly the that the new report shows 5 percent increase in defense spending which is actually relatively low when you look at it compared to official chinese figure which in recent years range from 67 to 8 percent coming off actually double digit growth for
a number of years but i think in the long run chinese military spending whoa probably trend towards g.d.p. and that is around 666 percent rather before before the outbreak a convent 19 but i think i think i think essentially china believes that hard power . is extremely useful for any imperative to its increasing stash in a wild and strategic ambitions around the world donald trump and i likes all things military. says that china sees a benefit in increasing its hard power what other what drives do you see this increasing military spending alternately i think ego and desire for power are very large parts of the equation securely in the united states where it's a general election year this year it's no surprise that donald trump has run not military spending as part of his american 1st agenda has to be an electorate but i
think whatever we see born in conflict wherever we see beach no instability will always be arms companies who are looking to off it run it on the transmitter farms also fuels. these conflicts in turn in particular jet the ongoing conflict in yemen for example which is create worst humanitarian crisis while it is a war which is one leaping possible because of the sale of arms from the unite from the united states from united kingdom from upper arms exporting government so these weapons are not doing anything to meet the people of yemen any saverin active treaty it's the worst humanitarian catastrophe anywhere in blue waters and i think what covert 19 has shown us how interdependent our security really has been that will really cause a some reflection pause in the ever greater militarization we're seeing across the world and we'll hopefully see we're only just starting to think about cooperation
rather than an ever intensifying rivalry riches being which is being fueled by ever greater arms sales data increasing though these numbers are as you suggest could they in fact be the real figures be higher than that china could be spending much more than reveals on its military on research and development for example russia has more spending power spends in rubles from a domestic military producing supplier so all these figures real or could they be more. figures are of course no more than at the next minute they are based on what governments report they're not necessarily just saying this will go go go go government report about their so called the friends family so take a look at china what we thought about chinese military spending is significantly higher than the budget for the ministry of defense in china and in china they go home at which certain question marks they argue that military spending is not necessary and that time when we include different types of other spending than just
the spending of the ministry of defense in our total estimates now of course the next question you have is ok but what is a dollar worth in china and what is it in the us what can you buy the united states and of course it's true that on average you can buy more for a dollar then you in in china then you can buy in the u.s. and you have to take that into account too but he warns that you have to be very careful when using military spending when you want to understand military capability the fact that china can spend more for each goal though and then the u.s. can doesn't necessarily mean they really are able to get more that say bang out of each book than us so our figures are in the 1st place there to provide to the 1st kind of starting point for discussion about the impact of military spending on the global economy on the economy of certain countries and trying to understand which
priorities states make when it comes to their government spending whether they spend reading or on the military saying every all whether they are willing to as it is now the case maybe spend more on how carol or on trying to save the economy. china's military budget is famously opaque is it spending a lot more than we even think it is all but even if it's spending so much more is it getting value for money out of what is spent. yes certainly i mean there's certain there's certainly questions about the transparency of chinese military spending including which items are included and we charge him on not. as peter alluded to and i think that i think the key point is that this is a contest this space even for a you know for china for russia for being on the states to a certain categories of spending which you are i might consider military with military applications that are not consistent not considered as as purely military
spending so i think we have to be aware of that china's military defense spending has certainly been growing significantly over the last few decades and that's as peter alluded to again filled by economic development in china i think a large part of that a large part of that goes to salary and personnel costs which is a big part of defense budget and has china's wage increases this is going to put more pressure on defense budgets saudi official figure put that around 28 percent it's pretty consistent fluctuating between 28 to 36 percent i think in recent decades so why just are getting more expensive which gives the chinese military incentive to to reduce its force but at the same time equipment is costing more and more all the time in fact the cost of new technology is skyrocketing in both absolute terms but also in proportional terms now also increasing push push on terms rather mainly due to how expensive this new technology is. so i think we just
have to be aware of these 2 factors when considering china's military spending under you took on the on the coronavirus just before there's been a deepening in recent months of mistrust between the u.s. and china because of the origins of the coronavirus do you think that's going to lead to more military spending or will in the end the realities of the. recession forced cutbacks across the board i think what we'll see is possibly short term debt can military spending depending on how long the current locked lines go on far by scott no date at the end that lead up to the election this november donald trump will be trying to make it to china not election and a large part of that will be focused on ever expanding military ayers and of course it's illusionary you can't use a nuclear weapon against a virus you can't use an aircraft carrier against
a fire us and i think what we've virus to shorten this bit's actually health care is an awful lot more important health to wealthy than military pilot is and. my concern is that the china action travel is that a dangerous one because it isn't just in china are also seeing india for example spending increasing amounts as well and and heavily armed worlds is not necessarily a safer world we have to be looking to cut back on money which is being spent on new and powerful weapons new and new ways to kill people because it hasn't created stability my concern is is the u.s. election draws near and we're going to see ever more reactionary rhetoric from the white house and probably see candidates trying to say that each other to see who can spend more money on them on weapons more money and knowledge and it just creates some than what a tranced looking forward thing to do you also see that only only
a temporary dip in spending as economic realities bite or all i'm will us than go head to head again with china in the run up to the election the u.s. election. as with everything it's very hard to predict anything right now but if you just look back. 10 years ago when we had the financial crisis that too a very significant economic crisis in certain confusing europe and tickler those countries that see a temporary deep in their military spending so between back 2040 after that and even if these were mainly countries in central europe after that the perception of threat from rochelle increased so much that they also and also. using the economic growth which started again in those countries they were able than to to restart military spending too and this might be a scenario which we may see also following this and then we can now make recession we will most likely see i think an extreme form this year at the same time if we
look at reality right now and we also see already now how can react very differently to the. economic recession and all that we see for example that the can we live like in the media has already announced it will cut some of its military spending in 2020 to be able to deal with some of the effects of the and the army whereas for example here in europe norway which also service from the primary in in different ways including the economically know it has already announced that despite all of these it is intending to increase its military spending already now and and also already in the coming year so it will be a very diverse picture with some countries will choose for political reasons and even for economic reasons arguing that the military and spending can be part of the
economic stimulus package will argue for at least sustaining more of these increasing military spending whereas others were clearly saying no we can't do that right now we will have to cut we will have to slow down you kreis military spending to get it might be the case that many countries are forced to re-evaluate spending priorities propose spending more money on health care and social care as a consequence of coronavirus that on defense like china be forced to reevaluating spending priorities to absolutely come before them before the outbreak of combat 19 military spending was already toilets to increase in military spending was already decreasing. converging to. as long term g.d.p. gross which which this year they target as 6 percent. but given the convience situation the growth target as well as china's military spending in the next year is potentially significantly affected but that's that's likely to be
a short term dip and i think no long term military spending will continue to rise but rising at a rate that's fairly fairly in line or at least converging towards civi growth but just to give some context china is at least china's official defense spending as a percentage of g.d.p. is hovering around 2 percent so this is this is actually low compared to other countries such as us and russia what what that really means is that if beijing feels threatened then it does have it does have the means of ramping up its investment in military capabilities andro want to ask about arms control treaties and the effect they have all military spending the fact is they're losing impact losing influence arms control treaties the start treaty needs to be extended by february 2021 next year there's no indication that russia of the us are ready to do
that how important a treaty is like that to trying to control military spending. the treaty is only as strong as the political will which it's based on and that think treaty for that has been the arms trade treaty b u n patton street treaty which has been an incredibly weak piece of legislation with a number of goals which have been exploited quite happily arms exports and governments ultimately words are easy that tricks incredibly easy but it is classical well which is required because it's not just military spending which is a problem as well it's those weapons are used for it's been 17 years night example since a u.s. led invasion of iraq and yet the consequences of this are deadly consequences people are still living with every day in iraq it's very easy to talk your way into a war that any hard to win to maintain and build peace afterwards what concerns me
about a lot of the treaties as bit they have proven themselves to be just words and that when push comes to shove it is state interests which should be in the driving agenda russia's military spending group has coincided with an increasingly aggressive foreign policy for example and these do need to be reined in but they need to be arraigned and by a political will and a desire to do so and we do need to see international solutions but what has to happen at will now as well peter are a lack of effective international treaties helping to to add to this increase in spending you think. i think it's certainly one thing one can say you are the minority see how your arms control is no longer very high on your gen that there is still attempts to come to some sort of arms but it's very hard to achieve not talk about the arms control in which for example british and european states together it's because the number of weapons that they have and how they can deploy them and
where to and only them and which conditions they go into conformity sort of out at all these kind of efforts are a little bit on the backburner the more so because stray she has also chosen to step away from that kind of motif that's released approach and i think that in itself will happen in fact military spending probably close to complete and that he can hold back but still if this continues you countries can't come to some sort of agreement some sort of diplomatic channels in which they discuss the level of armaments they have and which they try to explain why they have them and try to do with back in the best way we can see that there will be a continuing mom growing to offer some of the major military spends in the world particularly u.s. china russia and europe adam i suppose there would be no interest that would there from the chinese side for any sort of treaties like this they're already very paucity of nuclear weapons in comparison to the u.s.
and europe would make them hang back from anything like that wouldn't it yeah absolutely certainly in the nuclear around china has significantly less of a nuclear stockpile a nuclear weapons stockpile and and both u.s. and china both the u.s. and russia rather so beijing has beijing has made a very clear that it's not interested in trying to actually cautions on nuclear arms control since it sees itself as being a position where it's significant weight then the other 2 eating nuclear weapons powers and there's does every incentive for china to actually excel or a nuclear modernization program so not a priority. beijing certainly not a priority for the trumpet house untrue do you see a connection between the increase in sort of nationalist rhetoric from many governments perhaps from the u.s. from some in eastern europe a little from china from other parts of the world as well as a correlation with that increase in military spending i do i think that randomly
here more national stretch or can we see more nationalist sureness among the world stage i think what that fuels is very often fear and there's a difference one industry which drives on thier it's the arms industry isn't an industry which is entirely based on their feeling of conflict and the feeling of war and refract of war and conflict and when we see governments who are treating this the agenda we have it has theater china rivers of russia they are also government see they are very cruel military don't tend to get nationalist right wing populist governments who are taking a less militaristic line and i think that is very concerning i think the whole nationalist narrative we're seeing around world and not just in the u.s. but beyond as well has to be very concerning that mr coming u.s. election is going to be very important i don't think that there we would see
a giant get a huge change to foreign policy the democrats won but i think a lot of negative trends which we're seeing were becoming exacerbated even more by aid donald trump presidency in its 2nd term and with even less restraint on it peter does that there's that suggestion of increased nationalism nationalist rhetoric in certain countries in korea lead to an increase in military spending have you seen that. it's very hard to prove statistically that these necessarily the case and i think you can also see very different countries still following similar lines yes it is true that and then we are of countries in europe ways nationalistic voice it's becoming very important in politics and and that may come with an increase in military spending but at the same time it's not necessarily so that the nationalistic voices for example are in power in germany or even here in sweden in sweden we actually have a show democratic go go go got government it still despite that we see that both
countries are increasing their military spending significantly in recent years from only down again due to what they see there as a growing potential threat from russia on top of the other issues that plague so there's always this kind of on the one hand there is how different political groups may use. their military as kind of a way to. enhance their own power to us as part of their whole narrative but on the other hand our fools also security assessment council security assessments we lead to conclusions about how military capacity should be increased because of his belief that military capacity can deal with certain pockets issues and indicates sweden or germany there are clear scribes curity policy issues related to the draft and rush out war for example to transform i asked which informed the final decision about actually increases in military
spending but yes of course and i do agree there that also the industry has an interest in pushing for higher military spending and they will do it in a fast as a nobody to influence that and to to to increase military spending ok very quickly just from from you adam in the future what what why does what does china see as a concern for its security particularly in its part of the world in the asia pacific region what is driving china mainly. for the same there are a number of things but the the increasing contentiousness of u.s. china relations is certainly on beijing's mind very much but also a potential taiwan scenario as well as potential contingencies in the south china sea where china has often claims that are disputed by other powers that my bringing
u.s. power play so i think china is playing for number or scenarios but taiwan is south china sea being on the top of that list are right gentlemen unfortunately we are out of time to get in the so the so much more to discuss but for another day but thank you for the moment for joining us it's to peter was a man to and the other me and to andrew smith and to thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our web site al-jazeera dot com and for more debate go to our facebook page facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you know to join the conversation on twitter we are at 88 inside story from me bernard smith and the whole team here.
as the world fights the corona pandemic we're learning more about this every day it's a new passion that your new join our global community it's up to us on how we come to be able to fight i'm sorry your questions and i just honestly think this is directly what's coming on on you tube as you're saying i'm concerned about the front like oh nothing or a quiet and not keeping you up to date i mean seeing countries retreat back and beating back successfully the strain on not just iraq.
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