Sipri sees increase in nuclear proliferation, reduction in global peacekeeping


The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIRPI) has observed a global reduction in the number of peacekeepers and an increase in the proliferation of nuclear weapons in some regions of the world, according to its recently released Yearbook.

Among various issues, researchers from SIPRI looked at the state of the world’s nuclear forces. The key finding concerning this area is the overall reduction of the global arsenal, and its modernization. Eight states (United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel) possess 4 400 operational nuclear weapons, among which 2 000 are “kept in state of high operational alert.” It is to be noted that the total arsenal decreased from 19 000 in 2011 to 17 265 in 2012, mainly due to reductions of stockpiles in the U.S and in Russia.

However the opposite trend was found in China, India and Pakistan since they have increased theirs. This led Sahanon Kile, a SIPRI’s researcher, to state that “Once again there was little to inspire hope that nuclear weapon possessing sates are genuinely willing to give up their nuclear arsenals. The long term modernization programmes under way in these states suggest those nuclear weapons are still a marker of international states and power.”

Concerning peace keeping operations, SIPRI observed a 10% decreased in terms of deployed personnel. The 2012 statistics are mainly influenced, and in way biased, by the ongoing drawdown of the Afghan ISAF mission. The ISAF excluded there have been 847 more personnel deployed. The total number of peacekeepers is 233 642, still two times the 2003 figures.

The report highlights that because of budget constraints in western countries, “The United Nations Security Council increasingly imposed benchmarks and indicators to evaluate existing UN missions’ effectiveness and efficiency, and linked these to future mandate renewals.” Three new missions started in Guinea Bissau, Niger, and a supervision mission in Syria. At the same time, four ended in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Timor Leste and Syria. The three biggest contributors to peacekeeping operations are the U.S, Great Britain and Pakistan. The ISAF excluded, the top 3 is composed by Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

In this Yearbook 2013, SIPRI notes that in 2012 the global arms sales reached $1 756 billion (2.5% of the Planet’s GDP), down 0.4% from 2011. This is the first decline weapon-related expenditures since 1998.

The United States saw its expenditures decrease by 5.6%, after a previous fall of 1% in 2011. But let’s keep in mind $685.3 billion is still 69% higher, in constant value, than the 2011 figures. Other countries, such as Russia, are seriously increasing their military expenditures, mainly to modernize its army and renew its fleets of ageing aircraft, helicopters, and tanks… In 2012, Russia’s defence budget increased by 16%.

The defence budget cuts in the United States, and in Western Europe, homes of the world’s biggest arms seller such as Lockheed Martin (USA, #1), Boeing (USA, #2), EADS (Europe, #7), Finmeccanica (Italy, #8), have obliged those companies to adapt to those new constraints. The report notes that such strategies consist in “military specialization, downsizing, diversification, and exports and other form of internationalization.”

Conscious of the threat represented by decreased spending over their national defence industrial sector, states have also adopted strategies in order to compensate those reductions by revenues from the export market. The authors observed that some states realized direct arms export promotion, supported cost reductions and also facilitate export procedures. For importers, this situation may help them to “obtain more favourable terms on arms exports.”

One sector that doesn’t know what crisis is, is the blooming world of cyber security. In 2011, cyber security spending was approximately $60 billion (3.5% of world military expenditure).

On a positive note, SIPRI’s researcher found that “death resulting from major organized violence worldwide remained at historically low levels.”

Republished with permission of ADIT – The Bulletin.