Global tensions are encouraging countries to better arm themselves

15 December 2017 (Last Updated December 15th, 2017 11:47)

The Peace Research Institute, based in Oslo, estimates that 2016 was the fifth deadliest year since the end of the cold war, despite the overall number of conflicts falling.

Global tensions are encouraging countries to better arm themselves
Image: US Army.

The Peace Research Institute, based in Oslo, estimates that 2016 was the fifth deadliest year since the end of the cold war, despite the overall number of conflicts falling.

The top 100 arms manufacturers have, as a result, reported the first increase in overall sales for five years in 2016 according to The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It is suspected that countries are buying more weapons in order to protect themselves amidst new global tensions. NATO members in particular, who have been decreasing spending in recent years, have now begun to dial it up.

A number of international issues causing concern in members

A number of worldwide wars have drawn in international players and this friction between factions is a problem for global security. For some time now the world’s great military powers have done everything they can to avoid direct conflict between each other, remembering the horrors of the first and second world wars. In 2016 and 2017 some countries have come closer to direct conflict than before in recent memory. The rise of China and its claims in Asian waters, the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars, Russia in Ukraine and continued tension between two factions of Gulf States are all areas that are causing an upturn in military spending and paranoia between military powers.

A new international leadership structure is forming

In 2017 a new international leadership structure has begun to emerge, with China, Japan, Germany and Russia taking on bigger international roles in spite of US actions. This new climate is causing NATO members to question whether they can count on the US for defense purposes in the way they always have since the end of the Second World War, as the US appears to be acting more unpredictably in response to international commitments. This appears to be causing members to invest more in their own capabilities in case the US continues to act unexpectedly in the immediate future.

Trump’s America has less international power and credibility

Increasingly the US’s actions are unilateral and against the wishes of its allies, for instance in the case of the Paris climate accord, where the US pulled out of an international deal that included the vast majority of the world’s nations and going against the will of the international community. This sudden unwillingness to commit to international responsibilities has led to widespread condemnation of the US decision and where in the past the US action might have caused others to do the same, now countries are less afraid to oppose US hegemony.

In 2017 a new international leadership structure has begun to emerge, with China, Germany and Russia taking on bigger international roles in spite of US actions. This new climate is causing NATO members to question whether they can count on the US for defense purposes in the way they always have since the end of the Second World War, as the US appear to be acting more unpredictably in response to internationals commitments. This appears to be causing members to invest more in their own capabilities in case the US continues to act unexpectedly in the immediate future.