The Iranian "Threat"
Here we go again with a story that’s altogether too familiar. Iran is being accused of secretly developing nuclear weapons and threatening its neighbors. Once again, we’ll hit them with another round of sanctions and rattle sabers, not because they actually did something to someone, but because we suspect that their nuclear designs are something other than peaceful.
I’m a firm believer that any policy has to be based on a truthful premise. If the premise one starts off with is false, then it follows that any policy crafted thereon will be false as well. How big of a threat is Iran really? A quick perusal of the chart and accompanying narrative below might lead to a different conclusion than that put forth by the press. Our nation spends about 48% of the world’s total military expenditure while “big and bad Iran” spends less than a half percent. How can Iran possibly be a threat with those sorts of numbers? They simply can’t be a threat unless they put themselves in peril as any nuclear attack by them would ensure their annihilation.
There are some who would argue that the US spends far less a percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP) on the military when compared to some middle eastern countries, however that argument doesn’t wash as their high spending relative to GDP is actually driven by us selling weapons to them; weapons, I might add, that are developed thanks to the US taxpayer subsidizing the military industrial complex.
Moreover, our nation has a disgraceful history of incessant meddling with Iran beginning with the CIA sponsored coup to overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and the installation of the despotic Shah of Iran. This was done to ensure uninterrupted access to Iranian oil at favorable prices. It was these events which led uprising against the Shah, the Carter administration’s hostage crisis and the rise of fundamentalist Islam in Iran. No doubt, this history still reverberates today in the relations between our two nations.
Sadly, there really is no real news reported in the country any longer. The news should inform and allow one to put events in context and ultimately to make informed judgements about the nation’s policies and direction. But that’s not the purpose of the news. The real purpose of most of the news is to manufacture your consent on the basis of half truths and outright lies. For those of us who like to be well informed, this is an insult to our intelligence and reinforces the idea that the only way to get the news is the search it out yourself.
Comparing US with others
In other words,
- US military spending accounts for 48 percent, or almost half, of the world’s total military spending
- US military spending is more than the next 46 highest spending countries in the world combined
- US military spending is 5.8 times more than China, 10.2 times more than Russia, and 98.6 times more than Iran.
- US military spending is almost 55 times the spending on the six “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) whose spending amounts to around $13 billion, maximum. (Tabulated data does not include four of the six, as the data only lists nations that have spent over 1 billion in the year, so their budget is assumed to be $1 billion each)
- US spending is more than the combined spending of the next 45 countries.
- The United States and its strongest allies (the NATO countries, Japan, South Korea and Australia) spend $1.1 trillion on their militaries combined, representing 72 percent of the world’s total.
- The six potential “enemies,” Russia, and China together account for about $205 billion or 29% of the US military budget.
Top spenders ranked (and sources)
|Country||Dollars (billions)||% of total||Rank|
|Source: U.S. Military Spending vs. the World, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, February 22, 2008Notes:
If you are viewing this table on another site, please see http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending for further details.
|United Arab Emirates||9.5||0.65%||19|
|Global Total (not all countries shown): 1,472.7|