Military money

Worldwide military expenditure in 2008 reached an estimated $1,464bn, an increase of four per cent in real terms compared with 2007.

According to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), worldwide military expenditure in 2008 reached an estimated $1,464bn (£885bn), an increase of four per cent in real terms compared with 2007, and an increase of 45 per cent since 1999.

The US accounted for the majority 58 per cent of the global increase between 1999 and 2008, with its military spending growing by $219bn over the period.

Even so, it was far from the only country to pursue such a course. China and Russia, with increases of $42bn and $24bn respectively, both nearly tripled their military expenditure over the decade.

Other regional powers  particularly India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Brazil, South Korea, Algeria and the UK  also made substantial contributions to the total increase.

Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman from SIPRI, said: ‘The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $903bn in additional military spending by the US alone.’

According to SIPRI, another record was set last year, with the total number of international peace keepers reaching 187,586  a jump of 11 per cent since 2007.

Despite this, some of the ambitious missions being deployed in trouble spots like Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo remain far short of their envisioned strengths.