The Coming Drag on Economic Growth From Security Competition in Asia and Europe

Feb 16, 2024 | 17:31 GMT

F-35 jets fly in formation.
F-35 jets fly in formation.

(bbevren/Getty Images)

Increasing security competition in Asia and Europe will lead to a significant acceleration of national defense spending over the next decade, but defense spending measured as a share of GDP will remain below levels seen during the Cold War, which will limit the extent to which unproductive defense expenditure will be a drag on economic growth. Recent remarks by former U.S. President Donald Trump about the need for European NATO member states to increase military spending have reignited a debate over the issue. While several EU and NATO officials have criticized Trump, military spending is nevertheless on the rise in Europe and elsewhere. Following the end of the Cold War, global defense expenditure declined sharply. The United States proved a notable exception among the world's largest economies against the backdrop of Washington's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a share of global GDP, global military spending in 2022 was virtually...

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