March 24, 2013:
With the sequestration prompting military rollbacks in the United States and nations around the world sensing a growing military vacuum because of the American drawdown, seven nations from Africa to Asia are engaging in an unprecedented military build-up.
The major player in this is China, a nation that is increasingly seen as being an aggressor. Chinese hawks have successfully lobbied for their government to spend nearly $200 billion this year alone, with future increases to come.
The Chinese build-up and aggressive posture in the East and South China Seas is making Japan nervous. Even though Japan’s postwar Constitution forbids an aggressive military force, an aggressive China and the tensions over the Senkaku Islands has prompted Japanese politicians to seek Constitutional changes and a military budget increase to $51 billion. This is Japan’s first increase in over 11 years.
After border skirmishes and numerous scrambling of jets over the frontier, China’s southern neighbor India is increasing spending to $37 billion dollars. India’s other move is to improve military ties to the United States, a move that includes joint ventures on aircraft and other military hardware.
Iran’s growing aggressive threat has gotten the attention of military planners in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, two Arab nations who are building special operations units and looking to purchase fighter aircraft and other hardware, if not from the U. S., from France and Russia.
In North Africa the recent gas plant hostage incident encouraged Algeria’s Defense Ministry to hike military spending to $10 billion dollars, a move that includes shopping in Russia for tanks and fighter aircraft.
If there’s an ironic twist to this scenario, it is that Russia, a major producer and supplier of military hardware to several of the nations listed, is increasing their military spending to $97 billion by 2015. In spite of the perception that Russia wants to recapture its superpower status, military analysts suggest that Russia has seen too many rusting hulls on their ships and is interested in rebuilding its military capability.