smhwpf: (Homework)
Quick post, as I'm exhausted. Today was the big day of the year for my secret identity as Doctor Milex, when SIPRI released our new data on world military expenditure for 2015. Link is to the press release, which also has links to the fact sheet and the full database.

I also have an entry in the SIPRI blog discussing trends in military and health expenditure, and the costs of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in comparison to world military spending. Graphics, in particular the cool interactive line graph, courtesy of our new web editor.
smhwpf: (Giles party weasel)
Got back today from my trip to the US for the launch of SIPRI's military expenditure data for 2011.

A good trip, though pretty exhausting. I presented the data in six subtly different ways to six separate audiences in Washington, DC and New York - all went well; our own launch event had about 60-70 people at it, while the side event at the UN we did with UNODA and the Japanese Permanent Mission had about 80. Meanwhile the media launch got covered in over 2000 separate outlets, so I think we can call this a success.

For those who have not already clicked on the link, the estimated world total for 2011 was $1738 billion; it was the first time since 1998 that the total hasn't increased noticeably in real terms (i.e. after inflation). The observant amongst you might notice that the press release talks about 13 continuous years of increase, although it is only 12 years from 1998 to 2010. Yes, it is indeed so - I officially can't count. ;-)

Anyway, 'twas a busy schedule, but it was not all work - visited the relatives briefly, spent the afternoon following our launch on Tuesday drinking beer with a colleague who happened to be over and came along, and spent much of Saturday mooching around Manhattan.

Now very tired and jet-lagged.
smhwpf: (Going places)
Ah well, the posting every day thing fell off rather towards the end. Still, posted way more than had been my habit.

Easter was good - didn't do a great deal. Went to the English Church in Stockholm, part of the C of E Diocese of Europe, for Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Kind of wanted something reasonably familiar for Easter. Seems a good place, and very good music in particular. Don't know if it's where I'll end up yet.

Anyway, tomorrow I am off to the US, Washington DC and New York, for the launch of SIPRI's military expenditure data for 2011. Very exciting. SIPRI has just launched our new SIPRI North America branch, so we're doing a series of events in conjunction with them - the data launches in particular - to make a bit of a splash Stateside.

Apart from our own launch event, I will be doing presentations at the World Bank, a UN side-event, the US State Department, and a group of peacenik academics at a New York uni. (Somehow I think I'll enjoy the last one most).

Plus I will, albeit briefly, get to visit the family in Croton-on-Hudson and New Haven.

What with the likely substantial number of info requests from journalists, promises to be a busy week, but hopefully stuff should calm down after that.
smhwpf: (Staying calm)
Today I will give myself an easy time, by pimping myself, specifically my comment on the SIPRI website on China's announcement yesterday of an 11.2% increase in their defence budget for 2012.
smhwpf: (Giles party weasel)
Today at SIPRI we released the SIPRI Yearbook 2010. Our press launch focused on nuclear issues, Afghanistan, and my area, military expenditure. The main headline being that Military expenditure in 2009 reached $1,531 billion, an increase of 5.9% in real terms.

Coverage includes BBC, Guardian, numerous others.

I was interviewed (in English) by Sweden's TV4. Video clip - surprisingly lengthy - can be viewed here. I am reasonably pleased with what I said - got the points across reasonably concisely and confidently. But I look ghastly. Also ridiculously nervous, which is bizarre, as I didn't feel nervous. But hey.

The figures are really quite shocking. The increases in the US, China, Russia, many others, do not actually correspond to any increasing threat, but to a fundamentally militaristic outlook on the world. Obama may talk more about soft power in the new US National Security Strategy, but the continued increases he's making in US military spending - not just 2009, which he's mostly not responsible for, but also 2010 and 2011, shows that military dominance is still at the centre of the way the US relates to the world. (See my earlier post; the increases are continuing full throttle in 2010 and 2011, even as other "discretionary" spending is to be frozen as part of attempts to reduce the deficit.)

There are, of course, reasons, explanations, justifications, rationalizations. I could argue them all night. But when it comes down to it, it is - IMHO - a grotesque, sinful waste.

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