SIPRI Yearbook (2008)
Armaments, Disarmament and International Security
Some time ago I read somewhere that Germany was one of the biggest exporters of weapons in the world. I really did not give too much attention to this information, because, in some way, I had always had this image of Germany being a model democratic country, concerned with the world peace, social justice, the protection of the environment and so on and so forth… In fact I could not believe that Germany was into such a kind of business, well at least not to the extend worth mentioning it. Never during my twelve years living in Germany I have heard something about the subject in the media or amongst the population.
Today reading an article in the ZEIT, I found a link to the “Stockholm International Peace Research Institute” (SIPRI) specialized in doing scientific research into questions of conflict and cooperation of importance for international peace and security. Every year this institute publishes a compendium of data and analysis of developments in security and conflicts, military spending and armaments and non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament. This document is available for everyone, so I decided to have a look at the 2008 edition (containing facts about 2007).
I was quite surprised to find Germany on the top of the tops in several categories. For instance, Germany is the third biggest supplier of major conventional weapons worldwide. (see table) OK, I have to admit, I was quite naive to think that Germany, one of the biggest economic forces in the world, would not make also business with the armament industry. Democracy and peace are important for Germany, also human rights, but apparently more in Germany than in other places. Because a government who allows the sale of weapons to Turkey, knowing that some of them will be used against the Kurdish people (for instance), can not convince me too much with its speeches about peace in the world. Well, I think one would say: business is business!
OK, forgetting Germany for a moment, and looking at the major picture, the SIPRI studies reveal quite interesting facts (numbers) I think everyone should have a look at. I want just to mention that the fact that the USA possess the biggest military industry worldwide is clearly reflected in this compendium. E.g.: 6 of the 10 largest arm-producing companies in the world are in the USA and the US expenses for military infrastructures are practically as high as the expenses of the rest of the world together. Other interesting aspects of this studies are: who are the buyers, which are the regions with the major arm conflicts, etc.
I propose every one to have a quick look at the short versions of the compendium, which can be downloaded using the links below.
Another two interesting links @ Wikipedia:
Related post @ “Critical Docs”: