- According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, it was almost $2 trillion last year. About 39% of this came from US military spending alone.
- The strongest military power in the world is represented by the flag with the stars and stripes. Even though the United States pulled out of Afghanistan, its military is still a powerful force around the world.
Russia and NATO, two of the most powerful military forces in the world, are facing each other over the borders of Ukraine. This is because Russia invaded Ukraine, which has put the whole world on edge.
Pictures of bombed buildings, crowds huddling in shelters, caravans of refugees running for safety, flashes of explosions at night, and hurt, hopeless people are now a daily occurrence on TV screens.
At the same time, these terrible scenes remind many older people of times they’d rather forget.
Military power is back
For a long time, most people thought that a state’s power came from its military or “hard power.” But as the Cold War came to an end, economic power took over. A common story about the “end of history” and a drop in military conflicts led people to believe, or at least hope, that wars would mostly be a thing of the past.
Ulrike Franke, a Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, says that military power is on the rise again. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, people in Western Europe are once again thinking about military conflicts, including those between big countries.
In the last 20 years, the world’s military spending has steadily gone up. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, it was almost $2 trillion last year. About 39% of this came from US military spending alone.
When you look at the strongest military forces in the world, you can see that the two main rivals are the same as they were during the Cold War. China has become a third player, but its geopolitical goals are not clear.
Top Ten Military Powers
The United States
The strongest military power in the world is represented by the flag with the stars and stripes. Even though the United States pulled out of Afghanistan, its military is still a powerful force around the world.
With bases in many parts of the world, the US military is still the strongest in the world.
It has an impressive $738 billion budget and 1,388,000 men and women in the military. It also has 6,125 nuclear weapons, 11 aircraft carriers, 68 nuclear submarines, 3,761 military aircraft, 867 attack helicopters, 6,209 tanks, and 113 warships.
After World War II, the communist Soviet Union was the main enemy of the United States. Russia is a capitalist nation now, but it still has the military power of the old red empire.
Russia’s army is made up of one million men and women, and it costs $43.2 billion to run. It has about the same number of nuclear weapons as the U.S., which is 6,500, but it only has one aircraft carrier.
It also has 1,379 planes, 70 warships, and 28 nuclear submarines.
People’s Republic of China
This unpredictable rising power in the East is the third most powerful military power, but it hasn’t been in any big wars in the last few decades.
A country with more than 1.4 billion people and a budget of $193 billion and 2.185 million men and women in the military has to have a strong military presence.
China has 5,651 tanks, two aircraft carriers, 133 navy ships, 12 nuclear submarines, 1,093 military planes, and 290 nuclear weapons.
People might not think that India is a great military power, let alone the fourth best. Still, a budget of $64 billion for national defence is reasonable for a country with more than 1.4 billion people, like China.
On the ground, it has 1,455 million soldiers, 4,740 battle tanks, one aircraft carrier, 35 battleships, 14 nuclear submarines, 841 planes, and 150 nuclear weapons.
Japan was part of the Axis in World War II, but it hasn’t been in any major wars in the last few decades.
The current budget for Japan is $49.7 billion, and there are 247,000 men and women in the military.
It has 580 tanks on the ground and two aircraft carriers, 47 warships, and 22 submarines in the water. It has 606 war planes in the air.
There are 600,000 people in South Korea’s armed forces, and the country spends $40.4 billion on its military. It has 2,321 battle tanks on land and 35 ships at sea.
Even though it is next to North Korea, which is hard to predict, it does not have nuclear weapons. It has 595 planes in its air force.
France has the most powerful military in the EU. With a $55 billion budget and 208,700 men and women in the military, France is an important part of the EU’s defence.
With one aircraft carrier, 27 warships, and eight nuclear submarines, France’s naval fleet is the most powerful in the Mediterranean.
Two years ago, France sent warships to the EEZ of Cyprus to protect a French research ship that was being harassed by the Turkish Navy.
Italy is also a naval power in the Mediterranean Sea. It has two aircraft carriers and sixteen other warships. It spends $29.3 billion on its military, which has 165,500 soldiers and 241 planes that can be used for war.
Italy hasn’t been in any major wars since World War II, when it sided with the Third Reich as a fascist regime.
The United Kingdom
The once-powerful British Empire’s military is no longer the strongest in Europe or the rest of the world. But despite that, it still has a strong military.
The UK has a budget of $61.5 billion, 138,500 men and women in the military, and 225 military planes and ships.
The United Kingdom has 227 battle tanks on the ground. It has 11 nuclear submarines and two aircraft carriers at sea.
In recent years, Turkey has tried to become a major military power in a large area that includes northeast Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, Asia Minor, and North Africa.
Turkey is a very important member of NATO. It has an army of 355,200 men and women but only $11 billion to spend on it.
But it has 4,378 tanks and 26 warships and 12 submarines in its arsenal. It has 310 planes in its air force.