In 2015, Saudi Arabia surpassed Russia as the world’s third-largest military spender, overtaking Russia by $20 billion dollars Worldwide, more than $1
7 trillion dollars was spent on defense throughout the year As you know from our How Powerful series, a country’s international influence has a lot to do with its military spending So, which countries are spending the most on defense, and where is that money going? Saudi Arabia spends so much because they’re the de facto leader of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the military alliance of gulf states In fact in 2014, the country had a higher budget and more available manpower than all the GCC states combined But Saudi Arabia is faltering economically due to falling oil prices, and lavish public spending
Still, in 2015 the country spent eight percent more on defense, amounting to roughly $90 billion dollars The uptick in spending was a response to regional conflicts, like the Syrian Civil War, and the growing threat of ISIS Saudi Arabia also spent more than $5 billion dollars fighting a proxy war with Iran in Yemen, over the Sunni-Shia divide The second largest military spender is China China spent roughly $200 billion dollars on defense in 2015, but military spending has actually slowed in recent years
Due to slowing economic growth, China was forced to cut their standing military by 300,000 troops Still, at two million members, the front remains the largest standing army in the world One of China’s biggest priorities is policing the South China Sea, which is a highly disputed territory in the region China has also ramped up support for UN peacekeeping operations in Africa, although many allege that it is to protect their energy interests However due to a lack of transparency by the Chinese government, some estimates place the country’s actual spending at more than 50 percent above its public figures
Leading the pack by a large margin is the United States, which spent roughly $600 billion dollars on defense in 2015 And while that’s more than the next seven highest spending countries combined, it is considerably down from 2011’s defense budget of more than $700 billion That’s because in subsequent years, the US has partially withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan and Obama has issued long-term cuts, amounting to more than $1 trillion dollars over the next decade Another reason for such a huge budget is that the US’s international presence, with military personnel stationed in roughly 150 countries The top three countries are all regional leaders and world powers, so it's no coincidence that they’re all big military spenders
The same can be seen in countries like Brazil in South America, and the United Kingdom in Europe, both of which spend more than their neighbors, and wield disproportionate influence As international conflicts persist and the threat of terrorism grows, it’s likely that we’ll see these countries continue to act as regional police But while China, Saudi Arabia, and the United States spend the most on their militaries, are they actually the most powerful? Find out in this video up top You can also learn more about the US military abroad, and why they have so many bases overseas by watching the video below Thanks for watching TestTube News, don’t forget to like and subscribe for new videos every day!