By David Swanson / World BEYOND War
Can you test yourself with this quick quiz?
A picture can be worth a trillion words — or a couple of trillion dollars when it’s a picture of military spending.
We’ve just published a new collection of maps for Mapping Militarism 2023. As always, they are at worldbeyondwar.org/militarism-mapped and available for your use. If you go there, you can pick a map, and zoom in and out. You can click on a country to get details. You can move the slider back to see earlier years. You can switch to list-view and get the information in text form. You can click “source” to see the origins of the data and exactly what it means.
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Can you guess what the map above is?
Look up, not down, until you’ve guessed.
Here’s the answer:
It’s NATO members and partners (in red). The position of the North Atlantic might be what makes it tricky. Bet you didn’t know New Zealand was even in the North Atlantic.
How about this one?
Here’s the answer:
That’s countries with wars (in red).
This next one is almost a mirror image. It must be the peaceful nations of the world, right? What do you think?
Peaceful? Not exactly. The red and — less so — the pink, orange, and yellow are where the weapons come from — and more of them each year!
These next two are related to each other. What do you think they could be?
The first one is military spending, and the second one military spending per capita. Red is the highest spending, white the least. (Blue is no data.)
The spending data is ever more extreme. With some 231 nations in the world, the military spending of the U.S. is significantly more than that of 227 of them combined. Of the other three, one (India) is a U.S. ally, and the other two (Russia and China) spend a combined 43% what the U.S. does, or a combined 21% of what the U.S. and its weapons customers and allies do. For all the details, go to Mapping Militarism 2023.
(Note that WBW calculated and added the U.S. per-capita spending, while all the other spending numbers came from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. We don’t know why SIPRI doesn’t know how many people live in the United States.)
How are you doing so far? If you’ve been guessing them all, this one might stump you:
In the above map, the red countries are all illegally punished with economic sanctions by the U.S. government. We’ve added this map this year. Sanctions are intentionally deadly, illegal, and often a step toward war.
This next one should be easier. Red is the highest, then pink, orange, yellow. Blue is no data or irrelevant. What do you think it can be?
It’s the number of U.S. foreign troops present. The U.S. is blue because we’re only mapping troops deployed abroad. A few other countries are blue because they are suffering under the thumb of evil enemies of freedom. (Yes, that is satire. Yes, I concede that satire is more evil than war and penitently confess my sin.)
As always at Mapping Militarism, we’ve mapped efforts for peace as well as for war.
The blue countries below are doing something peaceful. What is it?
They’re in nuclear-free zones.
Here’s a map of 193 blue countries in which at least one person has done a particular peaceful thing. What do you think it is?
In each of the blue countries at least one person has signed the Declaration of Peace.
How did you do?
Note that in this year’s Mapping Militarism, we have not updated the maps on U.S. air strikes and drone strikes because the U.S. government has stopped reporting on them and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has stopped reporting on them. Some limited amount of related information can still be found at airwars.org.
David Swanson is Co-Founder, Executive Director, and a Board Member of World BEYOND War. He is based in Virginia in the United States. David is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk World Radio.He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. Longer bio and photos and videos here. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.