Mounting Tensions Drive Arms Sales to Multi-Decade High

Weapons Spending at Highest Level Since 1980s

Soaring tensions between Russia and NATO members nations have drawn comparisons to the Cold War, and it seems that’s accurate in more ways than one, as data analysts for IHS Markit Janes are forecasting 2018 arms sales worldwide to be at the highest level since the 1980s, when the previous Cold War came to an end.

The increases are heavily NATO-based, with the massive US military spending increase, unsurprisingly, amounting to a big part of the overall spike, estimated to put worldwide sales at $1.67 trillion.

Russian spending, of course, is still well lower than its Soviet Union era, and the Warsaw Pact nations that would’ve been counted back in the 1980s are all NATO countries now, adding to the NATO-centric nature of the increase.

With US arms makers the overwhelming majority of exporters around the world, this surge in arms sales is likely to most directly benefit those influential companies, and is likely to have them pushing a continuation of the status quo going forward, ensuring their profits.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.