Weapons have become an important part of the discussion about world order. The Russian attack on Ukraine has triggered shipments of hundreds of millions of dollars of weapons to the battered country. These have come from a wide range of nations, including the United States and many NATO members. Notably, these weapons have been given and not sold. And they have been very effective as the Ukraine military attacks the Russian invaders.
Among the effects of what has become a war is that many countries will buy weapons to replace those given to Ukraine. As the “arsenal of democracy,” the United States provides most of these, for a fee. The United States is the world’s leading arms exporter, shipping almost $9.4 billion in arms to nearly 100 different countries around the globe in 2020 alone. In recent years, 22 countries have spent over $1 billion purchasing weapons from the United States.
To determine the country buying the most weapons from the U.S. government, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers Database on the value of arms exports from the United States to other countries.
Since 2010, U.S. arms manufacturers have shipped over $105 billion worth of arms around the world. These shipments have gone to strategic allies in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere. The United States is, of course, not the only arms supplier. Many of the countries on this list also purchase significant amounts of arms from Russia, China and other nations.
Though the United States has by far the world’s largest military budget of any nation, it does not have the largest military in the world when it comes to personnel. In fact, the United States ranks fifth, after four other countries with at least 1 million armed services personnel.
The country the United States sells the most arms to is Saudi Arabia. Here are the details:
- Arms imports from the United States, 2010 to 2020: $17.61 billion
- U.S. arms imports as share of total, 2010 to 2020: 64.8%
- Largest arms suppliers, 2016 to 2020: United States, United Kingdom, France
- National military expenditure in 2020: $57.52 billion (8.4% of gross domestic product)
In determining the country buying the most weapons from the U.S. government, countries were ranked based on the total value of arms exports received from the United States from 2010 to 2020. Arms data covers actual deliveries of major conventional weapons. Supplemental data on arms imports from the United States as a share of a country’s total arms imports was calculated using data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Data on the largest arms suppliers by total value from 2016 to 2020, as well as national military expenditure in 2020 and national military expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product in 2020, also came from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Click here to see all the countries buying the most weapons from America.
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