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How the US is like North Korea

Much of North Korea’s population is starving, yet its government pours money into missile and nuclear programs. Such behavior seems to be the height of irrationality. But North Korea is only following the international community’s – especially America’s – example.

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The international community is rightly aghast at North Korea for spending a fortune on its military when its populace is suffering. Nearly one quarter of North Korea’s population is either starving or at risk of starvation, according to a recent UN report, yet its government pours money into missile and nuclear programs. Such behavior seems to be the height of irrationality.

But North Korea is only following the international community’s – especially America’s – example.

Last year, the financial crisis continued to paralyze the world economy, the mercury in the biosphere’s thermometer inched up, and the gap between rich and poor continued to widen. And yet, global military spending increased for the 13th year in a row.

According to the latest figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the world is now spending $1.63 trillion on fighting and preparing to fight war. This is part of an increase in global military spending that has doubled since 2000, even according to conservative estimates.

Military spending over human needs

Not all countries have behaved irrationally during the economic crisis. European governments have finally begun to cut back on their war budgets, reducing expenditures last year for the first time since 1998. But Europe was the exception.

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