By Ezra Klein
The chart, if anything, underestimates America’s military advantage against its nearest competitors. Military spending is cumulative. While China now accounts for nearly 11 percent of all military expenditures that’s a recent development. The US, meanwhile, has been spending much more than anyone else for decades now. Some of that spending has gone towards bombs that have already been dropped and tanks that no longer work. But much of it went to nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers that are still deployed today.
The US is also geographically more secure than any other country on this list. It borders Canada and Mexico, and is flanked by oceans on both the east and the west. China, by contrast, borders 14 other nations: North Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. Russia is in a similarly packed region. But the US still spends vastly more on defense despite the paucity of nearby threats.