The first "decade of disarmament," proclaimed by the United Nations for the decade 1970-80, "has proved to be a total failure," with annual world military expenditures this year reaching an unprecedented $500 billion, says the nonpartisan Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
In a statement released today (June 12) on its annual yearbook on world armaments and disarmament, the institute cites Afghanistan, the Indian Ocean, and Iran as "all the more dangerous as the world is becoming more and more armed and as no progress is being made toward disarmament," Monitor correspondent John Cooley reports.
NATO and the Warsaw Pact together make about 70 percent of the total arms outlays. The third world, with a 15 percent share, is rising fast, with the OPEC (oil-producing states) group increasing its military spending by 15 percent and southern Africa by 16 percent this year, the statement says.
It adds that with more than 60,000 nuclear weapons now in world arsenals, the threat of their use "through accident, miscalculation, or just folly" grows. Nonratification of the SALT II arms-control agreement, signed in June 1979 by the United States and the Soviets, is "a deplorable fact in light of the pledge by the US and the USSR to continue efforts toward significant reductions and qualitative limitations of strategic offensive arms."