War kills. And war sells. These maps show the world’s four biggest arms exporters and their major clients.
While they reveal a lot about who mongers weapons to whom, the sequencing on this graph is a bit misleading.
Reader’s instinct nudges us to interpret the maps clockwise from top left, as a series in descending order. But the correct order is anti-clockwise, from bottom left: the top seller is the U.S., followed by Russia, France and China.
The maps are based on figures for 2011-2015, published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. They exclude weapons trade deals below $100 million. The total volume of arms sales for this period was higher than for any other five-year stretch since the end of the Cold war, in the early 1990s.
The United States not only has the world’s largest defence budget by far (1), it also outsells all other countries by a considerable margin.