The global spending on defence is forecasted to be at its highest in the year 2018, following the projections, which show that countries will spend up to $1.67 trillion, which is a slight increase from the all time post cold war highest of $1.63 trillion. This heightened expenditure is reflective of the increased instability in many regions throughout the globe. It is however of significance to note that the higher spending percentage increase is projected to be among countries in the Baltic region
The countries in the Baltic region that are allies with NATO have in the recent times been increasing their military spending. For instance, Lithuania’s budget for 2018 is about 2.06 percent of the country’s GDP. This is the first time that the country’s budget will be meeting the requirement set by NATO. This is the same scenario with Latvia. However, countries for instance the UK, the US, Poland, Greece, Estonia and Romania have been allocating higher amounts.
It is reported that the increase in the military budgets among the NATO members in the Baltic region goes far beyond the Russian threat. It is alleged that such increases are political in nature. The countries may have increased their budgets as a way of appeasing the US president, Donald Trump, who has been vocally rallying the members towards meeting the threshold requirements set by NATO.
Another reason that may provide support for this argument is that while the defence budgets of the neighbouring countries in the Baltic region have been on the rise, the military budgets of Russia have been on a significant decrease over the years. In 2017 for example, the defence budget did not just decrease, but it was lower than that of 2015 by about 10 percent. This does not mean that the threat posed by Russia is not significant, but it indicates that there are other potential factors behind the increased defence budgets in the Baltic region.