The United States spent more on its military in 2017 than the next seven highest-spending countries combined; the land of the free, in fact, accounted for 35 percent of the entire planet’s defense expenditure, which totalled $1.74 trillion that year.

The new statistics come from data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in their May 2018 report: Trends in World Military Expenditure.

Chart shows the top 15 military spenders in 2017, their 2016 ranking, how much they spent, how much their spending has changed over 10 years, their share of global world military expenditures and their spending as a share of their GDP.

The five biggest military investors – US, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India – accounted for 60 percent of military spending in 2017.

Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher at SIPRI, told Sputnik News that when it comes to the Middle East, there’s a “bit of a yo-yo movement there. Sometimes it goes up very strongly, and then it goes down again when the oil prices go down.”

Meanwhile, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues to shake up the monarchy, his country’s spending surpassed that of Russia – a country the United States sees as the “central challenge,” alongside China, faced by the US. Meanwhile, Russia’s military spending dropped by 20 percent since 2016.

“It’s also important to keep in mind for NATO countries and EU countries, when they talk about threats and threats from Russia, that Russian military spending is about a third or even less of total NATO spending in Europe, which is 10 percent or less of total NATO spending,” Wezeman said. “So keep that in mind when you think about the ‘Russian threats.'”

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