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April 2004

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Although removed from direct consideration in the context of American diplomacy, the subject under study bears at least obliquely on U.S. policies. Professor Smaldone, a political scientist, reaches somewhat surprising counterintuitive conclusions based on considerable, if (as he notes) preliminary, research. -- Ed.

Does Military Spending Matter?

Abstract: This paper investigates patterns of war, peace, and military spending during the 1990s among forty-two independent sub-Saharan African states, sixteen of which experienced periods of conflict. Specifically, it seeks to discover whether relative levels of military expenditure (ME), military burden (ME/CGE), military capability (ME/AF), and a composite military effort index (MEI) were associated with the incidence and duration of major armed conflicts (MAC). WMEAT’s average global rankings on ME-related factors and SIPRI’s MAC data, displayed in a series of simple cross-tabulations, show that the overall incidence of war and peace had no apparent relationship to ME, ME/AF, and MEI (most of the twenty-six pacific states and most of the sixteen war-prone nations exhibited low ME levels, low ME/AF scores, and low MEI scores). However, military burden (ME/CGE) was a significant differentiator (among the twenty-six peaceful states, there was a broad division between those bearing low and high burdens, but a large majority of the conflicted nations ranked high). Regarding the duration of armed conflict, ten of the sixteen MAC-afflicted states had short wars, and the modal or majority groupings of states were those with short wars and low ME, ME/AF, and low MEI rankings. Contrary to the finding regarding relative military burden and the incidence of conflict, ME/CGE bore no clear relationship to the duration of war (most conflicted states labored under high military burdens, but they were almost evenly divided between short and long wars). The paper concludes with some reflections on its analytical and policy implications.

Introduction
The voluminous literature on Third World military spending is almost exclusively concerned with whether it helps or hinders economic growth and development. It is predominantly econometric, and almost always ignores the very "public good" that justifies such expenditures in the first place – "security," and whether military expenditure (hereafter ME) provides such public goods or not.

This paper aims to shed light on whether African military spending during the 1990s purchased its intended commodity, security - conceived herein as making a difference to African states’ experience of war and peace. Specifically, it seeks to discover whether ME-related factors were associated with patterns of war and peace or the duration of major armed conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) during 1989-1999. The paper is a preliminary, rudimentary, and generalized analysis subject to significant questions, qualifications, qualms, and quibbles. That said, we proceed.

African military budget data are notoriously opaque, incomplete, and deceptive. This is not likely to change dramatically any time soon, although one can hope for improvement. Since 1981 there has been a global ME reporting mechanism, the United Nations Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures. More than 110 states have submitted reports at least once, and participation has increased substantially in recent years. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s annual submissions ranged between twenty and thirty-five. However, in 2001 national submissions surged to sixty-one, and then in 2002 jumped to eighty-two. Regrettably, African participation remains low (recent reports are accessible on the UN website). SIPRI’s project on "Budgeting for the Military Sector in Africa: The Process and Mechanisms of Control" may also promote increased transparency and hence more and better data. Until then, we are left with the standard annual sources of worldwide ME data: SIPRI, IISS, and the U.S. Department of State (its World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers [WMEAT] series is used here).

According to WMEAT 1990, military spending by all African states less Egypt was only 1.8% of worldwide ME in 1979, and 1.5% in 1989. In 1999 it was still only 2.4%, with a few states – DROC, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Eritrea – accounting for most of the growth in the late nineties (WMEAT 1999-2000). That Africa’s fifty countries, representing 29% of the nations covered by WMEAT, have spent less than 2% of global defense outlays, is often overlooked. As for war and peace, Africa has gotten a bum rap also. Widespread perceptions that Africa is a region in perpetual turmoil, and that conflicts have become even more rampant in the 1990s, are exaggerated. Africa’s share of worldwide major armed conflicts was lower than 25% during most of the period, though it did rise to about two-fifths in 1998-99 (SIPRI Yearbook 2000). Moreover, taking into account the large number of states on the continent compared to other major regions, Africa’s relative conflict profile diminishes further. Within the continent itself, the average number of states in conflict during 1989-1999 was eight per year (16%) – not good, but not as bad as typical characterizations.

Military Spending and Major Armed Conflict
Although Africa might not be as militarized or warlike as is commonly thought, its levels and patterns of military spending and conflict still need examination and explanation. Does ME have any systematic relationship to conflict? This question has recently attracted some research attention (e.g., Mohammed 1999; Omitoogun 2001; Collier and Hoeffler 2002). In this paper we present a series of simple cross-tabulations of selected ME-related indicators and major armed conflicts for 42 independent SSA states between 1989 and 1999. Although other research organizations such as SIPRI and IISS also publish annual worldwide military surveys, including data on ME, armed forces, and arms trade, WMEAT uniquely provides global rankings of each country on several military-related indicators. Our analysis relies exclusively on these rankings.

According to SIPRI, sixteen SSA states experienced one or more major armed conflicts (MAC) during 1989-1999 (actually seventeen, but Eritrea is not included here because it was not independent for the entire time span). In other words, near two-fifths of SSA states were afflicted by at least one MAC for at least one year. Conversely, twenty-six other states did not experience any MAC during the period. SIPRI defines MAC as a prolonged conflict between the armed forces of two or more governments, or between a government and at least one organized armed group, involving at least 1,000 battle-related deaths over the course of the conflict; both internal and international conflicts are included. (Note: it is possible for a given state to experience multiple MACs simultaneously; our analysis is concerned with states in conflict, not conflicts in states.)

Table 1 shows the incidence of MAC among these sixteen states for the chosen period. Two years of MAC were recorded in Congo (1997, 1999), Guinea-Bissau (1998-99), and Senegal (1997-98). Burundi and DROC registered MAC-level political violence in the last three years of our selected period (1997-1999). All other states suffered one or more continuous or discontinuous MACs for at least four years, with Sudan being the only one wracked by such intensive warfare over the entire eleven-year period.

As noted above, the research questions examined here are whether military spending levels and other ME-related factors were associated with patterns of war and peace in SSA, or with the duration of armed conflict in states that experienced MAC. Our elementary analytical models make no explicit assumptions about the direction of causality. Indeed, the data and relationships between MAC and ME can be interpreted in various ways to get at the questions: Do patterns of war/peace explain patterns of ME? . . . or do patterns of ME explain patterns of war/peace? However, the results obtained in the following series of analyses show pronounced patterns that allow us to make reasonable inferences and judgments.

Table 1. Major Armed Conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-1999

Country19891990199119921993199419951996199719981999Total
Angola
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
9
Burundi
X
X
X
3
Chad
X
X
X
X
4
Congo Rep.
X
X
2
DROC
X
X
X
3
Ethiopia
X
X
X
X
X
5
Guinea-B.
X
X
2
Liberia
X
X
X
X
X
X
6
Mozambique
X
X
X
X
4
Rwanda
X
X
X
X
X
X
6
Senegal
X
X
2
Sierra Leone
X
X
X
X
X
5
Somalia
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
9
South Africa
X
X
X
X
X
5
Sudan
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
11
Uganda
X
X
X
X
X
X
6
Total:
8
9
10
8
6
5
5
4
7
10
10

Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1990 – 2000;

Major Armed Conflict (MAC): a prolonged conflict between the armed forces of two or more governments, or between a government and at least one organized armed group, involving at least 1,000 battle-related deaths over the course of the conflict; both internal and international armed conflicts are included.

Notes: (1) This table lists states in which MACs occurred each year, not necessarily all MACs that occurred in these states. By SIPRI’s definition, a government could be involved in multiple MACs simultaneously. (2) Eritrea is not included because it was not independent during the entire period of study.

National security is traditionally considered to have two dimensions: national defense against external aggressors and internal security against domestic enemies. Both of these are covered by SIPRI’s MAC data. Arguably, ME-related indicators can serve, inter alia, as proxies for a state’s ability to deter or defeat armed opposition (external or internal). Obviously, peace is not purely a function of defense or deterrence, and numerous factors enter into the determination of success or failure of deterrence and of military action against enemies of the state, but this analysis will zero in only on ME levels and derivative variables. A state that remained at peace by avoiding MAC is considered to have successfully deterred it, whereas the occurrence of MAC can indicate failure of deterrence. Among states that experienced MACs, we will be interested to discover if ME-related variables were associated with conflict duration. Although the level of aggregation in this paper does not permit us to make judgments whether ME-related factors affected military success or failure, one could hypothesize that states that are able to terminate wars earlier were more "successful" than those that endured extended conflicts.

ME data can be used in a number of ways to examine war-peace relationships. The actual (current) value of annual ME levels expressed in national currencies or even US dollar equivalents are not suitable for time series or comparative analyses. Fortunately, WMEAT computes ME and other economic indicators at constant US dollar values (constant 1999 US dollars for the period 1989-99). Even so, the enormous international disparities in ME across diverse nations around the world make comparisons of absolute ME levels of limited if not dubious utility.

However, ME data can be standardized, transformed, and combined with other indicators to facilitate analysis. For example, WMEAT calculates ME/GNP and ME/GCE for each nation to determine "military burden" relative to national wealth and central government expenditures respectively, and computes military spending per member of the armed forces (ME/AF) as a rough measure of military capability. This paper explores patterns of relationships between the incidence and duration of MAC on the one hand, and ME, ME/CGE, ME/AF, and a composite index of these three, on the other. Specifically, it employs WMEAT’s global rank order data on these indicators for forty-two SSA states for the years 1989, 1994, and 1999, averaging the rankings for these three years to serve as a single, admittedly rough measure, of each indicator for the eleven-year period. Global rankings for 1989 are available in WMEAT 1990 (144 countries), for 1994 in WMEAT 1995 (172 countries), and for 1991 in WMEAT 1999-2000 (172 countries). The composite index was computed by simply averaging the average rankings on all three indicators – ME, ME/CGE, and ME/AF – for the three specified years. Since this composite score combines relative military spending levels with relative military fiscal burden and relative military capability measures, it is termed the Military Effort Index (MEI).

War, Peace, and Military Spending
Were patterns of war and peace in SSA associated with relative military expenditure levels (ME), military fiscal burden (ME/CGE), military capability (ME/AF), or overall military effort (MEI)? To answer these questions, we compared the scores of these four ME-related indicators for the sixteen states afflicted by MAC during the period 1989-1999 with those of the twenty-six states that remained at peace throughout that time.

Table 2 shows the results of cross-tabulating MAC incidence (yes or no) with high or low average global rankings on ME levels (1989, 1994, 1999). Remarkably, twenty-four of the twenty-six states that remained at peace were low spenders. Nearly as stunning is fact that eleven of the sixteen MAC-afflicted states (about 70%) were also relatively cheap on defense outlays. Put differently, the overwhelming majority of SSA states (thirty-five of forty-two, or 83%) opted to keep military spending low during the 1990s. For most of this subset (about 70%), low ME levels did not diminish whatever deterrence value was achieved by defense spending. Even the great majority of states that suffered MACs were able to keep their ME levels low despite wartime exigencies.

Table 2. War, Peace, and Military Spending in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-1999
Military Expenditure (ME) – Average Global Ranking

Major Armed ConflictLow Rankings (87-172)High Rankings (1-86)
NoN=24N=2
Benin 132Kenya 91Nigeria 76
Botswana 95Lesotho 140Zimbabwe 85
B.F. 123Malag. 133
Cameroon 99Malawi 144
C.V. 152Mali 124
C.A.R. 139Maurit. 127
C.I. 110Niger 143
E.G. 152S.T.&P 153
Gabon 104Swazi. 146
Gambia 152Tanzan. 105
Ghana 125Togo 135
Guinea 125Zambia 124
YesN=11N=5
Burundi 131Rwanda 111Angola 58
Chad 136Senegal 112DROC 67
Congo 123S.L. 140Ethiopia 79
G.-B. 153Somalia 144So. Afr. 38
Liberia 136Uganda 108Sudan 77
Mozam. 104

Table 3 shows the cross-tabulation of MAC incidence (yes or no) with high or low average global rankings on military fiscal burden (ME/CGE) in 1989 and 1999. (WMEAT did not calculate ME/CGE rankings in 1994 because of date reliability and availability issues.) Among the twenty-six SSA states enjoying peace throughout the period, fifteen had low ME/CGE scores and eleven scored high. This dichotomous distribution suggests that peace (avoidance or deterrence of MAC) can be maintained using either "low-budget" or "gold plated" defense spending strategies relative to the government’s overall fiscal resources, the former being slightly favored.

By contrast, thirteen (81%) of the sixteen states that suffered MAC exhibited high ME/CGE scores. Putting aside the chicken-and-egg issues, this strikingly pervasive association of high military fiscal burdens and MAC underscores the deleterious effects of war on other government priorities and programs.

Table 3. War, Peace, and Military Fiscal Burden in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-1999
Military Fiscal Burden (ME/CGE) – Average Global Ranking

Major Armed ConflictLow Rankings (87-172)High Rankings (1-86)
NoN=15N=11
Botswana 90Malawi 125Benin 59Malag. 55
C.V. 134Mali 90B.F. 75Maurit. 46
C.I. 127Niger 104Cameroon 84Tanzan. 74
Gambia 128Nigeria 109C.A.R. 73Togo 59
Ghana 138S.T.&P. 153Zimbab. 54
Guinea 103Swazi. 123Gabon 79
Kenya 90Zambia 119
Lesotho 90
YesN=3N=13
G.-B. 115Angola 16Mozam. 40
Senegal 95Burundi 36Rwanda 51
So. Afr. 92Chad 31S.L. 72
Congo 78Somalia 33
DROC 30Sudan 39
Ethiopia 15Uganda 43
Liberia 72

If ME/AF is even crude approximation of military capability, Table 4 reveals some particularly interesting results. A total of thirty-five of the forty-two SSA states (83%) ranked low on ME/AF. Cross-tabulation of war/peace and low/high average global ME/AF rankings (1989, 1994, 1999) shows that twenty-one of the twenty-six SSA states (81%) that remained at peace during this period maintained low military capability scores. As in the case of ME, this suggests that for most SSA states, deterrence was not achieved by maintaining overweening military strength. Even more remarkably, fourteen (88%) of the sixteen conflicted states also had low ME/AF scores.

It is relevant to note here that the computation of average global rankings for these tables induced a small bias in favor of high ranking (lower numbers). In 1989 there were 144 countries in WMEAT tables, compared to 172 countries in 1994 and 1999. The average global rankings used in these tables are stated in terms of 172 countries, but each country’s average ranking was "pulled upwards" slightly by the smaller number of countries recorded in 1989. In Table 4, Cameroon (83), Kenya (85), and Angola (82) are among the states with high ME/AF average global rankings, but if they scored 87 or higher, they would be deemed to have low military capability rankings. If the calculation of average global rankings took account of the changing size of the world’s population of states, one or more of these three states might have been assigned to the respective low-ranking quadrants, thus magnifying the highly skewed results already observed.

Table 4. War, Peace, and Military Capability in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-1999
Military Capability (ME/AF) – Average Global Ranking

Major Armed ConflictLow Rankings (87-172)High Rankings (1-86)
NoN=21N=5
Benin 103Mali 109Botswana 46
B.F. 104Maurit. 131Cameroon 83
C.V. 115Niger 121Gabon 61
C.A.R. 103Nigeria 105Kenya 85
C.I. 97S.T.&P. 157Lesotho 64
E.G. 111Swazi. 112
Gambia 109Tanzan. 137
Ghana 110Togo 113
Guinea 126Zambia 134
Malag. 144Zimbab. 99
Malawi 132
YesN=14N=2
Burundi 142Mozam. 97Angola 82
Chad 151Rwanda 121So. Afr. 38
Congo 115Senegal 105
DROC 87S.L. 128
Ethiopia 141Somalia 146
G.-B. 152Sudan 114
Liberia 94Uganda 142

After examining patterns of relationships between ME, ME/CGE and ME/AF on the one hand and peace/war occurrences on the other, does the composite Military Effort Index (MEI) produce different results? In Table 5 all SSA states are classified according to whether or not they experienced MAC and whether they scored low or high on average global MEI rankings in 1989, 1994, and 1999. As in the case of our military capability measure (ME/AF), there are high concentrations of both peaceful and MAC-afflicted states in the low MEI cells. Notable too, as in the case of ME/AF, five of the nine high-ranking states had scores close enough to "low" that their assigned quadrant could have been affected by database size anomalies. If so, it would produce an even more pronounced concentration of states in the low military capability quadrants.

Table 5. War, Peace, and Military Effort in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-1999
Military Effort Index (MEI) – Average Global Ranking

Major Armed ConflictLow Rankings (87-172)High Rankings (1-86)
NoN=22N=4
Benin 103Lesotho 100Botswana 74
B.F. 106Malag. 121Gabon 82
Cameroon 89Malawi 137Nigeria 86
C.V. 135Mali 112Zimbabwe 85
C.A.R. 110Maurit. 111
C.I. 110Niger 127
E.G. 144S.T.&P. 157
Gambia 127Swazi. 127
Ghana 122Tanzan. 112
Guinea 120Togo 111
Kenya 89Zambia 128
YesN=11N=5
Burundi 115Rwanda 102Angola 61
Chad 120Senegal 106DROC 71
Congo 112S.L. 120Mozam. 86
Ethiopia 91Somalia 124So. Afr. 50
G.-B. 144Uganda 108Sudan 83
Liberia 104

Conflict Duration and Military Spending
Having compared the war/peace experiences of forty-two SSA states in simple dichotomous terms, controlling for ME and ME-derived variables, we now focus exclusively on the sixteen states in conflict during 1989-1999. Was the duration of conflict associated with relative military expenditure levels (ME), military fiscal burden (ME/CGE), military capability (ME/AF), or overall military effort (MEI)? To answer these questions, we compared the scores of these four ME-related indicators with the duration of MACs for each state during 1989-1999. Again, a series of cross-tabulations was used to discern patterns of high or low ME, ME/CGE, ME/AF, and MEI rankings and short or long conflicts. We deemed conflicts that raged for five years or less as short, and five-eleven years as long. As suggested above, conflict duration could serve as a proxy for military success/failure.

Table 6 assigns the sixteen SSA states that experienced MAC into quadrants depending on the duration of their conflicts and average global ME rankings. Ten conflicts were short, six long. Interestingly, the modal outcome, reflected in seven (44%) of the cases, was a conjunction of low ME ranking and shorter wars. One might be tempted to state the obvious, that short wars do not cost as much as long ones; however, two-thirds of the states that suffered protracted MACs also had low ME rankings. Among the five states that ranked high on ME levels, three experienced short wars and two had long ones; the small number of states in these two cells makes any further judgment inadvisable.

Table 6. Conflict Duration and Military Spending in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-1999
Military Expenditure (ME) – Average Global Ranking

Duration of MACLow Rankings (87-172)High Rankings (1-86)
1-5 YearsN=7N=3
Burundi 131DROC 67
Chad 136Ethiopia 79
Congo 123So. Afr. 38
G.-B. 153
Mozam. 104
Senegal 112
S.L. 140
6-11 YearsN=4N=2
Liberia 136Angola 58
Rwanda 111Sudan 77
Somalia 144
Uganda 108

In Table 7 we examine the distribution of MAC-affected states according to conflict duration and average global rankings on military fiscal burden (ME/CGE). The thirteen states that registered high ME/CGE ranks were about evenly split between short and long wars. Thus, when deterrence failed and war broke out, higher defense outlays relative to government budgetary resources was the price few could avoid. Equally apparent is that making greater sacrifices by increasing the proportion of budget allocations to the military did not appreciably affect the duration of conflicts.

Table 7. Conflict Duration and Military Fiscal Burden in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-1999
Military Fiscal Burden (ME/CGE) – Average Global Ranking

Duration of MACLow Rankings (87-172)High Rankings (1-86)
1-5 YearsN=9N=1
Burundi 142So. Afr. 38
Chad 151
Congo 115
DROC 87
Ethiopia 141
G.-B. 152
Mozam. 97
Senegal 105
S.L. 128
6-11 YearsN=5N=1
Liberia 94Angola 82
Somalia 146
Sudan 114
Rwanda 121
Uganda 142

Table 8 reveals a reverse pattern when the average global rankings on military capability (ME/AF) for the sixteen SSA states with MACs are mapped against war duration. Nearly all states in conflict had low military capability scores, regardless of length of war, but the majority of cases (9 –56%) experienced shorter wars; for five other (31%) low-spending states, longer wars prevailed. If, as was surmised, states with greater relative military capabilities might be able to terminate conflicts in a shorter time than states with lesser military capabilities, the SSA data do not afford an opportunity to test that hypothesis: there were only two states that ranked high on military capability; one had a long war and the other a short one.

Table 8. Conflict Duration and Military Capability in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-1999
Military Capability (ME/AF) – Average Global Ranking

Duration of MACLow Rankings (87-172)High Rankings (1-86)
1-5 YearsN=9N=1
Burundi 142So. Afr. 38
Chad 151
Congo 115
DROC 87
Ethiopia 141
G.-B. 152
Mozam. 97
Senegal 105
S.L. 128
6-11 YearsN=5N=1
Liberia 94Angola 82
Somalia 146
Sudan 114
Rwanda 121
Uganda 142

Finally, when all three ME-related indicators are taken into account by using the average global ranking on the composite military effort index (MEI), the numerical distribution of cases is identical to that obtained by using military spending levels (ME) alone and very close to that of military capability. In Table 9 the cell with the largest number of states (44%) is that with seven countries characterized by both shorter MACs and low levels of overall military effort. Four other states with low MEI rankings experienced longer wars.

Table 9. Conflict Duration and Military Effort in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-1999
Military Effort Index (MEI) – Average Global Ranking

Duration of MACLow Rankings (87-172)High Rankings (1-86)
1-5 YearsN=7N=3
Burundi 115DROC 71
Chad 120Mozam. 86
Congo 112So. Afr. 50
Ethiopia 91
G.-B. 144
Senegal 106
S.L. 120
6-11 YearsN=4N=2
Liberia 104Angola 61
Somalia 124Sudan 83
Rwanda 102
Uganda 108

Summary of Findings
The overall incidence of war and peace in SSA showed no apparent relationship to military spending levels (ME), military capability (ME/AF), or overall military effort (MEI): most of the twenty-six pacific states, as well as most of the sixteen war-prone nations, exhibited low ME levels, low ME/AF scores, and low MEI scores.

However, relative military fiscal burden (ME/CGE) did turn out to be a significant differentiator. Among the twenty-six peaceful states, there was a notable split between those that were cheap on defense and those that invested rather more heavily in it. Among the sixteen MAC-afflicted states, a large majority carried high military fiscal burdens.

Regarding the duration of armed conflict, ten of the sixteen states with MACs experienced short wars, and the modal or majority groupings of states were those with low military spending (ME), low military capability (ME/AF), low overall military effort (MEI), and short wars. In other words, there appears to be a modest association between lower ranking ME-related factors and short conflicts.

However, unlike the findings regarding relative military fiscal burden and the incidence of conflict, ME/CGE bore no clear relationship to the duration of war. Most conflicted states labored under high military burdens, but they were almost evenly divided between short and long wars.

Further Observations and Thoughts
The generally low levels of military spending by SSA states, which translated into relatively low levels of military capability and overall military effort, did not make any appreciable difference to the incidence of war and peace in the region during the 1990s.

Only one measure – military fiscal burden (ME/CGE) – stood out among our selected ME-related indicators as a discriminator. Curiously, the twenty-six peaceful states employed either low or high military fiscal burden strategies in nearly equal measure. It would be interesting and perhaps instructive to compare these two categories of states to determine the reasons for their divergent approaches to military burden bearing.

On the other hand, for most of the sixteen war-prone SSA states, the price of conflict was a higher proportion of national treasure allocated to the defense sector. But unfortunately, such greater sacrifices did not make any apparent difference in the duration of their wars: the thirteen states with the highest ME/GCE scores were almost evenly divided between those that experienced short conflicts and those that suffered protracted wars.

That ME/CGE should turn out to be the only discriminating factor to emerge in this study is significant for both analytical and policy-related reasons. Analytically, our finding corroborates the crowding-out effect of increased military spending on government social expenditures found to be almost universal among Third World states in conflicts (Stewart & FitzGerald 2001: 83-89, 231). Policy-wise, by underscoring the difficult choices and real tradeoffs made by governments at war, it highlights the responsibility they, their allies, and their armed adversaries share for the consequences of falling into the war trap. Not only do they suffer heavy social and economic costs and developmental regression, but even the increased burdens of defense do not reduce the duration of war.

Finally, two questions bear further reflection and investigation. First, regarding war and peace: how should we interpret the curious finding that the overwhelming majority of both peaceful and war-prone states had a common military profile: low rankings on most ME-related indicators? What does this say of the debates about "peace through strength" and realist theories of conflict and deterrence? True, such theories are about international relations and conflict, and most of Africa’s wars have been internal. But does this mean that the military power of states (even weak ones) is irrelevant to their internal security? For SSA states in the 1990s it certainly seems so.

Or does it? Since a substantial majority of the SSA states that suffered MACs had low ME-related scores, does this imply that military weakness was a prelude to or correlate of conflict? Not in the face of the finding that more than four-fifths of the states that enjoyed uninterrupted peace also had low military capability scores. The puzzle remains.

The second question concerns the duration of armed conflict: how should we interpret the evident but modest consistent association between lower ranking ME-related factors (ME, ME/AF, and MEI) and short conflicts? At first blush, such patterns seem counterintuitive: one might logically expect states with lower levels of military spending, military capability, and overall military effort to be unable to terminate their conflicts sooner than more militarily robust states. Here we would suggest that other factors were probably at work, combining with low ME-related indicators to produce this peculiar outcome. As acknowledged earlier, the simple research design of this paper is not well suited to using conflict duration as a measure of military success or failure.

In the larger picture, this paper has only scratched the surface of a complex set of issues and relationships. Hopefully, it will stimulate further and more advanced research on the security-related aspects of military spending in Africa and elsewhere.


References
Collier, Paul and Anke Hoeffler. 2002. "Military Expenditure: Threats, Aid and Arms Races." Draft paper at http://econ.worldbank.org/files/15711_CollierHoefflerMilitarySpillovers.pdf.

Mohammed, Nadir A. L. 1999. "Civil Wars and Military Expenditures: A Note." Draft paper at http://econ.worldbank.org/files/13215_Mohammed.pdf.

Omitoogun, Wuyi. 2000. "Military Expenditure in Africa." Appendix 5D in SIPRI Yearbook 2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 281-298.

________. 2001. "Military Expenditure and Conflict in Africa." DPMN Bulletin 8/1: 10 pp. [Leiden: Development Policy Management Network, African Studies Centre].

Stewart, Frances, Valpy FitzGerald and associates. 2001. War and Underdevelopment. 2 vols. Volume 1: The Economic and Social Consequences of Conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. SIPRI Yearbook: World Armaments and Disarmament. Annual.

U.S. Department of State. World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers. Annual.


This paper was prepared for presentation on the panel "Managing Conflict: The Military-Diplomatic Dimension" during the 46th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, Boston, MA, October 30 – November 2, 2003. Its original title was "War and Peace in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-1999: Does Military Spending Matter?"

Joseph P. Smaldone (Ph.D., Northwestern Univ., 1970), adj. professor at Georgetown University, retired in 2001 from the U.S. Department of State after thirty years in government. During the 1990s he servied in the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. His academic career includes adjunct professorships at a number of Washington-area universities. Dr. Smaldone has published several books and monographs and dozens of journal articles, chapters, and professional conference papers.

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