Monday, February 02, 2009

Understanding the Venezuelan Armed Forces (or whatever Chavez has renamed them) 

A major topic of disagreement between me and ow relates to defense expenditures. I will try to more or less explain why it is important for Venezuela to re arm itself during the upwards oil cycle.


This graph is slightly misleading in that it does not account for extra-budget purchases in 2008, but nevertheless is accurate for what is the normal budget for the armed forces.

In other words our armed forces are qualitative, our regional rival Colombia has a quantitative armed forces, they have to purchase cheap, old, used jets while we get Su-30, they don't have MBT while we have, they don't have SAM but we do etc. Yet what they pay for defense is astronomical year in and year out, while we only have to truly devote 1% of GDP towards defense and yet have a better prepared armed forces.

That said the only way to maintain the qualitative edge is through periodical purchases (every 20 years at the very least) or more precisely when the price of oil spikes. For if we don't we might end up paying more in the long run, while being less protected.


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