Five Facts on a Dangerous World

Five Facts on a Dangerous World

When President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden meet for their first debate next Thursday, they’ll likely be asked how they plan to navigate a world marked by escalating dangers. With conflicts simmering in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and beyond, the stakes for global stability have seldom been higher.

Here are Five Facts about our increasingly dangerous world:

  1. There was a 12 percent increase in global conflict events in 2023.

These violent conflict events can range from instances of marauding gangs to large-scale military operations. This increase translates to over 15,000 more violent events like attacks and bombings compared to the previous year. This follows a significant 32 percent spike in 2022, fueled in part by the conflict in Ukraine, which accounted for nearly 28 percent of all global conflict events.

  1. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, there are at least 28 conflicts around the world that threaten U.S. interests.

These range from regional and civil conflicts like the ongoing civil strife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to cold wars with global implications, including the tensions in the Taiwan Strait and Russian-Ukrainian War. Of the 28 listed conflicts, 23 are in Africa and Asia, four are in the Americas, and one is in Europe. Close to the U.S., CFR lists the violent war the Mexican government is waging against drug cartels and the instability in Haiti as two crises that have a significant impact on America.

  1. Three in four Americans believe there is likely to be a large-scale global conflict in the next 25 years.

According to a survey by Ipsos for the Halifax International Security Forum, about 70 percent of participants from 30 countries anticipate a major world conflict, similar to the world wars, occurring within the next 25 years. In the U.S., this sentiment is slightly higher than average at 76 percent.

  1. Total military spending around the world rose for the ninth straight year.

Military expenditures worldwide reached a staggering total of $2.4 trillion. Notably, every geographic region defined by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported increases, with significant growth noted in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East. China, as the world’s second largest spender on the military, increased its budget to an estimated $296 billion in 2023, marking its 29th year of consecutive growth. The United States continues to spend the most on defense, but Russia outpaces the U.S. when it comes to spending as an overall percent of their economy, devoting a staggering 10.4 percent of GDP to their military in 2022, although the U.S. still spends more than Russia on an absolute basis.

  1. The Doomsday Clock is set to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest to midnight it has ever been.

The Doomsday Clock provides a visual representation and expert assessment of the world's vulnerability to existential threats, serving as a call to action to address these dangers before they escalate beyond control. Set at 90 seconds to midnight since January 2023, the Doomsday Clock reflects the closest approach to a global catastrophe since its creation in 1947 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (it was initially set at seven minutes to midnight). This setting warns of the severe risks posed by modern scientific and technological advancements, including nuclear technology.