One way scholars try to measure power using the Realist paradigm is by focusing on relative power. in these graphs I will be using two metrics: military spending and gdp (ppp).

What becomes puzzling is that some countries have large shares of the GDP yet spend less on their military. Here is my hypothesis (which I will try to resolve later): countries with a high GDP per capita are able to tax their populations/dedicate oil revenues towards military expenditures more because individuals can withstand the cuts in income better. For example, Egypt’s per capita GDP is only $6,200 in 2010, while Israel and the UAE had an income of $29,500 and $40,200 respectively. For some countries, the numbers may not tell the whole story. In Iran there are at least 3 organizations who could be counted under military expenses: the IRCG, the Baseej, and finally their traditional military. SIPRI may have only counted the latter.

Note: I didn’t include Turkey because: a) they haven’t been involved in any interstate conflicts in the middle east in the past 65 years and b) their placement in the middle east isn’t entirely agreed on by middle east experts. (they would also fuck everything up by having an enormous economy/share of military spending).