Worldwide weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service.

U.S. arms sales to both developed and developing nations reached $66.3 billion last year, up from $21.4 billion in 2010, the report found. Russia, the nation with the second highest weapon sales, sold $4.8 billion worth of arms. Meanwhile, total worldwide weapon sales nearly doubled to $85.3 billion, making the U.S. responsible for more than three-quarters of the global total.

Some of the biggest purchasers of U.S. weapons were Middle Eastern nations, including Saudi Arabia, whose purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters in part accounted for a $30 billion bill. The U.S. also sold around $2 billion worth of antimissile batteries to Taiwan, a deal that stoked the ire of China and caused tension during a diplomatic Chinese military visit last July.

For its part, Russia has also faced criticism for its weapons dealings with Syria, which remains embroiled in a civil war since March 2011.

The United Nations failed to reach a consensus last month on a treaty to increase regulation of the arms industry, but further talks are expected leading up to a possible vote by the end of the year.

(Hat tip: The New York Times)

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  • #5 Russian Federation

    Russia spends about $59 Billion on military expenses, less than 10% of what the United States spends. Russia spends more on military than most other countries on both a per capita basis ($410) and as a percent of GDP (4.0%).

  • #4 France

    France spends about $59 Billion on military expenses, less than 10% of what the United States spends. France spends more on military than most other countries on a per capita basis ($912) and less as a percent of GDP (2.3%).

  • # 3 United Kingdom

    The United Kingdom spends about $60 Billion on military expenses, less than 10% of what the United States spends. The UK spends more on military than most other countries on both a per capita basis ($961) and as a percent of GDP (2.7%).

  • #2 China

    China spends about $119 Billion on military expenses, roughly 7% of the entire world's expenses and less than 20% of the amount the US spends. China spends less on military than most other countries on both a per capita basis ($89) and on a percent of GDP (2.1%).

  • #1 United States of America

    The United States spends about $700 Billion on military expenses or about 43% of the world's total. Its expenditure per capita ($2,240) and its percent of GDP spent on military (4.8%) are much higher than most other countries in the world. American military expenses have dramatically increased in the last decade due to the wars with the budget for defense more than twice what it spent in 2000 and about 20 percent of its entire federal budget.

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