Global arms sales are on the increase, consistent with the growing number of conflicts and deaths brought about by them. The United States and its allies have been the main beneficiaries. Russia, by contrast, is on the decline, a sign that President Vladimir Putin's geopolitical bets aren't turning into long-term influence.

The world has grown significantly less violent since 1950, but there has been a marked uptick in the number of armed conflicts in recent years. The emergence of Islamic State, hostilities in eastern Ukraine and the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar are just some examples.

The number of fatalities has increased even more dramatically, according to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program. Between 2011 and 2017, the average annual death toll from conflict neared 97,000, three times more than in the previous seven-year period.