Bears And Bulls
Kerry says US Navy
destroyer could have shot down Russian warplanes
As silly as the narrative may be, the consequences will be very real. Further deterioration in the already tattered relationship between the U.S. and
Russia will not benefit Russia in the slightest.
For all the bravado, Russia is in a very bad place, it's getting much worse as time passes, and further economic isolation and sanctions will not
improve the tumbling Russian economy.
saber-rattling only serves to paint Russia as a threat that needs to be neutralized, rather than a great nation that needs to be treated with
But it's not just NATO at Russia's doorstep. China is slowly but methodically working to establish itself as the dominant power in Central Asia and
reverse its previous losses to the Soviet Union. As benign as President Xi's One Belt, One
initiative may seem, its ultimate effect will be similar to that of NATO's push into Eastern Europe, with similar effects on Russian
influence in the region.
On the military front, Russia does have nuclear weapons, but the NATO missile defense system aims squarely at that, and the U.S. in particular has
been quietly developing a range of technologies that can reliably counter Russia's nuclear arsenal (as well as those of other nations). Aside from the
fact that using them would invite apocalyptic reprisal, relying too heavily upon them even as a deterrent would be unwise.
Conventional weapons still decide outcomes. Though Russia is well aware of that and has been upgrading its military, it's no match for a 500 pound
gorilla like the U.S.
To illustrate (figures estimated and approximated in U.S. dollars):
Russian Budget (2016):
Russian Military Budget (2016):
U.S. Military Budget (2016):
The U.S. military budget is over 11 times the size of Russia's, and about 2.5 times the size of Russia's entire government budget. And the ruble is
Russia is living on borrowed time. If it is to survive the relentless forces pushing in on it from all sides, it's going to need adult supervision.
That necessarily involves not behaving like a drunken hillbilly waving a shotgun around and threatening everyone in the neighborhood.
For now, there's still a choice, but only for a little while longer. If President Putin isn't up to the job of bringing sanity to Russian governance,
he will eventually be replaced by someone who is.