posted on Jul, 31 2005 @ 08:19 PM
I'd say Israel is currently the world's 4th most powerful army. Although several nations deploy much larger armies than Israel, the IDF
(specifically, the IAF) is probably one of the most experienced forces in the world today. Almost all Israelis (men and women) undergo a tour of duty
in the IDF. Israel maintains an extremely advanced and capable airforce, extremely well-trained and equipped ground forces (Merkava Mk.4), and more
than anything else, their population is hardened against war. Having withstood terrorism for decades, the Israeli people know the realities of combat,
with the result that they are more than willing to die for their country.
Israel also maintains (though denies the existence of) a significant complement of tactical nuclear weapons, and they possess the capability to
project their power throughout the region. No other nation in the Middle East can so effectively go to war than Israel. With an impressive defense
industry and the backing of America (with the result that they often end up with our newest toys before we get them...), Israel is a very
3rd place probably goes to the United Kingdom. The Royal Navy is one of the finest in the world, and their STOVL carriers can project a degree of
force around the world. The Royal Navy is also acquiring two true conventional carriers in the next few years, which will give them power
projection they haven't had since World War II. The remainders of the British Empire (the Falklands, Diego Garcia, etc.) also give the UK bases
around the world, so they have a presence elsewhere than the British Isles. With exceptional special forces and a well-trained (and financed) military
(plus nukes!), the UK is a very powerful force.
China has tons of men, but lots of equipment that is terribly maintained and wasn't so great to begin with. China has no hope of invading Taiwan in
their current state; unless they want to nuke Taiwan (and they won't, since they want Taiwan for its industry and a radioactive parking-lot doesn't
HAVE an industry), they'll need to sealift and airlift forces over, and the capability simply isn't there (yet). Analysts are calling China's
invasion plans for Taiwan the "million man swim", since there's no way that the PLAN can carry enough men to successfully establish a beachhead.
Add to the fact that the 7th Fleet would probably step in, and China remains an impotent power: they could probably defend their homeland, but they
can't project power.