Russia fact of the day

Russian military spending fell by a fifth last year, its first decline in nearly two decades, with tighter purse-strings likely to affect Moscow’s military activity ahead, a report by defense think-tank SIPRI showed on Wednesday.

Here is the full story, and for the pointer I thank J.  Oh, and there is this:

Russia dropped to fourth place in the ranking of the world’s biggest military spenders, overtaken by Saudi Arabia.


"Russia dropped to fourth place in the ranking of the world’s biggest military spenders, overtaken by Saudi Arabia"

Am I reading this right? I presume the top 2 are US and China. So Saudi Arabia spends more on defence than India?

India ranks ninth.

To put that in perspective, India is 40 times Saudi Arabia in population and about 12 times Saudi Arabia in PPP adjusted total GDP.

The real perspective is the differential between China and India. Because China isn't generally very considerate of borders between itself and weaker neighbors. Granted, the border between China and India isn't particularly valuable.

Saudi Arabia is also much much wealthier than India, no?

Yes. But India is still 12 times larger GDP wise. In per-capita terms, Saudi Arabia is about 3.5 times as wealthy as India.

Actually SA is like 7 times as wealthy. Also, military expenditures are not in PPP. In PPP Russia's military expenditures for 2016 are 200 billion dollars instead of 55 billion and China's are 380 billion instead of 210 billion for the same year.

I think SA spends 10% of GDP on defense compared to India's 2.5%. On first glance, 10% seems like a LOT to spend on defense. Iran, America's perpetual enemy spends only 3% of GDP on defense and even Israel, with existential threats surrounding it, spends about 6% on it.

World-wide military spending looks like this.

Apples to oranges. The U.S. spends most of their defense funding on salaries. Almost every other country conscripts their military and pays them peanuts. If they paid the same those stats would be very different.

The US has eleven aircraft carriers. No other country has more than one currently in service.

By the standards of most other countries the US has 20 aircraft carriers. 11 "supercarriers" that launch planes that are little different from ground-based aircraft and 9 amphibious assault ships that launch STOVL aircraft like Harriers, MV-22 Ospreys, and F-35s. They can all also launch helicopters, but most warships have that capability.

"amphibious assault ships"

This is what most [if not all] "carriers" of other countries are if we were using correct terminology.

The America class displaces 45,000 tons compared to the Charles de Gaulle which is 42,500 tons.

The America has a shorter deck but the f-35 it can launch is a regular type plane, the equal or superior to the planes the French or Russians or Indians use.

As others have said; PPP adjustment. India gets a lot more for its money than Saudi, especially in raw manpower.

Does Trump realize selling military equipment to Saudi Arabia is selling military equipment to Muslims?

So was arming the mujahideen to murder Russians. It seems that when money speaks, the laws fall mute.

My sense is that whatever it is that is roiling the Arab world -- probably another spasm of fundamentalism -- America played only a smart part in it, with globalization playing a far greater part.

Islamic fundamentalism is a largely internal issue, in places that are neither states nor nations in the way we in the west think of them. Of course, the outside / external world of America, Israel, Iran, Europe, etc. matters. But I suspect that with or without Stinger missiles, the fervour would still have been doing its thing.

But if Americans hadn't support the Saudis nd the Afghan Mujahideen, I dounpbt the world situation would hve been so dire. America, like Dr. Frankenstein, has created a monster.

Saudia Arabia has always been conservative. And Russia avante garde.

And America supported the Saudi terrorists.

>Does Trump realize selling military equipment to Saudi Arabia is selling military equipment to Muslims?


And I'm sure that this will cause you to reconsider your absurd post, and also your absurdly-held beliefs.

Ha! Just kidding! Enjoy wallowing in the filth of your own self-imposed idiocy for as long as you wish!

TPM, +1. I cannot understand the epistemology of people like Jay.
They make a supposition on the world, e.g. "Trump hates muslims".
Then they make an observation "Trump sells arm to muslims" that seems to contradict their supposition. And instead of correcting their supposition and looking for more observation, they conclude: "the world is too stupid to know how it should behave".

In fact, it is not only people like Jay, but venerable institutions like the NYT that have played this little game many times for 2 years now: "Trump will do that, you'll see". Then two days after "Trump has not done that, that shows how inconsequential he is".

Stupidity is everywhere.

Yea but what about Russia's spending on troll factories? I can barely sleep at night due to worrying about the latest savage Pepe meme that will shatter our democracy.

Russia spends about $1.25 million/month for messages that at least 150 million Americans saw on Facebook alone. You can bet they aren't cutting that line item by a single ruble. The Pentagon spends more than that subscriptions to UFC fights.

Ban Facebook!

Care about and at least try to prevent future Russian meddling in elections!

I emphatically refuse to care about Russian meddling in elections, be it hypothetical, insignificant, or just plain funny.


Face it, you just can't deal with the fact that your girl lost.

Russian "meddling" [ie advertisements] is just a stab in the back theory.

The issue is deceptive manipulation of social opinion. Almost by definition social opinion matters to anyone advocating for anything As long as people allow themselves to be manipulated, they will be. Be skeptical.

The Russians!!!

Exactly. Can we even believe the FAKE NEWS about decreased military spending? 60 years ago, a bunch of un-American lunatics imagined the Rooskies were messing with us (hiding under the BEDS! lol), but now, in the face of a real Russian threat, America is asleep at the wheel. Except for you, Jan. Thank you.


Our Savior Mueller needs to address the real Russia threat. Subpoena and depose the NRA and GOP. Putin is flooding Facebook and sending them like a billion dollars a month.

That is the nicest thing you've written in months. You forgot "incontinent."

Coincidentally, my niece Facebooked that Kanye West is crazy and not responsible for his comments re: my President.

Thank God, unlike Hitler, you geniuses can't ship us off to concentration camps - yet.

You probably do deserve worse, if you are one of the nimrods who bought the "Russians want to be our friends" line in 2016.

Remember all the problems we're going to solve together? How did that work out in say, Syria?

Meanwhile we scrambled to secure election systems from our old "friends."

Old saying: Nations don't have permanent friends. Nations have permanent interests.

What are youse (that's the plural of 'you' because you said 'we' are feverishly - better than 'scrambling'. . .blah, blah, blah) doing to secure your next fixed election. Do youse have proof that a voting machine was hacked by you leftist's previous BFF - the Kremlin?

All you need to do is get more illegals, non-citizens, and dead people to vote democrat in WI, OH, PA, etc.

I totally did! I was hoping we could reset our relationship with Russia, silly me.

Check how quickly the predictable types resort to ad hominem arguments and see where they feel vulnerable.

On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump called into Fox & Friends and went on such a rant that even the show’s conservative hosts seemed startled. “You look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it’s a disgrace,” he said. “And our Justice Department—which I try and stay away from, but at some point I won’t—our Justice Department should be looking at that kind of stuff, not the nonsense of collusion with Russia.” As if to protect Trump from further embarrassment, Brian Kilmeade cut the interview short by saying, “We’d talk to you all day but it looks like you have a million things to do.”

Buy you know, caper and dance, about Pepe and memes.

Corruption at the FBI and the DoJ is a disgrace. They have been pushing a coup attempt to cover up what looks like illegal wire tapping of an American Presidential campaign for over a year now. To do that they have perjured themselves repeatedly and perverted the course of justice.

If the Right was doing this to the Left there would be riots in the streets.

goofball or goonies?

Agreed. In the last 2 years I have upgraded the "Deep State" meme from "tentative" to "strong".

And did I say Russia is not cutting its military budget? Do you think they aren't going to increase their already tiny trolling budget. If so, I have a bridge to sell you. Fake News! That's your team's phrase, bud.

If the hypothesis is that $200,000 in Facebook ads swings elections, then defend that.

It has certain implications, of course. Like the implication that billions spent on tv/radio and Facebook ads by the two major parties did nothing compared to a couple hundred grand spent by Russia.

I mean shit, we could do that in every country and swing elections!

Goodbye Putin, we’ll start a revolution against you with Facebook ads and frog memes!

Get real.

Trump is stupid and an embarrassment. Stick with that, it has the benefit of being logically sound and obvious.

Yeah, just wait until those sanctions and all those countermeasures go into effect. We're really serious this time. Oh...

Partisanship is a hell of a drug.

YA+SH+SKaB+OBL=1107 when Fadl ibn Rabi'ah is expelled from Syria and Chinese money is printed in 3 colours, to stymie counterfeiting.

1107/TM=4.941964286, 1964, August 27 – Walt Disney's Mary Poppins has its world premiere in Los Angeles
March 6 – While campaigning for the presidency, Abraham Lincoln makes a speech defending the right to strike.
Born: May 2 – Theodor Herzl, Austrian founder of modern political Zionism

On the other hand, the franchise, Cushman and Wakefield, TCM (199)/OBL(199)=1, Edward=55, Michael Jordan is 55 years old...0.904523

On March 28, 1990, near the end of the 1989–90 season, the Cleveland Cavaliers faced their new nemesis Michael Jordan. Needing the victory to clinch a playoff berth, Jordan set his career high with 69 points in an overtime win and putting a dent in the Cavaliers' playoff plans.March 28 – U.S. President George H. W. Bush posthumously awards Jesse Owens the Congressional Gold Medal.

Yeah, I heard the Russians forced Hillary to focus her on Brooklyn, NY or Marin County, CA - while NOT campaigning in key battle ground states/flyover territory such as WI.

And she just happened to label all Trump voters and potential Trump voters as idiots, despicable, scum of the earth, etc. via Putin mind control technology of course.

It's also a very healthy climate when MSM figures and Democrats take criticisms of US foreign policy as a Russian talking points.

You're an idiot if you don't see how this is a separate and serious issue than where Clinton campaigned. But deflection and denial have been key strategies since all of this came to light.

Hell, I do it on Twitter and BlogSpot for free. And on MR. You're welcome.

Do you happen to be friends with white incels who drive white vans?

If you are worried about Pepe you are fighting the last war (election). The horrifying memes that will destabilize 2020 have not even been invented yet!

Yeah, what if they create actual events on divisive topics that real people attend, like the "Stop Islamization of Texas” rally?

Russians are EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!

Did you go to the rally? Because a lot of Texans did.

Really? From what I can see about 150 went to CAIR's pro-Islam rally and maybe, at best, twice that went to the counter-protest.

That would be an interesting definition of "lots".

Ban Events!

"Ban Events!"

Phht, you are just going after the symptom there. You need to tackle the root cause.

Ban People!

You could solve the problem with IQ testing for voters but I know that isn't going to happen (nor should it, on principle)

You can't take Jan's right to vote that easily.

When you're tribes a winnin' you don't ask questions. You hit the accelerator!

MAGA. Pruitt/Omarosa 2024!

Unfortunately, people are effing stupid, especially the elected in majority in Congress. The Russians have figured out lawmakers aren't going to do anything to stop them, so might as well let it rip. I think it's all pretty funny today. Freedom. MAGA.

Pruitt/Carson 2024!

Why shouldn't the Russians rip? What difference does it make? Seriously - is there any evidence that a couple of Facebook ads make any difference at all? Russia has been bankrolling anti-Fracking protests. How is that working out for them? The US stopped fracking yet?

The only time Russian money seems to have had an impact on American politics is when they gave a lot of money to people like the Students for a Democratic Society so they would protest the Vietnam War. If you want to jail Hanoi Jane and Tom Hayden, which would be hard as he is dead, I am all for it. But somehow I suspect you don't.

The most telling demonstration of the threat is the whole country is going back to paper ballots.

Remember, while memes got through, actual intrusions in voting systems were attempted nationwide.

But you know laugh, because that's the bed you made.

Sorry, what bed did we make and who is we?

Who made their bed? Everyone who laughed at "progressives" because they wouldn't trust Putin in 2016. Everybody who would rather talk about Pepe than Mueller's indictments now.

You are complicit and comically so.

Hey just wondering, did the US ever interfere in anyone's elections?

Was it a scale equal or above allegations of "hacking" DNC emails that exposed DNC's scumbaggery?

Sure this is the commie whatboutism, but I never knew pointing out hypocrisy is a bad thing.

That would be our enemies position, that our worst faillings. should set the standard, the baseline, for our future performance.

But certainly a friend would not say that. A friend of the United States, or a friend of virtue, would ask us to step up to our best.

Could anyone ask Hillary's campaign what the weather is like in Wisconsin between April through November 2016? I heard it matters.

Given Trumps "anti-interventionist" message and the popularity that generated (obviously a lie now), maybe if Hillary didn't campaign as a Democrat John McCain things would have been different instead of blame omni-present Russians and promote a neo-Mccarthyism?

Trump's obviously pro-interventionist. By Russia.

Last I checked the US still regarded Crimea as part of Ukraine.

We just transferred advanced anti-tank weapons to the Ukranians.

Who was president when the Russians took the Crimea?

Who made their bed? Everyone who laughed at "progressives" because they wouldn't trust Putin in 2016. Everybody who would rather talk about Pepe than Mueller's indictments now.

How about everyone who laughed at Mitt Romney when he tried to warn people about Putin? That would be Obama by the way.

I can remember what the bien passant said about Romney at the time. In fact I bet you could go back to MR in those days and find some choice comments from Jan about how stupid Romney was.

But yes, we should be talking about Mueller's outrageous and illegal coup attempt.

Strictly speaking, did Romney warned us about conventional warfare, or a new asymmetrical threat?

Everyone acts as though it's some kind kind of disaster for Russia (which is par for the course of the Western Russia coverage.) In reality, this has been planned for years.

Here is Jay Nordlinger of National Review quoting Putin in January 2017:

“National defense is the biggest spending item in the budget. In 2011, we spent 2.7 percent of our GDP on defense. This year, and over the last five years, we have substantially increased defense spending. This year’s [i.e. 2017] figure will come to 4.7 percent of GDP.”

“Next year [2018], the figure will be 3.3 percent, and in 2019, 2.8 percent. We will arrive at this level of 2.8 and maintain it there over the several years to follow.”

Still, next year you can expect breathless headlines: "Russia's Defense Spending Decreases Again, Russian Economy is Crashing, Putin is About to Fall."

I though Russia was aiming at around 6% of GDP in military spending to keep up with their arms race.

Militarily, Russia is France with more nukes. Excepting nukes, they are a regional power at best, with very little ability to project power outside their borders. Like France.

One ought to include natural resources, manpower, industry, economy, export items, access to ports (old school) etc in evaluating this.

And of course the idea of projecting power is also old school. At least for the moment. A nation can wreak all kinds of havoc simply having a nuke (or maybe having one), having a crazy leader, a platoon of hackers, access to box cutters, or apparently, simply by posting fake news.

Yeah, that's not true. The Russian air force is 3 times the size of France's. The Russian navy is substantially bigger. The Russian Army is 10x the size of the French army.

Don't kid yourself. Russia could curb stomp the military of any single European country.

" Russia could curb stomp the military of any single European country". Right. And probably of all Europe taken together: militarily that's essentially just France + UK. Still, I think that France is capable to resist an invasion of "Pepe the frog"s.

'Russia could curb stomp the military of any single European country.'

The French call it the 'Force de frappe,' and they will happily use it anywhere outside of France, just like they planned to during the Cold War if the Russians invaded the West.

The French military has been active in Africa for five decades. That's outside their borders.

Military spending in Russia in recent years has been about 1/3 higher than France's. I don't think you're in curb-stomping territory there.

Nominal. In PPP terms they are much larger. Russia's army is more powerful than the US's for instance and their Navy and Airforce are still the world's second largest. That it's nominal military spending is 10% of the US shows how irrelevant military expenditure statistics are. Of course, Russia's military currently is an order of magnitude more powerful than France's.

Russia's army is more powerful than the US's for instance

Thanks for the wish-cast. It's been an education.

"more powerful than the US's "

Its bigger, not more powerful. Size is somewhat of a liability in modern warfare.

A US brigade can beat at least two Russian divisions. No army in the world can stand up to a US combined arms effort in the open field.

Let's compare France/Russia:

Personnel: 205,000/1,013,628

Fighter aircraft: 299/818
Attack aircraft: 299/1316

Ground forces:

Tanks: 406/20,300
Artillery pieces and rocket launchers: 134/ 14,252

France's ground forces are about 2% as powerful as Russia's. Actually, Russia's ground forces could easily destroy the US's (their tank and artillery firepower is also multiple times the US's). So Europe is at the mercy of Russia, effectively: if Russia launches a large scale conventional attack on Western Europe their armies and the US's troops in Europe cannot do much. The US has more aircraft but not enough to compensate for this massive difference in ground firepower, specially because Russian AA missiles can easily destroy 99.5% of all NATO aircraft.

Putin doesn't need as many tanks. He can bring western Europe to its knees simply by shutting off the gas and oil.

You accurately describe the imbalances that existed during the Cold War, and the Reds were far forward - on the East German border. Think mutually assured destruction.

Having soundly defeated the Chechen insurgency; conquered Georgia (Not the Georgia from "Gone With The Wind."); and annexed the Crimea (gas/oil), Putin finally can cut back on defense spending.

In the 1980's, Soviet arty, helicopters, jets, and tanks did not beat the Afghans, the most blood-thirsty and vicious race in existence. Not that here is anything wrong with that.

"France's ground forces are about 2% as powerful as Russia's"

I think you meant 20%. And that's in personnel numbers, not in effective combat strength. There's little doubt that the average French soldier is better equipped, supplied and supported than the average Russian soldier.

That being said, the difference is probably on the order of 50-100% better combat effectiveness. So, 200K French might be the equivalent to 400K Russians. That still means the Russian Army is substantially stronger than the French Army.

"Actually, Russia's ground forces could easily destroy the US's (their tank and artillery firepower is also multiple times the US's). "

No, that's just ridiculous. The Russians do not have anywhere close to "20,300" modern tanks. Currently, the Russians have about 900 Active and modern tanks and half of those are T-80's. They also have another 1,900 T-72's. (Which are pretty antiquated at this point.)

Only someone who was truly desperate would commit T-72's to fight the US M1. Here's an account of three T-72's attacking a single disabled M1 during the Gulf War.

"The setting: Desert Storm, during General Barry McCaffrey's 24th Mechanized Infantry Division's run to the Euphrates River. It was raining heavily, and one M1 managed to get stuck in a mud hole and could not be extracted. With the rest of their unit moving on, the crew of the stuck tank waited for a recovery vehicle to pull them out.

Suddenly, as they were waiting, three Iraqi T-72 tanks came over a hill and charged the mud-bogged tank. One T-72 fired a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) round that hit the frontal turret armor of the M1, but did no damage. At this point, the crew of the M1, though still stuck, fired a 120mm armor-piercing round at the attacking tank. The round penetrated the T-72's turret, blowing it off into the air. By this time, the second T-72 had also fired a HEAT round at the M1. That also hit the front of the turret, and did no damage. The M1 immediately dispatched this T-72 with another 120mm round.

After that, the third and now last T-72 fired a 125mm armor-piercing round at the M1 from a range of 400 meters. This only grooved the front armor plate. Seeing that continued action did not have much of a future, the crew of the last T-72 decided to run for cover. Spying a nearby sand berm, the Iraqis darted behind it, thinking they would be safe there. Back in the M1, the crew saw through the Thermal Imaging Sight (TIS) the hot plume of the T-72's engine exhaust spewing up from behind the berm. Aiming carefully through the TIS, the M1's crew fired a third 120mm round through the berm, into the tank, destroying it."

"specially because Russian AA missiles can easily destroy 99.5% of all NATO aircraft."

OK, that's laughably bad. As evidenced by the effectiveness of the Russian supplied Air Defenses in Syria last month.

The Iraqi tanks were firing HEAT rounds because they did not have much in the way of proper armor-piercing shells. Why would they? Their army was fighting Iran which had some older British tanks and not much else.

The Russians on the other hand probably have quite a few depleted uranium long rod penetrators. They have been planning on fighting NATO for a long time.

The Russians have ~500 slightly superior tanks with reasonable quality crews. About 500 inferior tanks, with reasonable quality crews. And ~2000 very inferior tanks with fair/poor quality crews.

You can't just look at the metalwear; when you pull in the overall Russian capabilities across training, infrastructure, logistics, and C2, they are only about half or two-thirds as strong as their raw numbers might suggest.

So "stronger" than UK+France, but not by an order of magnitude, and quite limited capability to deploy and sustain over a duration.

France's ground forces are about 2% as powerful as Russia's.

This is getting amusing.

"Russian AA missiles can easily destroy 99.5% of all NATO aircraft."

That is a laughable assertion.

Russian AA missiles can't even stop Israel from roaming at will in Syria.

"Russian AA missiles can easily destroy 99.5% of all NATO aircraft."

Agreed. Hilariously bad. 40+ launches in Syria and 0 kills on the cruise missiles? These may be mostly older systems but they are modernised with Russian advisors and tech support. The B-team performance doesn't inspire confidence in the Russian A-game.

[Note; OK, everyone wets themselves over the (mostly untested) S-400, but, previous Russian SAMs have also been touted as invincible and have produced one disappointment after another. So adjust your priors]

If only spending meant anything in terms of actual military capabilities. They undoubtedly are getting more bang for the buck than we are. Half of our spending is on "support" rather than forces and what we spend on weapons systems is grossly overpriced. And we are unable to do anything but fail. Look at Libya, Yemen, and Afghanistan. Even Iraq is a tenuous at best situation. Thank God for Russia in Syria or we would be failing there too.

Failing in Syria.

I must confess I am clear neither on the goals nor metrics of success there...

"I must confess I am clear neither on the goals nor metrics of success there..."

Yeah, neither was the Obama administration, nor is the Trump administration.

How about JWatts, are you clear on those?

Yes, crystal clear. I think Trump's original plan was the best option. Get the hell out of a country where we have no strategic interest. That is also true of a lot of other countries where we currently have forces fighting.

As far as I can tell, the Arab Spring was going to sweep away dictators across the Middle East and bring democracy to the region. Our goal was to be a catalyst, nudging here and there (Libya).

Of course, the foul Russians could not countenance such a glorious outcome, so we made common cause with ISIS in Syria.

So far, so good.

Mission accomplished was declared via Tweet. That's all I need to hear. Good job guys.

At least no one has flown them tons of cash in specially chartered airlines to help them fund terrorism and their missile program.

Islamic State occupied territory in Syria has been reduced. Trump should call it a day and pull out.

And I wonder how much the Russkies spend each year on "Can I Kiss You" training?

If their performance in Germany is any indication, not much. Is it the standard we want for America?

No. We want everybody everywhere to behave perfectly at all times. The US is more devoted to that ideal than anyone else. Consequently US defense dollars buy less lethality than any other nation. US military members can better attest than I to the amount of money that go to cotillions, gender dysphoric appreciation months, white privilege denunciation rituals, etc etc but suffice it to say that there is no compelling research to suggest that all the social work and wrong think indoctrination spending translate to any sort of advantage on the battle field.

Peter Zeihan discusses Russia's future prospects in his first book "The Accidental Superpower". in short, Russia is in terminal decline primarily because they have entered a population recede that will last for decades (as in the Endless Recede).

Their population hasn't been receding and they've registered a remarkable improvement in fertility and now compare favorably to most of Europe on that metric. Still more distance to go, but getting there.

Half-credit for each of you, since I'm generous.

Russia has a lower population now than they did in the late-80s. It has, however, started recovering a little bit in the last 9 years -- but growth is still slow. (Yes, the government was happy in 2009 when the first tiny uptick happened in 15 years:

America must be feel good with Russia's suffering, but it just makes Red China a more dangerous enemy. Red China tried to conquer the Soviet Union, India, Vietnam and Cambodia in the past. It did not stop to plan aggression just because naïve Americans buy cheap underwear from it.

It's a good thing that Brazil has staunchly resisted Chinese efforts and refuses to give into China's mercantilistic policies.

Brazil is bidding its time whe it secures our hold on our South American Lebensraum. Brazil has decisively won the recent Paraguayan presidential election.
Brazil will answer with overwhelming power any attempt of interference in South America, but, after the way Brazil has been mistreated (the Huns are invited for celebrations of VE Day, Brazil is not) after helping America to defeat the Nazist beast America supported until the monster turned on it, no one should expect us to shed the precious blood of our youth again to save America from its own mistakes. Americans just have a gift for falling in love with those who murder bright-eyed, young, innocent Americans. Red China, Vietnam, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Korea, Spain, Canada,... Meanwhile, Americans metaphorically spit at the Brazilians who fought for freedom alongside them and gave the last full measure of devotion and consecrated the battlefields of Europe far above our poor power to add or detract.

Russia is playing its own brand of asymmetric warfare.

"Russia Isn’t Just Interfering in Elections Around the World. It’s Doing Something Far Worse: Hunting Down Russian Dissidents Abroad "

From the Russians' point of view, the threat level went down when they put one of their guys in the White House.

That is not a nice thing to say about Obama.

This is just the Left's own version of Birtherism. It is nuts.

Well, just like you lot say them mean old coastal elites kept saying mean things so Trump, now the other lot is saying ok mean things about Trump so landslide 2018.

In other words, yes it's nuts like Birtherism. Maybe don't do Birtherism anymore.

As if there is any valid comparison.

I suggested a rigorous method of quantifying military power here:

According to it, Russia has a third of the military power of the US, but three times that of France [nukes aside]. China is somewhat more powerful, and will today probably be converging to half the US level as of this year.

Of course location plays a critical role. Russia will get rolled in any serious confrontation over Syria, but it can conquer the Baltics pretty easily.

'but three times that of France [nukes aside].'

Finally someone taking note of the Force de frappe. One can certainly assume that the Russians do, as the Russians know that the French will defend themselves to the last German (and these days, one assumes Pole, Hungarian, Romanian, etc.)

I wonder if their military spending is down because the money they're spending on contractors in Syria and Ukraine is up. Way up.

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