The Daily Beast reported, “The Pentagon Isn’t Ready for a New Cold War.”
I read the Daily Beast’s post and burst out laughing. The first thing I thought was the Pentagon is addicted to massive budgets. This is a ploy to stir up fear in Americans (again—it’s worked so well in the past. I’m thinking Vietnam and Iraq.) who’ll demand that Congress and the President increases the shrinking defense budget.
Let’s look at some numbers to see if Russia really wants to start a war with the United States and NATO.
First: The US has the third largest population in the world at 316.6 million, and 120 million are considered fit to serve in the military if we needed to call them up. There are 1.4 million active military with an active (trained) reserve of an addition 850+ thousand. In addition, the European Union (the EU is mostly made of NATO nations) has more than 1.5 million in its military and a total population of more than 500 million.
How about Russia? It has a total population of 145.5 million (Less than half of the US not counting the EU). Russia only has 46.8 million considered fit to serve; its active military numbers 766,000 with an active reserve of about 2.48 million (you can bet that they aren’t as well trained as the US reserves).
Second: The US has the largest manufacturing sector in the world. No matter how much we hear about the US losing jobs to China, China is only number two. If you doubt that, check out what Carpe Diem has to say: If Separate, America’s Manufacturing Sector Would Rank as the Tenth Largest Economy in the World
Compared to other countries, Russia only ranks 9th—a fraction of America’s manufacturing ability.
Carpe Diem also says, “American manufacturing is alive and well and poised for even greater growth in the future. Flush with record-level profits, the manufacturing sector has never been financially healthier than it is today and the future of American manufacturing has never looked brighter.” In fact, jobs are starting to come back from foreign countries.
Third: the US has ten active nuclear powered Nimitz-class super carriers. No other country in the world has even one carrier with the capability of any one of these ten. In addition, the US is building three Ford class super carriers that will be even more advanced and lethal. The US has a naval fleet of 473 ships. In addition, the European Union has 543 more naval ships.
What about Russia? It has one active aircraft carrier that’s about half the size of a Nimitz and it isn’t nuclear powered. Russia has 352 ships in its naval fleet.
According to Global Fire Power, the US has 13,683 total military aircraft and 6,012 helicopters. In addition, the EU adds another 2,037 fighter aircraft.
What about Russia? Total military aircraft of 3,082 in addition to 973 choppers.
What about tanks? The US has 8,325 tanks (several thousand are already in Europe). The European Union has another 6,510 tanks. Russia has 15,500 but only 1,667+ are its latest main battle tank—most are outdated (see embedded video). All of America’s tanks are the latest version.
The stupidest thing Putin could do is to pick a war with the European Union and the United States. Of course national leaders aren’t known to think rationally, but I’d place my money on the fact that Putin is bluffing, Obama may have blinked, and the US Pentagon is using this as an excuse to drum up support for bigger budgets.
Why is Putin bluffing? Because Americans are war weary after more than a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s gambling that public opinion in the US will hold back NATO, Obama and Congress from acting boldly to push Russia back with a show of force that Russia couldn’t match in its wildest dreams.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.
His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.
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