There is a very good argument being made that no…while Russia still has boatloads of nuclear weaponry in it’s arsenal, that they really are proven almost daily that they are not what the experts would call a “super power” when it comes to it’s war machine.
Russia is basically fighting Ukraine. Ukraine has a total fighting force of 11.1 million personnel that are available to fight a war. Russia on the other hand has 34.8 million personnel. Russia spends just shy of $62 billion on it’s military. Ukraine spends $5.4 billion. So, why is it that Russia, according to British intelligence, has lost a third of it’s ground forces in it’s invasion of Ukraine?
Russia has not done well in it’s last two wars that it’s taken part in. They fought for a decade in Afghanistan, learning the hard lesson that countless armies before it (and since) have learned. Afghanistan is not a place to fight a war. Russia (the Soviet Union back then) lost about 15,000 solidiers in that war and left Afghanistan with their tail between their legs.
So far in just about three months, Russia has had 15,000 of it’s troops killed, and another 25,000 wounded or captured. That’s 40,000 Russian troops taken out of action in 90 days!
My thought here is that Russia has gone up against two armies that do not rank well in size or stature in the world, and it looks like they’ve done less than a stellar job in winning each of those wars. Now, of course, there is the nuclear option that makes Russia more of a threat than what we’ve seen with their conventional warfare results. But if you take away the nukes (because frankly, they’d be idiots to start a nuclear war), Russia has not shown itself to be able to do much in the way of military battles.
What do you think would have happened if Russia would have attacked say, a NATO country, and the NATO countries responded in force? If you had the 30 members of NATO fighting Russia, my hunch is there would be no contest at the end of the day. Russia has proven that when it comes to conventional warfare, they are poorly trained, and lacking in advanced military hardware.
Of course, China is sitting back, watching what happens in Ukraine before deciding to invade Taiwan, which it claims is a part of mainland China. There is a huge difference between the two situations however. In Ukraine, I’m sure China or Russia never had a single thought that this war would be going on this long and be this protracted for Putin. And what would happen if China invaded Taiwan after watching this and the US decided to come to Taiwan’s defense? China has a huge army. They are better trained and almost as well equipped as Russia’s. But will they fall by the wayside as Russia is apparently doing?
Now, we add to that the continued reporting that Vladimir Putin has either stomach cancer or blood cancer (depending on which source you listen to), and you can see that it may not be long before someone in the Kremlin decides that Putin may not be the best choice to lead the country. It has happened in that nation before!
So, is Russia still a super power? When it comes to conventional warfare, I’d say no. They aren’t any better than Saddam Hussein’s army was during the first Gulf War. Lots of bluster, very little positive traction.
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!