Russia in less than 20 years managed to overtake and overtake the Western powers in the development of new types of weapons.
Western experts, to whom politicians and the media listen, are accustomed to talking about post-Soviet Russia as a country that is unable to achieve anything without the help of the West. Now they are discouraged by how Russia military confirms its own strategic vision in Syria and the Crimea, while the Western media express disappointment through rough provocations.
But what is the reason for the underestimation of Russian military capabilities, and why did everything become so big surprise?
The two main reasons for this blindness are related to economic and social disruption in Russia in the 1990-ies. This was a determining factor, especially when comparing defense budgets.
When converted to dollars at the moment, Russia's military budget is 10 times less than that of the United States.
How many times have we heard these figures, including from the Russian media or even from President Putin himself?
Both countries allocate for defense the order of 4-5% of GDP. The US budget is initially calculated in dollars, and the Russian budget in rubles.
Therefore, experts translate the Russian defense budget into dollars at the current rate for comparison with US military expenditures.
Nevertheless, GDP can hardly be called an effective tool for such a comparison. In this case, it is much more appropriate to guide GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP), if we want to obtain comparable values.
The Russian military-industrial complex is almost completely independent of imports, and the exchange rate does not affect the country's military policy.
I will give an example: after the fall of the ruble exchange rate in 2014-2015, its value for several months decreased by half compared to the dollar. This was a blow to the Russian economy, as it actually doubled the value of currency imports in dollars or euros, but had virtually no effect on the military industry, which imports only machines. The Russian military-industrial complex continued to produce former volumes of weapons, scientific research was on its way, and the functioning of the army did not change. Nevertheless, in terms of dollars, the military budget seriously dipped compared to the US in terms of the allocated share of GDP: from 1 to 8 in 2014 to 1 to 14 in 2015.
It is now difficult to make accurate calculations, since the GDP (GDP) (PPP) and the percent allocated for defense purposes vary from year to year in Russia and the US in different ways. In addition, certain areas, for example, scientific research, can be financed from other budgets. On the basis of all this, we can still draw a picture that reflects reality, without going into complicated calculations.
If we start from GDP (PPP), then the ratio is 1 to 5. This is still very much, however, other corrections can be made to the equation.
- The US as an empire allocates a significant part of the defense budget for the deployment of its forces around the world. Russia defends its interests exclusively in the near abroad and does not need their deployment beyond its borders, which means significant savings.
- The USA contains 11 aircraft carriers, which each time is accompanied by a whole flotilla of dozens of ships, while Russia has only one ship of this type, which also rarely leaves the base. Another significant source of savings.
- The US has more than 800 military bases outside its national borders against a dozen in Russia (21, if we add logistics support centers here).
- The US launched extremely expensive military programs like the THAAD anti-missile systems, the development and production of which cost more than 886 billion dollars, according to Reuters. Asymmetric response of Russia was the release of relatively inexpensive missiles and torpedoes of a new type, which can bypass protection, thus restoring parity.
- The fifth generation F-350JSF bomber became a failure, despite the cost of about a trillion dollars. One explanation for this may be the scarcity of Native American scientists due to the catastrophic situation in the national education, in particular because of its huge cost.
- Most of the best students go to the faculties of law or medicine, because these specializations can bring them the biggest earnings and allow easier to pay off the loan. Science is not very popular, and only the most motivated choose this path and end the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
For obvious reasons of security and military secrecy, only Native Americans are allowed to participate in military programs, and once there is a deficit among scientists, this can not but affect the quality of defense research.
- Science (especially mathematics and physics) has always been Russia's strongest side since Soviet times. Therefore, she has many experts for the development of weapons.
- Military production in the US is distributed throughout the country for political reasons and reasons for free competition. This situation leads to a waste of excess funds. In Russia, the military industry is centralized, which gives tangible savings.
- 15 years of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have depleted the American land forces and led to the wear and tear of equipment. This allowed Russia and China to strengthen their positions without attracting the attention of Western military experts.
- 15 years of wars have also distracted the attention of the United States from strategic opponents in the struggle against weaker opponents who adhere to the strategy of asymmetric conflicts.
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu put things in order in the ministry, having finished the mess with his predecessor.
- The American defense is a concentration of huge embezzlement, in particular because of inflated prices and payments to local armed groups in the occupied countries, so that they guarantee the security of the US military.
- The military call is still mandatory in Russia, and the service lasts 12 months. All this allows you to create a reserve of 2 million people at extremely low costs.
This long list makes it possible to better understand the shift of equilibrium towards Russia, despite the huge budget difference. In general, the US military is still largely superior to Russia's, but Moscow has formed a deterrent arsenal, whose retaliatory strike could entail unacceptable losses for any aggressor.
It should also be noted that even during the Yeltsin period, military research did not stop, despite the lack of finance.
In other words, Russia has come a long way since the first war in Chechnya (1994-1996), when the former Red Army received nuts from several thousand jihadists, and even from 2012, when Mond wrote that it does not have the means to confront with West by Syria, and that it will have to bend over to the other members of the G8 because of economic pressure alone.
A breakthrough was made in supersonic weapons, electronic warfare, semi-orbital nuclear weapons (Sarmat missiles), ground, air and underwater guided missiles, air defense and missile defense, secret submarines of the latest generation, lasers and other areas of classical and nuclear weapons. Western sanctions and Russian countermeasures, the country's economy is increasingly dependent on Western neo-liberal capitalism, and its army has become a dangerous force that will only grow stronger in the coming years.
Vladimir Putin set a goal to update 79% of the entire arsenal of the army to 2020 (now this figure is 65%).
Only the US Donald Trump realized the threat (for them). But now it's too late, and it will take America years or even decades to once again become an indestructible military giant. In addition, this requires enormous financial resources.
War with Russia is absolutely impossible if we do not want the complete destruction of humanity, and therefore globalized neoliberal capitalism has launched a strategy of weakening the Russian economy.
Under Obama and even before him, the system dealt a blow to Russia's strategic allies (Syria, Ukraine, the Central Asian republics of the former USSR) in the hope of reducing its zone of influence.
Further, the system dealt a direct blow to the Russian economy with sanctions and a collapse in oil quotes.
In any case, Russia has demonstrated impressive resilience, and its GDP has been growing again for more than a year.
The Trump administration increased pressure and made direct attacks on Russian exports: hydrocarbons (counteraction to the "Northern Stream 2") and weapons (sanctions against companies and countries cooperating with Rosoboronexport).
I do not think that these new attempts will succeed. Rather, on the contrary, they will only weaken the "allies-vassals" of the United States and sow confusion in their ranks.
The last option will remain: to exclude Russia from the SWIFT network. Whatever it was, it would mean declaring war and would require the consent of European countries. In addition, Russia has already prepared an alternative system together with China.
This strategy did not go unnoticed by President Putin and his entourage. Russia is preparing for war to avoid it.
The paradox for the European powers is that Russia is a strategic enemy, but at the same time it is a big market for exports, as well as a necessary supplier of hydrocarbons.
The next ten years will be marked by cardinal changes in the world order, in which the EU will find it difficult to find its place because of its own military weakness and dependence on NATO (hence, the US) in the defense sphere. The EU missed the time in order to avoid partial or complete loss of its own importance and become one of the poles of the world of tomorrow.
Russia, with its rearmament, has taken the right course and is now among the great world powers. Whether we like it or not, in the first half of this century, military power is the key to sovereignty and independent politics.