Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Russians Aren't Coming! The Russians Aren't Coming!

I saw an interesting article this weekend that I wanted to summarize for you. I think it's important information to know to help you ignore a lot of scaremongering. It's about the threat Russia poses. For years now, Putin has been rattling his sabre. In the past year, I've seen lots of articles talking about what would happen if we went to war, lamenting the "weakness" of our military and Russia's strength, and generally trying to worry everyone. In particular, there have been articles talking up Russia's new steal fighter and hyper-sonic missiles. Don't believe it.

Consider this. In 2018, the Russian military (all branches combined) received 100 new aircraft. In 2019, they are scheduled to receive 100 more. These are meant to replace the approximately 108 airplanes in their fleet that age each year to the point they can no longer fly. Not that's 8 less than are expected to fail. Think about that. Each year, their military is getting weaker.

Their total number of planes is 3,600.

By comparison, the American military received around 300 new aircraft last year and is getting the same next year. These are supplementing the approximately 13,500 aircraft we fly. In other words, we fly four times as many planes as they do and we just bought three times as many. We are not weak. They are not gaining. They are falling further behind.

What's more, their yearly military budget is $70 billion. Ours is $686 billion. That makes our budget nine times theirs. And that doesn't even count the Europeans who would join us in a real war.

There's more too. While lots of people are upset about the Russian stealth fighter, here are some things to consider: Russia only ordered their first dozen stealth fighters in August and don't even have them yet. That's 12... total. Even worse, there is a real question if they are stealthy. The design is not a good one. The engines are too hot. The plane lacks sophisticated avionics, meaning it exposes itself when it tries to find targets. Worse yet, to be truly useful, a stealth plane needs an entire network of support planes, control planes, radars, satellites, etc. The Russians have none of that. Without that, a stealth plane is just a target.

Putin's Navy is weaker than our coast guard and risks sinking every time it sorties. His ground troops are little better.

All of this means that while Putin may rattle his sabre, he knows it's just a glorified toothpick. Unless he wants to fight a nuclear war, there will be no war.


LL said...

Russia's value to the US is as a hedge against China. Deep State actors have worked diligently to keep that from happening. As you lay out, Russia is not a military threat to the US.

Anthony said...


Modern Russia is a bigger, slightly less dysfunctional North Korea. That means that they are weak but prone to domestic brutality and foreign adventurism. Think Russia using radioactive isotopes to murder people in the UK and Russia chopping off and absorbing a part of the Ukraine.

Like with NK the nukes are a shield (no nuclear power has even been invaded) which allows Russia to push the envelop in mostly small ways and have little fear of meaningful retaliation from the West.

commoncents said...

Charlie Kirk: Build The Wall: The Best Argument You Will Ever Hear!

tryanmax said...

Let's pretend for a moment that the media scaremongering is accurate, that Russia's military really is mighty and growing while the US's is shrinking and weak. The smart thing for the US to do, diplomatically, would be to play nice with Russian leaders. It certainly wouldn't be wise to antagonize them at joint press conferences. Trump's compliments toward Putin—pretending that they aren't backhanded*—would be savvy diplomacy. [*Putin is a "strong leader." Really? The only reason the press takes that as a compliment is because they believe Trump to be an authoritarian strongman, as well.] Who doesn't want to "get along" with the person who might crush you if you don't? At the very least, existential threat would render a fawning fanboy indistinguishable from a savvy diplomat.

To take the mainstream media at their collective word is to see them urging the US into a war she would stand to lose (unless History—formerly God—is on her side). Even if the press were urging preemptive strike, they shouldn't want the president to telegraph it beforehand. Wanting to put the US on the losing side of a war pretty much confirms that they are an "enemy of the people." The only conclusion that fits the real world, however, is that the press doesn't believe what they are saying. In which case, they are exploiting their trusted position in order to peddle lies. And that confirms that they are "fake news."

AndrewPrice said...

LL, That's true. They aren't a military threat to us. China, maybe, but even so, I don't see Russia wanting a fight with anyone large.

For some reason though, I'm seeing this massive push to make them out at this powerful Soviet Union Part 2. It's just not true. They may be belligerent and stupid or whatever, but they aren't strong.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I think that's a good analogy. Russia is like a slightly more respectable-seeming North Korea. I just find it odd to keep seeing all these articles trying to scare people about their military capabilities. I'm not sure if it's typical journalistic scaremongering, nostalgia, or something worse.

AndrewPrice said...

commoncents, I saw that this weekend and I thought it was very good.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think the people pushing this stuff believe it. I'm not sure why, but I think they do. As for the rest of the media, I think they just accept what they see in the media as true without thinking about it. I'm not sure they even think through what their beliefs mean, nor do they connect dots unless they have a conclusion they want to reach.

tryanmax said...

Total aside, have you heard about Charlie Sykes' and Bill Kristol's new project on a site called The Bulwark? I wish I could make it up that the staunch Never Trumpers are going to continue their anti-Trump crusade under a nameplate that literally means "a defensive wall."

But it doesn't stop being funny yet. The site's logo features a sailing ship, clearly indicating that they actually mean it in the sense of a ship's protective hull. Including a seafaring vessel in their brand doesn't do much to shake off the "cruise ship conservative" pejorative that, in part, dragged down The Weekly Standard.

Critch said...

The Russkies don't push too much in Ukraine because they may just upset Poland and the Czech Republic..both of which have well trained and well equipped armies and no love for the Russians. The Russians have no friends left, except maybe Belarus...Hell, if the Russians got in a major war the Chinese would invade Siberia.

Koshcat said...

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. Russia is the burr in a saddle; annoying and painful but not life threatening unless one tries to invade. I am more concerned about China because of their economic potential and their desire to be taken seriously. However, they tend to be generally more sane - brutal dictators but sane. I worry most about a war breaking out between China and India. Two most populous countries with rapidly growing economies and need for raw materials. At least that is my 2 cents.

Sorry to hear about your challenges with your daughter. I have a 14 y/o but she is still very lovely. I'm scared but so far so good. I don't have any advice although a friend recommended a book called: "Get Out of My Life But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?"

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, Agreed. Once you start moving West, Russia finds itself facing modern equipment, well-trained armies, and American backing. They have enough to bully the neighbors, but not enough to fight any real wars.

AndrewPrice said...

Hi Koshcat!

China is the one that worries me too. They can't win a war, but they aren't playing for that. They are playing to make a war so costly that we stay out of it. At the same time, they are throwing their weight around against places we defend... and India. That would be a HUGE mess.

Thanks. She's challenging, to put it mildly. At least we're getting her into therapy and everyone seems onboard with this. Talk about wearing you out though. It's like holding a tiger by the tail. The moment you look away, it bites you again and again and again.

Post a Comment