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Is Russia a Superpower? Cold War II?

Ronald Steel, professor of international relations at the University of Southern California, argues that Russia's strong hand against Georgia signals that, “A Superpower Is Reborn” (NYT):
THE psychodrama playing out in the Caucasus is not the first act of World War III, as some hyperventilating politicians and commentators would like to portray it. Rather, it is the delayed final act of the cold war. And while the Soviet Union lost that epic conflict, Russia won this curtain call in a way that ensures Washington will have to take it far more seriously in the future.

This is not just because, as some foreign-policy “realists” have argued, Moscow has enough troops and oil to force us to take into consideration its supposedly irrational fears. Rather, the conflict in Georgia showed how rational Russia’s concerns over American meddling in its traditional sphere of influence are, and that Washington had better start treating it like the great power it still is.
Russia as a superpower may be an overstatement however, for reasons pointed out by the Economist:
Sound policy starts with a sense of proportion. Contrary to some excitable first reactions, Russia’s ability to crush the minuscule Georgian army does not make it a superpower, and its aggression in the Caucasus need not mark the start of a new cold war. To put things in perspective, America’s GDP is ten times bigger than Russia’s and it spends at least seven times more on defence. Russia’s economy would fall off a cliff if energy prices slumped and its population, racked by ill-health and inequality, is shrinking by up to 800,000 a year. Russia can make mischief, but it cannot project military and ideological power all around the world, as the Soviet Union did during the cold war defences (ostensibly against a future threat from Iran) on Polish territory.
Given Russia’s relative weakness, calling it a superpower seems a stretch.  Concerns of Cold War II also may be ill-founded. To start, the Cold War was pitted on competing ideologies – the Soviet Union lost because its ideology failed. 

Russia’s ideology today (if directed democracy is considered an ideology) may be different than in Europe and the US, however, it is highly unlikely that any new walls will be built separating Russia and the West.  This is because Russia’s main driver is profit, which is tied to trade, which depends on minimal barriers between countries.  Russia.Inc is dependent on the West.  J Clive Matthews argues just this at the blog Nosemonkey’s EUtopia:
Russia was on the losing side in the Cold War - hell, Russia WAS the losing side in the Cold War. Russia is now weak, with a shaky economy that relies largely on the money of her erstwhile enemies. She has lost large chunks of her former territory... Meanwhile, her old enemies in NATO are pushing ever closer to her borders, sucking in former allies and making new treaties with countries that used to be Russia’s friends.
The biggest sign of Russia’s weakness is the fact that countries like Georgia, Ukraine, Poland, Estonia and many more actively pursue NATO membership of their own accord.  These countries fight for NATO membership; the West is not forcing Georgia to choose sides – in fact, acceptance into NATO requires years of costly reforms from applicants, on top of dealing with Russia's ire.  These countries want to join NATO's sphere of influence and leave Russia's.

With this in mind, Russia's invasion into Georgia proper comes across as the ultimate sign of weakness – when it could not get what it wanted, Russia stamped its foot like a frustrated child.  However, as the recently signed US-Poland missile defense deal and Georgia's continued interest in NATO membership demonstrate, Russia's actions are not increasing its influence, but rather pushing its neighbors further away.

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quo vadis on :

[i]sucking in former allies and making new treaties with countries that used to be Russia’s friends[/i] What's up with Russia's former allies and friends? How come they don't want to be friends anymore? The answer to that question would probably reveal a lot about the paths these various countries have taken since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russian people chose to become what they have become, Georgians should be allowed to do the same.

T.Ado on :

RUSSIA IS AS STRONG AS THE US IS.WHEN WAR WILL BEGIN,THE WORLD WILL KNOW AND SEE THE TECHNOLOGY OF RUSSIA.IT SEEMS THAT RUSSIA DOESN'T SHOWS AND ADVERTISE ITS WEAPON TO THE WORLD AS THE US DO. MOREOVER THERE SHOULD BE NO SUPER POWER IN THE WORLD.PRESENTLY THE UK , JAPAN ,GERMANY ,FRANCE AND ITALY ECONOMICALLY DEPANDS ON US.SO THEY ARE COMPELED THAT US DECISION IS THE LAW FOR THEM. IN THIS CONTEXT I SEE THAT RUSSIA,CHINA,IRAN AND US ARE THE FOUR SUPERPOWER IN THE WORLD.THE COUNTRY LIKE UK,FRANCE,GERMANY,ETC ARE THE ARMY OF US ONLY.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Russia certainly appears to have more CAPITAL LETTERS and unfortunately isn't interested in hiding them.

Pat Patterson on :

Russia just may have lost it superpower status in the Black Sea because the humanitarian aid fleet, mainly US with frigate escorts from Poland and Canada, now has more tonnage, equipment and armament then the Russian Navy currently has in the area. Though the Russians hold the area around the port on land. [url=http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/08/us-warships-run.html]Wired Magazine[/url] has published an article which shows that at least temporarily the US has the tactical advantage in the Black Sea both in numbers and firepower. The USS Whitney, a command and control ship, a destroyer the USS McFaul and the sister ship to the one I served on, the USCGC Dallas. A decent commentary on the detachment is at the [url=http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2008/08/24/the-black-sea/#more-167]Belmont Club[/url] a military affairs blog that is fairly accurate and reliable yet does offer opinion and sometimes the comments add considerable information from those currently serving. The Russian cruiser Moskva was reported damaged and heading back to Sebastopol which means that this new muscle flexing by Russia has acheived certain goals on the ground but has put one of their major trade routes in danger. Plus there is absolutely no guarantee that the Turks will let any Russian ships from the Med into the Black Sea as well as difficulties with the Ukrainians. An escalation without confrontation, neat trick!

Patrick B on :

Irritating a response as the following near-non-opinion may be, I'm hesitant to take a side on whether or not Russia remains a superpower. I suppose the U.S. is a superpower? And so is China? What about the EU? I believe that the first is more widely accepted than the second or third, but suspect you would find many that might dispute any (combination) of the three. What little I do know about Eastern European affairs makes me want to put Russia in a class that is not quite along side the three entities just mentioned. Yet, perhaps it is primed to launch itself into that class of superpowers, given the appropriate confluence of events. Yes, Georgia is a minor player on the world stage, but its fall was a great symbolic loss. President Bush on behalf of the U.S. had been championing Georgia as a bastion of democracy on the fringes of the old Soviet empire. The idea that Georgia could act in South Osetia may have been the theoretical backing of the United States. The lack of a U.S. response may suggest a Russia with an unimpungable sphere of influence. Yes, Poland has agreed to house a US missile defense base, but the decision is far from uncontroversial. The same could be said of applications to NATO. I wonder if it is only a matter of pushing the right (or wrong) buttons in order for public opinion to reach a point that largely favors Russia over the West.

Scott on :

Russia is a Superpower again as the United States, CNN (as stated here on CNN August 1, 2008) and other news media's have admitted http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?id=768929 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8dNr2GH08I, this is an NATO expansion war. US former president Ronald Reagan promise Russia there would be no NATO expansion into post Soviet Union countries back 1989 which has clearly been violated. NATO is the new cold war, they are expanding and we cannot trust NATO. NATO is evil and Russia is the ally here. People need to Google the truth about what NATO means and what relation is NATO, EU & Bilderberg together. I support Russia and I am against NATO, NATO is the enemy here. NATO wants to expand membership and spread every they can into more countries. NATO is about building a military block and when countries apply for NATO membership, they wave their rights to protect themselves or governored themselves but are under the rules of NATO. It is a communist movement on a private sector by NATO and this is wrong. Russia & China has been dead set against NATO and this is why. I want Russia to make its stance and stand against NATO, this evil lying agency that has no business taking countries rights away. Who start this conflick? Georgia, NATO & the US, read link by Pat Buchanan :http://www.lewrockwell.com/buchanan/buchanan94.html and this video link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBRl-BvKJII And read what Ron Paul has said about NATO pushing into Russia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyJiWYmXGLY Here is a couple of Americans living in Georgia admitting Georgia & the US started the conflicts with Russia and that Georgia was indeed killing Russian people inside of Georgia. Something the US bilderberg media is not going to air on US television news channels. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4DdRmALFYg We have to understand that Russia is protecting itself from NATO. NATO is an organization whose purpose ended with the end of its Warsaw Pact adversary. When NATO struggled to define its future after the Cold War, it settled on attacking a sovereign state, Yugoslavia, which had neither invaded nor threatened any NATO member state. This current round of NATO expansion is a political reward to governments in Georgia and Ukraine that came to power as a result of US-supported revolutions, the so-called Orange Revolution and Rose Revolution. The governments that arose from these street protests were eager to please their US sponsor and the US, in turn, turned a blind eye to the numerous political and human rights abuses that took place under the new regimes. Thus the US policy of “exporting democracy” has only succeeding in exporting more misery to the countries it has targeted. NATO expansion only benefits the US military industrial complex, which stands to profit from expanded arms sales to new NATO members. The “modernization” of former Soviet militaries in Ukraine and Georgia will mean tens of millions in sales to US and European military contractors. The US taxpayer will be left holding the bill, as the US government will subsidize most of the transactions. Providing US military guarantees to Ukraine and Georgia can only further strain our military. This NATO expansion may well involve the US military in conflicts as unrelated to our national interest as the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia. The idea that American troops might be forced to fight and die to prevent a small section of Georgia from seceding is absurd and disturbing. By Congressman Ron Paul: http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2008/04/01/ron-paul-disband-nato/ Russia is not the enemy but the ally to the world

Pat Patterson on :

Russia, which has lost population every single year since imploding is hardly a candidate for being a world power, regional power, but world power never. No country in the world has ever maintained its stature or expanded it when their are less people each year. Russia is a commodity nation just like Argentina, South Africa or El Salvador, flush when prices are high then devastated when the market falls. Plus the only place I have seen the claim that Pres. Reagan promised no NATO expansion is on the multiple postings by Scott, Global Voices Online for one. Plus since Reagan retired in 1988 only the most foolish would take as gospel anything he said as binding on the US government in 1989. Using Ron Paul, Patrick Buchanan, Lew Rockwell or even CNN as sources seems rather narrow. And I can only add that the description of NATO as taking away countries rights must mean that the arguments roiling Europe and NATO about troop deployments must be the same kind of elaborate misdirection that placed the Russian 58th Army on the border and in South Ossetia on August 7th, the day after the Ossetians began using banned artillery and rockets against the Georgian police barracks and the day before the magically disappearing claim that the Georgians massacred 2,000 plus civilians.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Scott, "what NATO means and what relation is NATO, EU & Bilderberg together" "Something the US bilderberg media is not going to air on US television news channels." Ha! A clever bit of distortion. The first time you mentioned Bilderberg, you used it correctly. They are a real group, and I am sure they would be upset at Russia in this crisis. You almost had me congratulating you for a very interesting turn of phrase. But then you suggest they control US media. That is conspiracy theory, plain and simple. Anyone who bothers to research the reality of the Bilderberg Group, is forced to conclude, they are an academic-style conference with less power and influence than other, more political groups such as AIPAC or the Saudi lobby, neither of which control the US media. Perhaps Bilderberg, AIPAC, and the Saudis are all in it together? Is your newsletter free, or do I have to pay?

Pat Patterson on :

A while back Charles Krauthammer, a memeber and sometimes speaker at the Bilderberger Group meetings, was asked about some of the rumors of the behind the scene powers they held. He replied, "If only!"

Brad on :

The facts say Russia is a Superpower, not a world power. So I have provided these facts below to state Russia is indeed a Superpower. The Russian empire strikes back 16/08/2008 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1011861.html Russia confident they are a Superpower again nytimes.com/2008/08/15/world/europe/15russia.html?scp=1&sq=russia%20superpower%20anne%20barnard&st=cse THE OUTLOOK ON A TRIPLE-SUPERPOWER WORLD The Christian Science Monitor By Helena Cobban from the August 22, 2008 edition csmonitor.com/2008/0822/p09s03-coop.html Georgia: a return to superpower misbehaviour The First Post August 21, 2008 thefirstpost.co.uk/45162,opinion,georgia-a-return-to-superpower-misbehaviour Merkel's Most Serious Foreign Policy Crisis: Superpower Flexes its Muscles: 08/18/2008 spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,572726,00.html U.S. worries Russia returning to its past Bush administration struggles for right response to Russia's aggression Updated 9:39 a.m. PT, Sun., Aug. 17, 2008 msnbc.msn.com/id/26253358 CNN NEWSROOM Russia Attacks Neighbor; Return of a Superpower; Interview With Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Aired August 11, 2008 - 11:00 ET transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0808/11/cnr.03.html A Superpower Is Reborn The New York Times By RONALD STEEL Published: August 24, 2008 nytimes.com/2008/08/24/opinion/24steel.html Superpower swoop : New Statesman Misha Glenny Published 14 August 2008 newstatesman.com/europe/2008/08/georgia-russia-ukraine-cheney US worries Russia returning to authoritarian past By the Associated Press wokv.com/common/ap/2008/08/17/D92K3M7O0.html Russians are confident their nation is back as a Superpower http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2008/08/15/russians_are_confident_their_nation_is_back/ Superpower Russia Published: 8/12/2008 turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=246638 John Roughan: So much for sole superpower 5:00AM Saturday August 16, 2008 New Zealand Herald nzherald.co.nz/section/466/story.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10527278&pnum=2 Danger of Cold War August 18, 2008: The FINANCIAL finchannel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18207&Itemid=14 Washington Acknowledges Russia as Superpower May 27, 2007 kommersant.com/page.asp?id=768929 Putin's Paranoid Bear Sharpens Its Claws The Scotsman: August 18, 2008 gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977424041 The Red Army marches again: Dailymail By PETER HITCHENS Last updated at 22:48 10 May 2008 dailymail.co.uk/news/article-565421/The-Red-Army-marches--I-fear-futures-says-Peter-Hitchens.html Washington Acknowledges Russia as Superpower Kommersant: May 26, 2007 kommersant.com/page.asp?id=768929 Russia in the 21st Century: The Prodigal Superpower books.google.com/books?id=eC6HdSYZhRgC&dq=Russia+in+the+21st+Century:+The+Prodigal+Superpower&pg=PP1&ots=AD3lnsFUdL&sig=XZZre_9YuBdKtxp7k0CmeylD9dQ&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPR9,M1 amazon.com/Russia-21st-Century-Prodigal-Superpower/dp/0521545293/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219706181&sr=1-3 Global Warming, the Arctic Thaw and the New Cold War Why Russia's Incursion Into Georgia Bodes Ill for the Climate August 18, 2008 thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/blogs/shapley/arctic-thaw-47081802 U.S. No More The Only Super Power Michael Webster, Investigative Reporter: American Chronicle americanchronicle.com/articles/71513

Pat Patterson on :

The first link provided says no such thing about Russia being a superpower rather that it wishes to fulfill what it thinks is its destiny and achieve that status again. In fact Haarets refers only to Russia as an Empire able to affect only its border areas but not much else. Read the citations before posting to avoid unpleasant surprises. The rest of the article is fairly negative towards Russia for attacking its tiny neighbor and the weakness of the European and American response.

Pat Patterson on :

Except one of the basic tenets of being a superpower is the ability to project power beyond the immediate borders. Russia has no means to do so it has only one port on the Pacific at Vladivostock and none on any foreign country's soil since they abandoned Cam Rahn Bay. Russia has one converted air craft carrier and no carrier battle groups, 5 druisers, 19 destroyers and 61 submarines with only a few on patrol, usually 10-14 at any one time. While NATO, excluding the US has almost 4 times the naval assets of Russia and Britain and France both have full size naval bases around the world. The US has 13 carriers and 10 battle groups with 6 on 6 month cruises year round. 27 cruisers, 48 destroyers and 77 subs of which 1/3 are on 6 month patrol year round. At any time of the day NATO or the US are within 12 hours of practically every port of the world. While Russia needs at least 12 hours to find all its conscripts to send one sub or ship to the Med, the Baltic or the Kuriles. That by no stretch of the imagination or headlines the powere projection of a superpower. Russia is at the point where it can do one of three things, veto something in the UNSC, send an ICBM or attack a country that is 70 times smaller. This could eventually change but the Duma will have to agree to remain consistent for at least twenty years assuming one or other of the two partners don't either seize power or kill one or the other. And considering that over the last five days the Russian stock market has seen losses of 6-10% means that the capitalists in the country, unless all jailed, are not too happy with Russia's adventures in the Caucasus. Plus they also can't be too happy that the ruble loss 15% of its value in 15 days. That alone will delay the naval program as it is paid for in rubles. The old truism is back in that if America sneezes the rest of the world catches pneumonia.

quo vadis on :

I'm not sure that it's a bad thing if people believe that Russia is a superpower. I tired of the endless 'evil global hegemon' complaints years ago. If the counterbalance to US power turns out to be an 'all hat and no cattle' Russia run by a bunch of certifiable of KGB thugs, so much the better. It's not going to be much fun for Russia's neighbors, but they're stuck with that anyway. Wait a minute; are we really sure that Putin isn't just a player in some clever neo-con scheme? Hmm...

Jerry on :

I disagree with your comments Pat, they are misleading and not researched. Russia has 81 nuclear submarines, 19 cruisers and 53 destroyers, they're weakness is they lack aircraft carriers but they benefit from the world's deadliest submarines. 2 new 954 Russian typhoons were launched just this year adding to the mix. You failed to not mention that the US does not own 100% of its military fleet, it is mostly borrowed money. 1/3 of the military funding is borrowed money from China (mostly China’s money), Japan & Saudi Arabia. Russia owns 100% of it’s military forces and two, Russia still finances to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan military bases as they still use Russia military weapon arsenals on their military bases which Russia pays for. And to say that the US or NATO can reach any base or counter part world wide in 12 hours is hog wash, and the US running 1/3 of it’s entire fleet year round is also hogwash as I have served in the US naval forces to know that myself. The US can’t afford it and with a military budget at $510 billion, you forgot to state the rate of US inflation does that actually pay for to operate all its military forces. The high labor cost and cost of US military goods & arsenals is not as cheap to have $500 billion to keep everything running (8 years ago that maybe possible but today they just cannot afford it, lot at NASA, they have no rocket or any rockets after 2010 as they are completely bankrupt, which leaves Russia running the entire space to the Moon in 2015 and Mars on it’s own). More than 63 US bases have been shut down since 2005 besides the lose of US funding the US is too busy expanding in foreign countries bases, its domestic front is a lot weaker than it has ever been. I also might add that Russia approved their military last March to $327 billion and 2009, it is expected to go over $400 billion (If you compare Russian’s money & labor it is far cheaper than the US is, the rate of inflation is so high in the US it is way too expensive to run everything so the military budget is $500 billion simply because it is not affordable to run everything (but Congress has urged to bring down the US military budget down to $435 billion in 2009 and decrease it by 10% to 15% the following year). Since the US is so expensive to run, they need more money than Russia to operate its military forces as Russia is less expensive to operate & build and expand. NATO by far has the largest military budget of over $800 billion but that is 26 countries together, if you count out the US, it is $300 billion for NATO. Besides NATO, the two leading countries with the highest military spending is the US & Russia, so NATO is not one country to say anywhere anyplace in 12 hours. Also you failed to mention that Russia has more nuclear arsenals than any other country in the world but they tie the not on chemical weapons with the US numbers of they are jus sly of 10% of them. Also Russia has nuclear warhead missiles that can reach the US less than 6 minutes, the US is 18 to 20 minutes. Russia does has one aircraft carrier but Russia will have 14 by 2018 to 2021 which was suppose to start by 2010 but under the president, Russia has requested to start building 4 of them last April. The new aircraft carriers will be ready for the new fifth generation jets called the T50 stealth fighter planes also starting production by 2010 to 2011; it is technology of an F-22 & F-35 together, since the US can't to make an affordable F-22, as several countries have requested Russia to start production on the new T50's but Russia is declining T50 request and producing more Mig 35’s for foreign countries. Lastly put yourself in Russia's position, back in 1985 NATO was only 6 countries and now 26. If you had the US against NATO, what would you title the US as (would they be the bully or maybe they would be Georgia standing next to NATO?)? What would you do if Russia pushed membership in the US's backyard like Mexico, do you think the US was be happy? Put yourself in their position about NATO expanding. Russia standing up against NATO & the US is astonishing as last week Great Britain's prime minister has admitted Russia stands as a superpower once again even on that front alone besides it's over advantages. Who would take on NATO? If you took the US out of NATO, do you think the US would put themselves to stand against 25 NATO member countries? Think about that for a second and look at Russia. Have you even bothered to look at Russia's case what the Georgian government was doing before Russia invaded to pull Russian's immigrants? Georgia is 28% Russian and Russian is still the national language in Georgia. Lastly, you failed to look at what Russia did for you back in World War II, Russia put 35 million soldiers on the front lines from East to West lines to defend Germany (not just the East side), they lost 26 million soldiers, their population was 190 million in 1941. 15 former soviet countries were on their knees to the Germans when Russia was the only real dog fighter besides Great Britain. The US & Britain was not that giving to put so many people to defeat the world's worst war. If you didn't have the Russian's to stand against Germany, Europe would have been owned completely by Germany, not the 46 countries divided. You think about that for a second and think about Russia's role did to stop the Nazi’s to invade and take over all of Europe. When the Soviet Union took over 17 countries, all of them were completely bankrupt, no funding no nothing. They had nothing all 17 post Soviet Union countries Russia put all of them on the up lift of economic times and were built under the Soviet Empire. Georgia today before the crisis was still bankrupt after 1991, a country that still cannot find a means to keep it’s self up after Soviet Empire released Georgia independent and they want to join NATO. For what? I wouldn’t. I also might add that 3 countries have made request join the Russian Federation, that is Belarus (could happen as next year but is on hold), Kazakhstan and Moldavia, as they there are more than 60% Russian immigrant anyway but even Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania are out weight with Russian immigrants. Should Ukraine join NATO when more than half the country doesn’t support it? Doesn’t make sense but also Ukraine is dependent on Russia completely, them as a NATO member will greatly hurt the country. NATO has put too much risk with Russia and I see its position. Any more NATO countries joining will put Russia at war. If I were still in the US navy, I would not want to be serving any conflict with Russia at bay. I would go to Iraq any day but not war with Russia, which is something the US, is not ready for, their military line is way too thin to start any conflict at this point.

silvian on :

Jerry, your post is very interesting but it's not accurate. I agree that Russia is the sole country that can vaporize American cities in just few minutes even when retaliating after a USA strike. However, it's not a superpower now because it can not project it's power overseas like USSR did. Bellow are just few corrections: 1) "I also might add that Russia approved their military last March to $327 billion and 2009, it is expected to go over $400 billion...". From Wikipedia: "Russia official government military spending for 2008 is $40 billion." Of course there are non official military spending. Also cheap resources and labor may increase few times the efficiency. But please note that Russia has to rebuild a lot of production capacity lost after USSR disintegration. 2) "Russia lost 26 million soldiers during World War II." Actually USSR lost 26 million of citizens, but only 9 million where soldiers. 3) "...3 countries have made request join the Russian Federation, that is Belarus (could happen as next year but is on hold), Kazakhstan and Moldavia, as they there are more than 60% Russian immigrant anyway..." Belarus - will join Russia only if Putin will allow the Lukasenko to be the second man in the union. I don't believe this will happen soon because Russian elite is not willing to give such great power to Lukasenko :-) However, in long term, for sure these two countries will form some kind of union. Kazakhstan - according to Wikipedia just 26% are Russians. However, I admit that there is a great probability of a union between these two countries. Moldova (+Transnistria) - just 10-12% are Russians. However Transnistria's population is one third Russians. Transnistria made a request to join Russia, not Moldova! Moldova can not be part of Russia because of too many factors: Ukraine is pro West now, Moldova territory was part of Romania and most people are Romanians (not a Slavic people), there was a war in '92 between Moldova and Transnistria (i.e. KGB & Russians), etc. However I admin that Moldova can fell in Russian sphere of influence if EU/USA will not protect it's suveranity. 4) etc. etc. etc. PS: Personally I think only Russia has the potential to rise as a superpower to challenge the USA, but only if they manage to grab back the Ukraine.

Pat Patterson on :

Novosti, the Russian news service, posted the $40 billion figure for the military budget just last February the 26th. The new claim of $400 billion is nonsense as that would mean that the yearly defense budget of the Russian Federation represents 20% of the GDP. Plus if you add in the estimated 17.5% inflation rate then Russia is actually spending less this year then the peak in 2005. Though they plan on spending almst $200 billion by 2015 on new ship construction. BTW, inflation in the US is currently at 2.9% which is only 1/5 that of Russia's. Since the end of World War II the United States largest defense budget was during the buildup during and after the Korean war when a lot of money went into nuclear submarines and ballistic missiles. As to the difference in numbers most of the ones you posted seem fanciful compared to Haze Gray and Underway's World's Navies and Jane's Ships count. There is a difference between having ships and having operational ships. The latter obviously being the most important. Only one of the new SSBNs has been launched and the other two seem slightly behind scheduale but will ready in the next two to five years. And the one ship, the Yury Dolgoruky, that is currently undergoing its sea trials is not considered operational as its new missiles, the Bulavas, have not been loaded as the missile tubes seem to be giving the engineers problems. I'd be extremely interested in info on your claim that Russia is planning 14 new air craft carriers as so far not one keel has been laid. Requesting construction to start is not the same as actually having them started. Plus the current thinking is that Russia will stick to it announced goal of 2-4 new carriers but that will serve in the fleets but not have their own carrier battle groups. And according to the new budgets the carriers are listed as being planned but not budgeted. I suspect however considering the odd phrasing that your connection to service in the US Navy is nonexistent because any one of multiple sites, including the Navy's, would have clearly stated how many ships are deployed and for how long. It's called an appeal to authority but since the authority seems doubtful and the facts weak or nonexistent I would have to conclude that there is simply an argument for argument's sake rather that a discussion of what makes a superpower and does Russia fit that difinition. I'm not convinced and I saw nothing in your argument, other than national pride, to change my view. But back to the main argument, again not being responsible for headlines, Russia can only be termed a regional power at best because it simply cannot project power anywhere in the world except when on goodwill missions and there are no hostile forces waiting and willing to block its passage or blockade any of the friendly ports needed for provisioning. The only base it has overseas is in the Crimea and recently The Ukraine has stopped negotiating a new agreement and indicated that the Russians are not welcom to stay beyond the last day of the old agreement. But a base on the Black Sea that can be shut by the Turks at any time was not wise strategically anyway. Lastly the plans for a fleet of at least half being diesel indicates that the Russians themselves are not really thinkng about forward deployment as those subs are too slow and not independent to sail too far from home waters. So it appears that Russia is acquiring some of the toys of a world power but is still planning on a litoral navy.

Pat Patterson on :

Jerry-Moldava, Kazahkstan and Belarus, have requested to join the customs union consisting currently of Russia only. The have not applied for admission to the Russian Federation. Much like Mexico and Canada joined with the US to create NAFTA and not to become part of the US. On Aug. 22, PM Yushenko with the backing of Pres. Yulia Tymoshenko asked that NATO immediately admit the Ukraine. The basis for this was a that Ukrainian sentiment and hesitation vanished after August the 8th. BTW, where did that claim of a majority Russian population figure come from? The highest number I found was 17.3% in the CIA World Factbook which used the last Ukrainian census and the UN for its information.

joe on :

Jerry Your comment is much too long to make a complete reply. It is obvious however you tend to believe a lot of things that are beyond belief. As an example you write about future battle groups built around aircraft carriers the Russian are going to build. You obviously have not really thought about that. Russia is going to build 14 aircraft carriers by 2018. That is 10 years from now. That works out to be about 2 carriers each year. This is beyond both the economically and physical means of the US to accomplish. Yet you believe this is possible. You believe this even though the Russian have no experience in building carriers or the shipyards to build them or the aircraft to fly off them this is going to be accomplished. OH PLEASE JERRY stop drinking that kool aid. I however hope you are correct that Russia will undertake such a task. It will bankrupt them.

Tom on :

Wikipedia is a false place to get facts from an untrusted community; $40 billion, that is an understatement. Try Googling "US former superpower" and see what the truth says, then Google under News "Russia is a superpower" the facts say.

silvian on :

Tom, you can pick random Wikipedia pages and verify yourself it's content in your domain of expertise. My experience indicate that Wikipedia content is very rarely manipulated intentionally and usually reflects quite well the trough. Please provide facts about incorrect Wikipedia content ;-) Please see the definition of the superpower according to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superpower If you don't like it please provide your own definition for "superpower". (The fact that Russia destroyed a part of Georgia army in few days proves nothing, same thing can do Turkish or Iran. Russia acted as a regional power protecting it's own interests. It stopped just at time to not provoke a war with NATO...) Let be serious, no one knows for sure the real military budget of Russia, we can just guess... :-) Please reread carefully my post. I said that beyond official $40 billion there are non official military spending. The real budget may be 2-3 times higher, maybe ~$100 billions. There are many sites indicating Russia's military budget, e.g. from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/mo-budget.htm you can see that in 2007 it was 31 billions officially, so and increase of 9 billions to 40 billions in 2008 seems quite real for me. Of course, the efficaciousness of Russia military spending should be greater comparing to USA because of cheap labor and resources. I may just guess that the effective spending can be between 100-150 billions, hardly more. Please note that USSR had two times (~300 mln) the population of Russia (~143 mln) and a military budget equivalent to USA. So, Russia can have at best maximum a half of USA military budget. But after what happened in '90 years in former USSR republics this is impossible. Personally, I'd be surprised if Russia's effective military budget is 1/4 of the USA. Of course this can change in next few years with high prices on resources.

Tom on :

Silvian if you read the facts above from Brad, all his links links say Russia is a superpower. I don't know where your getting your facts but seems anti Russia.

Jim on :

I heard on CNN last week that 2 US 4 star generals (Army & Air force and General Peter Pace) that stated that starting a new war on Russia would create the US to have an economic collapse as the US military is not in any new break to enter more situations with other countries as the US would have to leave Afghanistan & Iraq totally but more to ask UN & NATO to join force to enter such a stance against Russia. The bottom line is it is impossible for the US to enter any other war but particularly with Russia. France, Germany & Italy have said that even as NATO members they would not participate in a situation with Russia. European countries like France, Germany, Norway, Sweden & Italy think that the even as NATO members are still not a big match to Russia’s superpower status. The Russia's have special satellites that jams US spy satellites from seeing everything in Russia or remote locations that can set it upon and even jam US missiles, so to say we can handle Russia because they are a new superpower or lack funds, I don't believe it. I think they know what they are doing in any situation, it is just they waited 17 years to enter the world front again. Regardless a week in Georgia is a small little invasion but it also makes a huge stance how the world is alarmed by Russia forces. If you put Russia in control Iraq back in 2003 like the US entering a new war on Iraq back then, same superpower would of handled it some what the same way or their way. The US and Russia are the only superpowers as the other mist is also tied on China now as well but the 2 main superpowers are the US and Russia. I can turn on CNN and hear the words superpower Russia reputably. What I do think is the US is using scare tactics of sending ships but no real threat but they exist, like a Hollywood set, behind it is just nothing. I have heard this many times the US uses aircraft carriers not to fly planes but to scare countries just to sit there and make people think they exist. The US really needs to down size it's foreign policy though, I think the US being in a serious recession is no match for more warfare but if it does, that is the US on the down spin but some say now the US is a former superpower which I am beginning to believe they really are.

Anthony on :

Russia is indeed a Superpower http://www.gulf-news.com/world/Russia/10241196.html There is no way that Russia can be anything less and if I would know, I wouldn't be looking for it on wikipedia, I go right to the source as too many news articles are saying Russia holds superpower status, I believe that to be true.

Pat Patterson on :

Could you provide a link for that CNN claim because not only does the story not ring true but I went back six months and wasn't able to find anything remotely like it. I could be wrong and maybe didn't type in the correct search terms. But please provide a link! And where has anybody in eithe branch of the governemtn given any hint that a war with Russia was planned or even being contemplated except as a war game which every nation in the world does. Two points that damage the argument is that the US never was in a recession as defined by two quarters of negative growth. The US had one very bad quarter, the 1st, that showed almost no growth but still positive. I'm sure that Sweden, which is still neutral, might find it amusing to find itself a member of NATO. Maybe now we can get back the pieces of all those B-17s and B-29s the Swedes interred and eventually scrapped during WWII. But since Sweden isn't in then the fact that The Ukraine, Serbia, Belarus and even Russia have applied for membership, and none have withdrawn their applications, might make up for the loss of a country that really hasn't been very warlike since that brief period of Sweden as a Great Power ended within a generation of the death of Gustavus Adolphus at Lutzen. Again a superpower is the country that can project and sustain its military power anywhere in the world. It is not simply created by a headline or waving a magic wand. But I will admit that the actual of Russia makes them less of a threat then some in the US perceive. Declining population and a GDP that is less than And we should act accordingly to its status as a regional power that can only project its influence on its borders and as a commodity nation. And unless Russia can increase its GDP then, like in the 1980's, it will simply spend itself to irrelevance. A comparable GDP, France with 2.1 vs. Russia at 2.0, is accomplished with half the population of Russia. Russia will need to increase its exports roughly five fold to catch up.

Ted on :

As defined on Wikipedia a superpower can detroy the world with it's own arsenal. There are only 2 countries who can destroy the world, Russia and the United States. The fact is clear that Russia can destroy the world with 1/4 of it's its nuclear arsenal and the US can only with 1/3 to 1/2 it's nuclear arsenal. Russia has the worlds largest nuclear weapon arsenal, no question, it is a fact. I don't like using Wikipedia as content is changed by special interests, good materials get thrown out almost immidiately, so I suggest reading the articles in their deleted sections on the superpower's topic or search on the search engines. Some people haven't gotten fed up with Wikipedia's crooked users and formed their own superpower blogs enclosing new articles that people seem to erase constantly on Wikipedia. Qoute from above "Again a superpower is the country that can project and sustain its military power anywhere in the world". Sure that maybe true but the US is not projected as strong as it was before Iraq and bad economy. news.uiuc.edu/NEWS/08/0508superpower.html What Do We Mean by Superpower? (The US's position?) A superpower should be able (1) to impose its preferences for global order on adversaries coercively or (Russia can) (2) to elicit the consent for its preferred vision of global order from allies (Russia can) The Bush Doctrine has failed on both counts The Power and Moral Assumptions of the Bush Doctrine The United States is the Sole Superpower in International and Global Politics The United States has defeated all global rivals —Fascism, Nazism, Communism No one state or combination of states today can defeat its military forces The United States is THE indispensable power for the preservation of the coalition of democratic, market states, providing the public goods of security and economic resources to ensure their ascendancy Its power — material and ideational, hard and soft — is sufficient, unilaterally, to reform global order to its linking Means and Methods Available to the Superpower as Superpower Need for flexible use of power requires unilateralism and renunciation of international constraints ABM treaty renounced Kyoto rejected Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is not ratified The International Criminal Court rejected Treaties to ban land mines and chemical and biological weapons rejected The United States embarks on the renovation and perfection of its nuclear arsenal while denying other states a similar right of self-defense Unilaterally imposed exceptions to the Non- Proliferation Treaty are undertaken in concessions to India The Geneva Convention provisions against Torture and its proscriptions to protect prisoners are marginalized as inoperative in the global war of terror —as “quaint” Additional Superpower Strategic Means and Methods Create “Coalitions of the Willing,” expecting other actions to bandwagon on American power Employ the politics of fait accompli to compel foreign and domestic opponents to accede to American power Divide and rule: Europe divided into old and new; Russia marginalized as NATO expands Pre-emptive and preventive war the preferred option and always on the table in negotiations with rivals Inherent Power and Authority of the President Precedes the Constitution under Conditions of Threats to the State The Congress, having passed a resolution authorizing the President to use force to compel Iraqi adherence to international accords is henceforward precluded from limiting Presidential power The President enjoys inherent authority to use American power as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces The President can define through so-called signing statements those laws he will enforce or interpret how he will enforce them The Imperial President in Action Prisoners, designated by the President solely as “illegal enemy combatants” can be held, controlled and tortured in violation of international humanitarian norms and the Geneva convention; hence Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Prisoners can be rendered coercively to their home countries where they face torture and death American can be held without right of habeas corpus if designated an “illegal enemy combatant” Surveillance of American is conducted in violation of law The Bush Doctrine Meets Reality Five factor that have limited the scope of the Bush Doctrine and its defeat The absence of a winning counterinsurgency strategy Domestic opposition to the Bush Doctrine and, specifically, the war in Iraq The limited material resources of the United States to realize the Bush Doctrine Domestic Demands for Entitlements And the Pushback of Peoples and States of the Global Society 1) Absence of an Effective Counter-Insurgency Strategy Until recently, the US violated key tenets of counter-insurgency: — Unity of civilian and military command divided & conflicting — Close infiltration through surrounding states (Syrian and Iran) (as Russia has contol of these rogue states) — Control arms storage areas —Most critically -- win the confidence & support of the targeted population * Provide security + Separate the population from combatants + Gain real-time intelligence * Provide essential civilian needs 2) Increasing Costs of the Iraq War & Declining Domestic Support As of June 2007: 3500 dead; 30000~ wounded -- some impaired for a lifetime Current spending: ~ $100 billion annually Support for the war dwindling: President Bush’s approval rating, critically weighted by the Iraq war, in less than 30 percent of the American people -- in contrast to 90 percent after 9/11 3) Limited Resources of the United States Long-Term costs of the war: $1-2 Trillion, having already exceeded $500 billion (Congressional Budget Office) Rising budget deficits, increased by large tax cuts $9 trillion within a $13 trillion GDP One-quarter of the US debt owned by foreign investors, notably Japan and China 4) Rising Domestic Demand for Entitlements The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided to meet current spending Somewhere between 2010-15 the Fund will be in deficit By 2040, the deficit will reach 2.5 % of GDP Medicare spending is projected to rise from 2% of GDP to over 8 % by 2040 5) The Resistance of Allies & Adversaries to the Projection & Expansion of American Power Central Asia: Return of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Sanctuaries in Pakistan Pakistan regime of President Musharraf is opposed at home Accord with tribes on Afghan border provides Al Qaeda bases Pakistan intelligence services provides support to Taliban Pakistan among the most notorious proliferators of nuclear technology Preventing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons from falling into opponents of the West remains a persistent concern Warlords and drug production continue as global security threat 1) Middle East Iraq War: A Calamity Insurgency widespread and uncontrolled Civil war between communal groups rising and American forces attacked by all sides Terrorist groups increased where they were not before Iranian influence growing at the expense of the United States A nuclear Iran is on the horizon The Shi’ite dominated government of Iraq is aligned with Iran Iranian arms are being funneled to insurgents Iranian influence over Israel increased with its support of Hezbollah and the Israeli-Hezbollah statement of August 2006 2) Middle East Israeli-Palestine Conflict Neglect of the conflict has eroded US power to control the conflict U.S. policy is largely defined by Israeli strategy and aims: settlements continue; military intervention by Israeli unhindered U.S. call for elections in Palestine yields the victory of Hamas, dedicated to the elimination of the Israeli state and the right of return of all Palestinians South Asia U.S. efforts to draw India into its sphere of influence exposes weakness of U.S. power Nuclear accord with India strengths India’s military nuclear program and weakens the Non-Proliferation treaty Meanwhile, India strengths relations with China and resists the role as counter-weight to rising Chinese power Northeast Asia American power challenged by a nuclear North Korea China is central to negotiations to denuclearize N. Korea China holds the U.S. economy hostage It holds a quarter of the foreign debt of the U.S. The U.S. chronically runs a foreign trade debt with China China also possesses over $1 trillion in foreign assets South Korea pursues an increasingly independent foreign policy toward the U.S. Japan, while the most reliable U.S. partner, also increasingly pursues a nationally defined foreign policy that prompts resistance from its regional neighbors, heightening national tensions SE Asia Former alignment with ASEAN states has eroded Malaysia is openly opposed to Iraq War Indonesia, while engaged in the war on terror, is also marked by heightened Islamic militancy The Chinese ‘charm’ offensive, openness to trade, and investment draws these states into its sphere of interest Central and South America The U.S. has failed to control its borders: 12 million illegal aliens, largely from Mexico, which does little to assist the U.S. The rise of states opposed to U.S. policies and power is growing: Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador Brazil leads the Group of 21 against Western and U.S. trade policies in the WTO Most states of Latin America increasingly define their political and economic systems independent of U.S. influence and intervention. Africa While U.S. aid for AIDS exceeds most countries to Africa, it’s interest and will to address African conflicts exposes its marginal influence Rwanda in 1993 Sudan and the Congo Republic: millions killed, wounded or dislocated Zimbabwe spins out of control Is the United States a Superpower???????? A superpower presumably is able either to impose its preferences on other states or to elicit their support The United States does not meet this test Yet the United remains a formidable global power Its military is the most powerful relative to the forces of other states except from Russia. Its economy is still the largest at $13 trillion in GDP Its population is well educated and creative It has impressive hard and soft power to negotiate a global environment favorable to its interests, but it cannot command others to do its will absent concessions to their interests and power. So the US is not really a superpower according to these facts.

Ted on :

As defined on Wikipedia a superpower can detroy the world with it's own arsenal. There are only 2 countries who can destroy the world, Russia and the United States. The fact is clear that Russia can destroy the world with 1/4 of it's its nuclear arsenal and the US can only with 1/3 to 1/2 it's nuclear arsenal. Russia has the worlds largest nuclear weapon arsenal, no question, it is a fact. I don't like using Wikipedia as content is changed by special interests, good materials get thrown out almost immidiately, so I suggest reading the articles in their deleted sections on the superpower's topic or search on the search engines. Some people haven't gotten fed up with Wikipedia's crooked users and formed their own superpower blogs enclosing new articles that people seem to erase constantly on Wikipedia. Qoute from above "Again a superpower is the country that can project and sustain its military power anywhere in the world". Sure that maybe true but the US is not projected as strong as it was before Iraq and bad economy. http://www.ugapress.uga.edu/0820329770.html http://www.news.uiuc.edu/NEWS/08/0508superpower.html What Do We Mean by Superpower? (The US's position?) A superpower should be able (1) to impose its preferences for global order on adversaries coercively or (Russia can) (2) to elicit the consent for its preferred vision of global order from allies (Russia can) The Bush Doctrine has failed on both counts The Power and Moral Assumptions of the Bush Doctrine The United States is the Sole Superpower in International and Global Politics The United States has defeated all global rivals —Fascism, Nazism, Communism No one state or combination of states today can defeat its military forces The United States is THE indispensable power for the preservation of the coalition of democratic, market states, providing the public goods of security and economic resources to ensure their ascendancy Its power — material and ideational, hard and soft — is sufficient, unilaterally, to reform global order to its linking Means and Methods Available to the Superpower as Superpower Need for flexible use of power requires unilateralism and renunciation of international constraints ABM treaty renounced Kyoto rejected Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is not ratified The International Criminal Court rejected Treaties to ban land mines and chemical and biological weapons rejected The United States embarks on the renovation and perfection of its nuclear arsenal while denying other states a similar right of self-defense Unilaterally imposed exceptions to the Non- Proliferation Treaty are undertaken in concessions to India The Geneva Convention provisions against Torture and its proscriptions to protect prisoners are marginalized as inoperative in the global war of terror —as “quaint” Additional Superpower Strategic Means and Methods Create “Coalitions of the Willing,” expecting other actions to bandwagon on American power Employ the politics of fait accompli to compel foreign and domestic opponents to accede to American power Divide and rule: Europe divided into old and new; Russia marginalized as NATO expands Pre-emptive and preventive war the preferred option and always on the table in negotiations with rivals Inherent Power and Authority of the President Precedes the Constitution under Conditions of Threats to the State The Congress, having passed a resolution authorizing the President to use force to compel Iraqi adherence to international accords is henceforward precluded from limiting Presidential power The President enjoys inherent authority to use American power as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces The President can define through so-called signing statements those laws he will enforce or interpret how he will enforce them The Imperial President in Action Prisoners, designated by the President solely as “illegal enemy combatants” can be held, controlled and tortured in violation of international humanitarian norms and the Geneva convention; hence Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Prisoners can be rendered coercively to their home countries where they face torture and death American can be held without right of habeas corpus if designated an “illegal enemy combatant” Surveillance of American is conducted in violation of law The Bush Doctrine Meets Reality Five factor that have limited the scope of the Bush Doctrine and its defeat The absence of a winning counterinsurgency strategy Domestic opposition to the Bush Doctrine and, specifically, the war in Iraq The limited material resources of the United States to realize the Bush Doctrine Domestic Demands for Entitlements And the Pushback of Peoples and States of the Global Society 1) Absence of an Effective Counter-Insurgency Strategy Until recently, the US violated key tenets of counter-insurgency: — Unity of civilian and military command divided & conflicting — Close infiltration through surrounding states (Syrian and Iran) (as Russia has contol of these rogue states) — Control arms storage areas —Most critically -- win the confidence & support of the targeted population * Provide security + Separate the population from combatants + Gain real-time intelligence * Provide essential civilian needs 2) Increasing Costs of the Iraq War & Declining Domestic Support As of June 2007: 3500 dead; 30000~ wounded -- some impaired for a lifetime Current spending: ~ $100 billion annually Support for the war dwindling: President Bush’s approval rating, critically weighted by the Iraq war, in less than 30 percent of the American people -- in contrast to 90 percent after 9/11 3) Limited Resources of the United States Long-Term costs of the war: $1-2 Trillion, having already exceeded $500 billion (Congressional Budget Office) Rising budget deficits, increased by large tax cuts $9 trillion within a $13 trillion GDP One-quarter of the US debt owned by foreign investors, notably Japan and China 4) Rising Domestic Demand for Entitlements The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided to meet current spending Somewhere between 2010-15 the Fund will be in deficit By 2040, the deficit will reach 2.5 % of GDP Medicare spending is projected to rise from 2% of GDP to over 8 % by 2040 5) The Resistance of Allies & Adversaries to the Projection & Expansion of American Power Central Asia: Return of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Sanctuaries in Pakistan Pakistan regime of President Musharraf is opposed at home Accord with tribes on Afghan border provides Al Qaeda bases Pakistan intelligence services provides support to Taliban Pakistan among the most notorious proliferators of nuclear technology Preventing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons from falling into opponents of the West remains a persistent concern Warlords and drug production continue as global security threat 1) Middle East Iraq War: A Calamity Insurgency widespread and uncontrolled Civil war between communal groups rising and American forces attacked by all sides Terrorist groups increased where they were not before Iranian influence growing at the expense of the United States A nuclear Iran is on the horizon The Shi’ite dominated government of Iraq is aligned with Iran Iranian arms are being funneled to insurgents Iranian influence over Israel increased with its support of Hezbollah and the Israeli-Hezbollah statement of August 2006 2) Middle East Israeli-Palestine Conflict Neglect of the conflict has eroded US power to control the conflict U.S. policy is largely defined by Israeli strategy and aims: settlements continue; military intervention by Israeli unhindered U.S. call for elections in Palestine yields the victory of Hamas, dedicated to the elimination of the Israeli state and the right of return of all Palestinians South Asia U.S. efforts to draw India into its sphere of influence exposes weakness of U.S. power Nuclear accord with India strengths India’s military nuclear program and weakens the Non-Proliferation treaty Meanwhile, India strengths relations with China and resists the role as counter-weight to rising Chinese power Northeast Asia American power challenged by a nuclear North Korea China is central to negotiations to denuclearize N. Korea China holds the U.S. economy hostage It holds a quarter of the foreign debt of the U.S. The U.S. chronically runs a foreign trade debt with China China also possesses over $1 trillion in foreign assets South Korea pursues an increasingly independent foreign policy toward the U.S. Japan, while the most reliable U.S. partner, also increasingly pursues a nationally defined foreign policy that prompts resistance from its regional neighbors, heightening national tensions SE Asia Former alignment with ASEAN states has eroded Malaysia is openly opposed to Iraq War Indonesia, while engaged in the war on terror, is also marked by heightened Islamic militancy The Chinese ‘charm’ offensive, openness to trade, and investment draws these states into its sphere of interest Central and South America The U.S. has failed to control its borders: 12 million illegal aliens, largely from Mexico, which does little to assist the U.S. The rise of states opposed to U.S. policies and power is growing: Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador Brazil leads the Group of 21 against Western and U.S. trade policies in the WTO Most states of Latin America increasingly define their political and economic systems independent of U.S. influence and intervention. Africa While U.S. aid for AIDS exceeds most countries to Africa, it’s interest and will to address African conflicts exposes its marginal influence Rwanda in 1993 Sudan and the Congo Republic: millions killed, wounded or dislocated Zimbabwe spins out of control Is the United States a Superpower???????? A superpower presumably is able either to impose its preferences on other states or to elicit their support The United States does not meet this test Yet the United remains a formidable global power Its military is the most powerful relative to the forces of other states except from Russia. Its economy is still the largest at $13 trillion in GDP Its population is well educated and creative It has impressive hard and soft power to negotiate a global environment favorable to its interests, but it cannot command others to do its will absent concessions to their interests and power. So the US is not really a superpower according to these facts.

Pat Patterson on :

And yet the fact remains that Russia, using the above rather incoherent definition has only the power of negation, it still cannot project force for its own purposes except on its borders. It can threaten Poland and the Ukraine but they simply ignore the threat and continue doing whatever irritated the Russians. What's the point of having things that go boom if the targets simply yawn and go about their normal business. When the world can see one Russian carrier battle group, which might be difficult because none are planned, circumnavigate the world or even show up to protect its citizens in a danger zone overseas then possibly a rethinking is in order. But a country that has a shrinking population, 17% plus inflation, has a death rate from alcoholism that is one of the highest in the world and its wealth is in the form of commodities and not value added products then Russia will be like an unknown wag described as an Upper Volta with atomic weapons. Plus with this new found wealth and popularity will Russia, like the US did after World War II and currently in Iraq and Afghanistan going to try to make Georgia whole again. Or will it simply walk away and leave the Georgians worse off than before.

Ted on :

Pat You’re using negative patterns on Russia as a country, 17% inflation, dying population, alcoholics and having bombs to go boom, an entire wealth from commodities & etc. You made comments about the world front stage but you claim the US is best best best country in the world but have made some pretty awful comments on Russia itself. I have read your comments and seen what your are saying here but your comments are not backed by anything. If you look, the inflation rate is not that high in Russia and if you view the US inflation, we are at a 12% inflation rate (I would be happy to send the links, here's one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RhnHo3RDfg and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cziN3gt-hic&feature=related ) Russia is booming on it population, there is a baby boom (on MSNCN, alcohol is no different than England, France, Ukraine, Sweden or Europe for example. Russia has the highest educational rate next to China; for example a Russian at the age of 10 is the about the age of a 14 to 15 year old an American, this is also the same with China but that is not the issue, this is an issue about a superpower. You talk talk but have no facts. The media is saying Russia is a superpower, are you telling me that more than 20 different international news media's listed on Google currently that they’re wrong and Russia is not a superpower? Are you a professor, do you have experience or documentation of work title to state your claims what Russia is and isn't? I mean, you have nothing negative to say about the United States but your hogging down Russia as a big bad country and they are poor, they have drinking problems, they are rich from oil and they are stupid, I mean really this is what you are saying. Can I be anymore clear what you’re writing here? I am an American but to tell me the US is not in a recession because there is no 2 quarters of no grow? Are you Rush Limbaugh or Sean Handity with a $20 or $40 million dollar annual salary to say there is no recession? CNN news said we're in a recession back in January, they said if you feel the punch and inflation is affecting you, which counts as a recession. There is a slow down, are you telling me that we've not and America is big bad and beautiful and US is best best best, we are the best country in the world?? You can Youtube search "Recession 2008" and tell me how many search results exist on the title of recession links? Are they wrong Mr. Patrick?? Here, look here yourself and tell me, that this inflation recession economy is wrong. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=us+recession&search_type=&aq=f Tell me I am wrong that Russia is not a Superpower and tell me I am wrong that the US holds former superpower status. I mean really, you want to talk talk talk and tell everybody Russia is bad bad bad and they are alcoholics and they have rusty military equipment and they are living in a dictating world under Putin. I mean tell us more of your great logic and world foundation of facts here on Atlanticview.org Let me contact my teacher Kermit the Frog from Sesame Street tell them we have a guy name Patrick Patterson is telling the world the truth that Russia is poor, not a superpower, they are alcoholics, that hate Americans, they hate democracy, they want to rule the world and all the current Google facts on Russia is a Superpower is all wrong according Patrick Patterson. Thank you Patrick, I think I will contact Nytimes, Haaretz.com, Christian Science Monitor, Spiegel, USAToday, MSNBC, Newstateman, Tukishpress, Kommersant News, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Dailymail and more, that Patrick Patterson from Alanticeview.org is the expert and has the current facts that Russia is no nothing, no superpower, not a rich country, run by the mafia, a dying population, has the worst highest inflation rate of 17% (wow), run by the KGB and are complete alcoholics. Yeah, you thought me something here Patrick Patterson, Russia is a loser and they are not a superpower. Wow, I am impressed, I am think I will have to think twice now about Russia when I listen to CNN, that this is all false stuff on TV. Thank you for telling me this Patrick, you save the day. I am have learned something here today by your great foundation of facts. Sincerely, Ted

Pat Patterson on :

I can only assume that the exaggerated response indicates sensitive feelings. I want Russia to be a successful and wealthy democracy that not only operates under the rule of law but its government protects that basic freedoms that are the hallmark of the West and now big chunks of the East as well. Who wouldn't want the people of a country that endured such trials over the last 200 years to not be successful. That doesn't mean a restoration of an empire to soothe petty little egotists, irredentists and revanchists in Moscow. That totalitarian ship has not only sailed but is probably as landlocked now as some of those former ports on the Aral Sea. I have never stated Russia is a loser but I try to keep pointing out that the posturing of it as a super power is suspect at best and laughable at worst. And quoting from websites inhabited by people that don't know the difference between an ICBM and the IBEW is not what I would call definitive. They can call Russia the new Eden but until we see Adam and Eve and the snake that doesn't make it so. Again Russia's rate of alcoholism is the highest in Europe, its birth rate of 11.03 per 1,000 is far below the death rate of 16.06 while the US, with all those 12,000,000 that snuck into not out of the country, has a birth rate of 14.8% and a death rate of 8.27% per thousand well above replacement level. An expanding population tied to an expanding economy for one things means that military expenditures can actually decline as a percentage of GDP but actually rise as a matter of dollars spendt. But a declining population which will create a shortage of labor will place the military in the difficult postion of not having a large enough population for military service vs. its stated strategic goals.

Ted on :

The US has the highest in DUI's than any other country, more people in prison than any other country, the highest death rate from drunk alcohol fatalities, even more than India at 973 million, we seem to top the list of drunk alcohol deaths in cars (where you make comments about drunk Russian's). More people die from alcohol poisoning under the age of 21 than over twenty one than any other country. The US has more laws & regulations than any other county, we have more gov't debt than any other country, we have more credit card debt than any other country, we print more money than we make than any other country. Sure if the US has a cold, countries feel the economic pressure but Russia does not have our problems and they do not have dictating leaders about democracy than we have. Did I mention we have the highest heart disease rate than any other country and we have the lowest educational record, may not be the lowest but all 46 countries in Europe have higher education record levels then we and we can’t even beat that. Did I mention we have the highest illegal immigrant population than any other country which I didn’t mention, Russia doesn’t have illegal immigrants (less than .005%), they have the highest enforcement record on immigration standards than any other country and Russia has the highest medical response from hospital, clinics & more doctors per capita than any other country and did I mention the US has the worse universal health care system but the US is a superpower? Wow but Russia has a drinking problem, I find that amazing Patrick.

Pat Patterson on :

South Korea wins the prize on DUIs with South Korea #1 with 80.33 per 100k while the US is at 6th with 19.97 per 100k. Among the other important statistics are that Russia has a life expectancy of 65.94 while the USs, admittedly lower than the other industrialized nations by one or two years is 78.14. While it is commendable that Russia does indeed have one of the highest numbers of doctors per capita I would think that the lowered life expectancy, higher death rate and lower birth rate might indicate that the quality of care might not match the numbers. Perhaps quantity is not the same as quality. The US and Russia are both a at 99% literacy though mandatory schooling for Russian children stops at 14 while it is 16 in the US. Also that the US spends over nine times more on education , $733 billion vs $80 billion for Russia per year. The Shanghai Jaio Tung college rankings for 2007 showed the while the US placed seventeen in the top twenty, with Harvard considered the best, Russia's top ranked school, Moscow University, came in at 70th. Russia's graduation rate from college has actually declined over the last ten years though in fairness that could simply be the result of more accurate figures. And as a result of having one of the highest number of people in prison per capita that being the result of citizen demand for more convictions and the fact that with more criminals incarcerated we have simply less crimes. Compared to Russia at number 5 with .202 per 1,000 the US has a violent crime rate nearly five times smaller at .043 per 1,000. That can't steal the stereo or mug grandma if they are in Lompoc or Pelican Bay. In all these categories Russia is losing ground not gaining which is a shame because unlike some of the Gulf nations that are trying to diversify their economies and educate their citizens better, Russia is doing neither. Though codifying property rights is a huge step towards creating a country tht operates under the rule of law. I have never said Russia is bad but what I have pointed out, for the last time, that Russia is ignoring problems that could be solved instead of watching May Day Parades and claiming status that is simply not realistic. Is Russia better off now than before 1989, of course it is as even partial democracy is better than none at all.

joe on :

Pat, Some time ago I suggested you buy Citigroup as a trade. If you did, then you should now have a nice profit. The problem is what to do with that profit. I think I have an answer. BUY RUSSIAN VICTORY BONDS.

Pat Patterson on :

What profit, Citigroup is at $25 from a high of $55 last summer? I did short Bear Stearns though! I do still have some Russian Imperial Bonds in frames as art objects and once in a while wonder if the Russians will ever honor them.

joe on :

Pat We had a discussion about Citigroup when it trading around $17 or so. It popped to the upside to breaking 21. Realize that it went below 17 and above 21 but I never can pick either bottoms or tops. Jerry, Tom, et al make a strong case for buying Russia Victory Bonds. These are much different than the ones you currently have hanging on your wall. These to fund Russia's march to be a superpower. You should be able to get these at a relative good rate given the current economic picture in Russia. Seems they have a bit of an investment problem. Nice analysis in the WSJ Of course we both know markets act irrational almost as much as they act reational. Seems stocks are stumbling because oil is going down. Last few months stocks were stumbling because oil was going up. So I guess maybe the best position to take is old your current bonds and double up. But act quickly because I am sure that ever Jerry as welll as Tom,Dick and Harry are already at the window scopping up as much as they can get.

joe on :

Pat Which do you think will be fielded first. The second Russian carrier or the railgun?

Pat Patterson on :

I suspect with a barrel of oil down 30% in the last month or so the weapons EE Doc Smith described in The Lensmen series, the allotropic iron torpedoes or inert free planets used to crash into enemy planets will probably be in general use first. The sister ship to the Kuznetsov is currently rusting away at a dock in Shanghai after an attempt to make it an entertainment destination. Though I understand that the catapult ride was attracting adrenlin junkies from all over the world until someone noticed that the survival rate was too good.

togga on :

I'm wondering if the writer has ever been to Ukraine/Georgia? S.Ossetians and Abkhazians want to become independant or even join Russia. Georgia didn't like that and attacked this region (as it has done many times in history), Russia defended ossetians from genocide. I know western people like genocide, killing all native americans, Hitler wanted to kill everyone who hadn't blond hair blue eyes. Now West is trying to kill every moslim in world. So I understand why US helped Georgia, Georiga wanted to kill all russians in Ossetia. Russia saved about 70000 lives, and that's bad right. All these westerns think this way, that proofs my statement. By the way I'm from Ukraine, and we DO NOT want to be part of NATO or EU, its not only my opinion but opinion in general. If you walk the streets you can see graffiti Nato stop! or bring back USSR. Yushenko our pro western president won because he had more money (from US) than other candidates to buy the elections.

jogga on :

"What's up with Russia's former allies and friends?" I'd say they are just Okay. Venezuela, Libia, North Korea , Cuba, Belarus, Iran , and european ally Germany. Just problem with Saddam.

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