I do think that the Russian armed forces would be handily defeated by the French, British or German armed forces in a conventional war anywhere outside of Russian territory. [On the territory of Rodina, all bets are off.] Putin has been canny enough to avoid engaging any army remotely comparable to Russia's so far. I base this more on the quality of the troops and command than on the equipment, however. Western military equipment is sophisticated, but trades sensitivity to failure for the sophistication. (Too many therbligs, in engineering terms.) Russian equipment tends to be more basic, but also more robust.Eric the .5b wrote: ↑28 Oct 2018, 17:58How many times did people point out that Iraq had one of the largest armies in the world, right before Desert Storm?Aresen wrote: ↑27 Oct 2018, 10:32Based on current foreign exchange rates, this is true. Adjusting for purchasing power parity, Russia spends quite a bit more.Eric the .5b wrote: ↑27 Oct 2018, 03:05The UK and France together spend more on their militaries than Russia's military budget. NATO would be just fine without the US. If they want to expand up to Russia's border for fear of Putin, I'm fine with that, so long as we're not involved.Taktix® wrote: ↑27 Oct 2018, 02:31I'm all for the United States military walking back their role as the world babysitter/policeman, but not the current, Kremlin-directed roughshod walking back that takes the precise form that is most advantageous to Russia's filling in the resulting power vacuums and exercising Putin's influence of a greater number of previously free people.
As a measure of net liberty, every time a person falls under the control of Vladimir Putin, the world gets less free.
When we compare by number of people in the armed forces:
Source: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/29- ... world.html
And, again, this is the military Russia can't actually afford.
As for 'affordability', Russians have had memories of 'The Great Patriotic War' drilled into them for 70+ years. Even more than in the US, the military is idolized in Russia and the Russians will make great sacrifices to pay for it. What the Russians really can't afford is their kleptocracy, which is sucking the lifeblood out of their economy.
Returning to the discussion about the logic of empire: Imperial Powers simply cannot limit their expansion. Each expansion creates a new vulnerability which requires further expansion. By the time an Imperial Power realizes that it is over-extended, the damage is already done. Pulling back is fraught with both external and internal danger because a leadership that pulls back is perceived as vulnerable to external enemies, subjugated peoples and would be usurpers at home.