But let's leave this meeting aside and focus on Putin’s latest expression. The meaning of his statement is generally reduced to the following: But can Russia resist the US military machine? Although so far, thank God, the full-scale war does not smell, but it was close recently at the height of the events in Ukraine, and this can happen again, given the aggressive tone of Russian foreign policy, at any time. Therefore, the balance of power of these powers today interests many. Just like the questions: Is there a real danger of a military confrontation between Russia and the United States? in case of armed conflict, which forces will oppose each other?
According to the Athena Group’s Deputy Director of the Center for Military Strategic Studies of the Spanish Major-General Jesus Argumos Pyla, the Russian army is currently undergoing a process of modernization and rearmament, so it’s hard to say what parameters the armed forces will be at the end of military reform. The complexes of Topol-M intercontinental missiles at a military parade in Moscow showed the current level of equipment of the Russian army.
Yes, Putin has once again demonstrated to the West that Russia is a powerful nuclear power. At the same time, according to American military experts, in terms of the level of development of the latest technological developments of conventional weapons, Russia lags significantly behind the United States. Undoubtedly, Topol-M is a revolutionary missile, but it may have problems when they want to intercept it. "Topol-M" with insufficient combat capabilities and more than a modest deployment scale can in no way become a symmetrical response to a promising multi-US missile defense system. In other words, no technique, no matter how perfect it is, can withstand the powerful system that the United States is promoting to the very borders of Russia.
And yet the possibility of the development of a large-scale military conflict in connection with the crisis in Ukraine or in any other part of the world exists. And an attempt to explain the possible scenario of its development, it seems, may interest the reader.
Thus, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), in 2013 Russia allocated 68,2 billion dollars to defense, while US military spending exceeded 600 billion dollars. Obviously, the level of military spending of the two countries is incomparable. The United States, being the leading world economic power, can afford defense spending that Russia cannot afford. To date, there is no doubt that the United States from a geostrategic point of view has armed forces that are superior to the Russian army. First of all, it concerns the possibility of fast moving mobile units over a distance of more than 4 thousands of kilometers.
Russia can carry out this kind of operation with only a limited military contingent, while the United States has virtually unlimited possibilities. So, by the way, consider both General Argumosa and other experts.
In addition, the United States in the near future intends to adopt the latest development of American aircraft designers, the fifth-generation fighter F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which by its flight performance far exceeds the Russian aircraft in service.
In general, today the following correlation of forces and means in the US and Russian armed forces has developed: the number of military personnel in the USA is 1 million 492 thousand, in Russia - 845 thousand; strategic aircraft aviationcapable of carrying on board a nuclear weapon: USA - 154, Russia - 141; nuclear submarines: USA - 140, Russia −110; missile systems capable of carrying nuclear warheads: USA - 450, Russia - 356; artillery guns: USA - 7429, Russia - 5837.
As you can see, in terms of the number of aircraft and technical equipment, Americans are also superior to the Russians. In quantitative terms, this difference is sometimes insignificant, but many argue that, in a qualitative sense, the United States is also ahead of Russia.
What about combat training of armies?
From the point of view of training, training, new technologies, efficiency and ability to quickly respond to the emergence of military threats, superiority is undoubtedly on the American side. At the same time, the Russian military surpass the Americans in their readiness for self-sacrifice and their ability to withstand the burden of military service.
Proceeding from all this, many experts believe that at present it can be stated with confidence: nuclear parity has developed between the US and Russia, so it’s almost impossible to imagine a military conflict between these two states “in its pure form”. If we take the ratio of the nuclear forces of the so-called “triad” - intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and strategic aviation (heavy bombers), then it is approximately the same.
Thus, it is quite obvious that at present there is no threat of the current confrontation between Russia and the West becoming escalated into an armed nuclear conflict.
President Putin, who has worked in Germany for many years as an intelligence officer, understands this well. Together with Putin, other world leaders also understand this, but unlike them, Putin is also acting. Promoting his interests, he carefully calculates the invisible bar, which is really dangerous to cross. Just every time, like a good athlete, this bar goes higher and higher.
Many say that Putin has been gaining momentum as a world leader lately, while the West, Obama and Europe are lagging behind, especially after the events in Crimea. The superiority of Russian weapons now lies in the fact that the Kremlin has managed to show the West who is the boss in the post-Soviet space. Another advantage of Putin is greater decisiveness. But the current parity cannot last long. And Putin’s growing activity and the economic state of his country will surely lead to a new confrontation. It is then, perhaps, that the world leader will be determined. Ukraine did not give a clear answer to this question.