Russia is a large nation in North Asia, bordering the Arctic Ocean, with a population of 146 million people. The capital city is Moscow and it is the world’s second largest exporter of military hardware, after the United States. In fact, it has the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The US and Russia have taken divergent paths to military might, but they both have the same basic capabilities. The US dominates in the air, and has more fighter jets and bombers than Russia. It also has more ships and submarines, including destroyers and aircraft carriers. It also spends much more than Russia on its military, with US military spending 612 billion dollars to Russia’s 77 billion dollars.
Russia has a clear goal – forcing NATO to respect Article V of the UN Charter. Their recent aggression is already raising questions about military response. In addition to its stated goal of destabilizing NATO, Russia has also made threats against Baltic countries, which are among NATO’s newest allies. It has sent military aircraft into Baltic airspace and has allegedly mounted cyberattacks. Some analysts see Estonia, which is a member of NATO, as particularly vulnerable to Russian aggression.
The United States and Russia are currently at odds over how to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. While the US has pledged nonlethal aid to Ukraine, Russia continues to shell border towns and fight alongside rebels in contested areas.