Not since the Cold War has the world had to contemplate such a dangerous situation: a confrontation between the world’s two foremost nuclear superpowers. But with Russian President Vladimir Putin deploying overwhelming force in countries thousands of miles away, and the US military unprepared for the kind of long-range power projection Moscow has been practicing, many analysts believe the Kremlin could find itself on the losing end.
In the air, the United States has more bases, fighter jets and bombers than Russia. At sea, the US has more destroyers, submarines and aircraft carriers. In the ground, however, Russia is better-equipped with tanks and artillery. And as for missiles, the country’s sophisticated Kh-47M2 Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missiles are capable of reaching targets at a distance exceeding 7,000 miles at speeds of up to Mach 10.
But conventional comparisons are moot if a clash between the world’s top powers escalates into a full-scale conflict and nuclear exchanges take place. Both countries have reduced their levels of nuclear weapons in recent years, but they still have thousands of warheads, enough to destroy the planet multiple times over.
The US and its allies have responded to Russia’s actions in Ukraine with a range of sanctions and military exercises. But most Americans continue to say they would be hesitant to intervene in a war with Russia, and even Republicans have become somewhat less negative on the issue. According to a Quinnipiac University survey, just nineteen percent think it is the United States’ responsibility to stop Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.