The US no longer sees cooperation with Russia as a realistic possibility. Instead, Washington is focused on knocking it out of the ranks of the great powers and reducing its capabilities.
Experts agree that the United States military’s globe-spanning force would clobber the Russian military in a toe-to-toe conventional fight. But most modern wars do not take place in a conventional fight where the two sides face off with equal numbers of fighter jets, bombers and aircraft carriers. Geography and politics inevitably give one side an advantage.
Russia’s collapsing economy and its lack of cohesive NCO training programs also make it ill-equipped for the type of large-scale warfare that the United States, NATO and many of Russia’s Pacific allies are building up to counter China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. If the US or its allies were to interdict China’s petroleum supplies, a massive famine would break out within a year, potentially deterring the country from risking a full-scale war that it could not win.
That’s why the US is working to degrade the country’s tools of statecraft by imposing economic sanctions, sending lethal weapons and trainers to Ukraine and ramping up naval exercises in Eastern Europe. This may not be the beginning of a war, but it could easily escalate into an ugly display of Cold War-era suspicion, antagonism and gamesmanship. A direct clash between the world’s two nuclear-armed superpowers is not inevitable, but it is a very real possibility.