How and Why Russia Has Come to Be Such a Military Powerhouse

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Date: Friday, 28 April 2023

How and Why Russia Has Come to Be Such a Military Powerhouse

Eric Zuesse

America, which nominally spends around 37% of the world’s military expenses, but actually spends around 50% by financing some of its necessary military expenses in other-than-military (i.e., non-Pentagon) categories, such as the Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Justice Department, and U.S. Treasury Department, has, ever since the 1975 termination (and American defeat) in its war against Vietnam, had a long history of losing wars that it had expected to win, and of Pyrrhically (or futilely) ‘winning’ other wars (such as against Iraq, and Libya) that produced nothing but destruction — all costs, and no benefits, to anybody (except to the billionaires in American-and-allied oil, gas, armaments, and high-tech companies). The biggest winners of America’s recent wars have actually been America’s billionaires (look at this graph, which shows that ever since the 1991 termination of the Cold War on Russia’s side, America’s armaments-makers’ profits soared, instead of plunged). But the targeted countries (such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine until Obama grabbed it in 2014, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) experience only destruction from America’s aggressions (coups, invasions, sanctions, etc.), and the American public experience only taxes (and a few corpses, plus many crippled former troops). 

All of this is done in order to jack-up, even yet higher, America’s economic inequality (boosting the billionaires’ armament-firms, at everybody else’s expense) — it just grinds the public down, in order to further-enrich America’s billionaires. And none of those invaded countries had ever invaded or threatened to invade the United States! This isn’t merely evil, but it’s been pure waste.

In fact: the U.S. ‘Defense’ Department is the ONLY unaudited Department of the U.S. federal Government; and, routinely, trillions of dollars spent there have gone to persons unknown, for purposes unrecorded. And, yet, the U.S. military is the most-respected of all American institutions, by the (incredibly deceived) American people (since the same billionaires control the press who control the armaments-makers and the extraction-corporations — and select and promote the winning politicians).

By contrast, ever since Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia on the final day of the 20th Century (31 December 1999) — and immediately told Russia’s billionaires that they’d never again control Russia (like they had done under Yeltsin, who was himself controlled by the CIA) and that they would be prosecuted if they even tried to — Russia has never lost a war that it participated in, and hasn’t produced evil results like America has done in America’s 50 “Military Operations” since 1 January 2000. That’s according to Wikipedia’s list. However, the U.S. Congressional Research Service’s 8 March 2022 list of U.S. invasions (including increases in existing invasions), titled “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2022”, lists and briefly describes 175 U.S. invasions between the start of 2000 and up till Russia’s invading Ukraine in 2022 (in response to America’s coup that grabbed Ukraine in 2014). That CRS list includes a total of 297 such invasions after WW II (i.e., during 1945-2022, a 77-year period). 244 of the 297 invasions occurred after the Soviet Union ended in 1991 and prior to Russia’s invading Ukraine. Prior to 1945, there were only a total of 163 U.S. invasions, between 1798 and 1945. That’s 147 years. And, then, in the 77-years between 1945 and 2022, there were 297. Obviously, the U.S. Government is insanely aggressive, ever since Truman, under the influence of his hero Eisenhower, started the military-industrial complex in 1947. It took over the country.

The U.S. ‘Defense’ Department (or Pentagon) is the organization that shells out trillions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to buy the phenomenally overpriced products of firms such as Lockheed Martin; and, as a result, Russia, which never privatized its armaments-production but retained Government-control over all of its armaments-manufacturers, doesn’t need to worry about the country’s billionaires when deciding how much and what to spend on its weapons — and (also unlike the U.S.) it does audit where that money went, and who got each ruble that was spent. So: the difference is like the difference between night and day (just as the results have been).

Here are the latest Wikipedia lists of how much each country spent on the “Military” during the latest official year (but notice that the figures shown for the U.S. are ONLY what the Pentagon’s budget was — it’s a considerable deceit, a big understatement):

List by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

2022 Fact Sheet (for 2021)[1]

SIPRI Military Expenditure Database[5]

Rank Country Spending

(US$ bn) % of GDP % of Global Spending

World total 1,981 2.4 100%

1 pastedGraphic.png United States 778.0 3.7 39%

2 pastedGraphic_1.png China   252.0 1.7 13%

3 pastedGraphic_2.png India 72.9 2.9 3.7%

4 pastedGraphic_3.png Russia 61.7 4.3 3.1%

5 pastedGraphic_4.png United Kingdom 59.2 2.7 3.0%

6 pastedGraphic_5.png Saudi Arabia[a][b] 57.5 8.4 2.9%

7 pastedGraphic_6.png Germany 52.8 1.4 2.7%

8 pastedGraphic_7.png France 52.7 2.1 2.7%

9 pastedGraphic_8.png Japan 49.1 1.0 2.5%

10 pastedGraphic_9.png South Korea 45.7 2.8 2.3%

11 pastedGraphic_10.png Italy 28.9 1.6 1.5%

12 pastedGraphic_11.png Australia 27.5 2.1 1.4%

13 pastedGraphic_12.png Canada 20.8 1.3 1.1%

14 pastedGraphic_13.png Israel 21.7 5.6 1.1%

15 pastedGraphic_14.png Brazil 19.7 1.4 1.0%

List by the International Institute for Strategic Studies

2022 edition of "The Military Balance" from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)

Top 15 Defence Budgets 2021[6]

Rank Country Spending

(US$ bn)

1 pastedGraphic.png United States 738.0

2 pastedGraphic_1.png China 193.3

3 pastedGraphic_2.png India 64.1

4 pastedGraphic_4.png United Kingdom 61.5

5 pastedGraphic_3.png Russia 60.6

6 pastedGraphic_7.png France 56.8

7 pastedGraphic_6.png Germany 51.3

8 pastedGraphic_8.png Japan 49.7

9 pastedGraphic_5.png Saudi Arabia 48.5

10 pastedGraphic_9.png South Korea 40.4

11 pastedGraphic_11.png Australia 31.3

12 pastedGraphic_10.png Italy 29.3

13 pastedGraphic_14.png Brazil 22.1

14 pastedGraphic_12.png Canada 20.0

15 pastedGraphic_13.png Israel 19.9

For example, to consider SIPRI’s figures: America’s (way understated) 778.0 was 12.6 times larger than Russia’s 61.7; and, if the U.S. military expenditures that had been paid for out of other federal Departments than the Defense Department were to have been included into the U.S. number, that would have instead been around at least a 50% higher figure: 1,167+, or at least 19 times as high as Russia had spent that year on its military. Was America getting a military that was 19 times better than Russia’s?


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s new book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

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