Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Still in Deep Hibernation

Putin's Russia is making a lot of noise about rearming of late in the face of NATO's purported military threat to Mother Russia. (That's a laugh. We have about 95% of NATO's usable power. Much like what the Kaiser said he'd do if the British landed on his coast in 1914, Putin could call out the police to handle European NATO's military strength.)

But the Russian Bear is not roaring as much as it is snorting in a bear's deep sleep:

Although Russia has announced ambitious military construction and rebuilding programs, when you do the math, you realize that the Russian military is still in decline. For example, Russia's aging ICBM force, which has gotten little money in the last decade, is still wasting away. This despite some new missile construction. Over the next decade, Russia's ICBM forces will decline from nearly 700, to under 200. Similar declines are underway for ground, naval and air forces. Aiding this collapse is the continuing corruption, particularly when it comes to procurement. All the stealing means that the military pays more than it should, for less than it is supposed to get.

The bear is still hibernating. While we must try to treat them nicely in the hope that sanity will prevail there, we can still safely poke it with a stick now and again when our interests require us to ignore Putin's complaints and accusations.

And truly, it is amazing that even with windfall oil revenue, Russia is managing to screw up their military.