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  #1  
Old 04-05-2009, 12:54 PM
Spin Master Spin Master is offline
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Is Russia more powerful than the United States?

I know I'm opening a can of worms here and I'm just as patriotic as the next guy but think about it.

In the past 200 years Russia was invaded twice by the armies of two of the most imperialistic leaders in modern times: Napoleon and Hitler. Despite stupendous casualties and damage, Russia came out on top each time. Could America have done the same?

How about America's recent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq? If Russia invaded these two countries after a terrorist attack on their soil, would the results have been dramatically different?

According to this graph, Russia has had a larger nuclear weapons stockpile than the United States for over 30 years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US...stockpiles.svg

Would America beat Russia in a nuclear war if neither country showed any mercy whatsoever? What do you think?

Last edited by Spin Master; 04-05-2009 at 12:59 PM..
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2009, 12:56 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is online now
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
How about America's recent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq? If Russia invaded these two countries, would the results be dramatically different? What do you think?
Russia DID invade Afghanistan. It was a total disaster for them that ended in defeat, set in motion a chain of events that lead to a civil war, then to the Taliban, then to the U.S. invasion.
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:02 PM
Mr. Kobayashi Mr. Kobayashi is offline
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Would America beat Russia in a nuclear war if neither country showed any mercy whatsoever? What do you think?
In a nuclear war there is no 'win'.
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:03 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
I know I'm opening a can of worms here and I'm just as patriotic as the next guy but think about it.

In the past 200 years Russia was invaded twice by the armies of two of the most imperialistic leaders in modern times: Napoleon and Hitler. Despite stupendous casualties and damage, Russia came out on top each time. Could America have done the same?

How about America's recent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq? If Russia invaded these two countries, would the results have been dramatically different? What do you think?

According to this graph, Russia has had a larger nuclear weapons stockpile than the United States for over 30 years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US...stockpiles.svg

Would America beat Russia in a nuclear war if neither country showed any mercy whatsoever? What do you think?
Neither country could have won a nuclear war. Each had more than enough nukes to destroy the other and all their allies, which brings up another point. The USA had much stronger and more stable allies than the USSR.

If you measure strength purely by military power, the USA and Russia were probably about equally strong. The few times where US and Russian military clashes happened, the US came out on top. We completely thwarted the Russians by arming a native population in Afghanistan, and the Russians only partly thwarted us by arming a native population in Korea, even with some small amount of direct Russian military intervention.
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  #5  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:08 PM
Mr. Kobayashi Mr. Kobayashi is offline
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Not to mention the US is a lot more powerful economically than Russia these days.In terms of GDP, the Russian Federation is ranked 8th globally with the United States of America keeping the number 1 spot.
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:15 PM
Spin Master Spin Master is offline
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Originally Posted by Mosier View Post
Neither country could have won a nuclear war. Each had more than enough nukes to destroy the other and all their allies, which brings up another point. The USA had much stronger and more stable allies than the USSR.

If you measure strength purely by military power, the USA and Russia were probably about equally strong. The few times where US and Russian military clashes happened, the US came out on top. We completely thwarted the Russians by arming a native population in Afghanistan, and the Russians only partly thwarted us by arming a native population in Korea, even with some small amount of direct Russian military intervention.
So if America and Russia went head-to-head in a full-scale battle, who would be the likely victor and why?
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:17 PM
Birdmonster Birdmonster is offline
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Russia's ability to withstand the Napolean/Hitler invasions were as much geographical as any other factor. The country was simply too large and too effing cold to invade successfully.
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  #8  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:19 PM
Mr. Kobayashi Mr. Kobayashi is offline
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
So if America and Russia went head-to-head in a full-scale battle, who would be the likely victor and why?
These days? What's the casus belli? There's no reason I can think of why the U.S. and Russian Federation would engage each other in armed conflict presently. Even the Georgia situation and gas pipeline business didn't seem to give the U.S. great cause for alarm.

Or do you mean back in the Cold War? When specifically?
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  #9  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:22 PM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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England hasn't been invaded since 1066. By your logic, that makes it much more powerful than Russia.
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:22 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post

In the past 200 years Russia was invaded twice by the armies of two of the most imperialistic leaders in modern times: Napoleon and Hitler. Despite stupendous casualties and damage, Russia came out on top each time. Could America have done the same?
The main factor that defeated Napoleon and Hitler was the fact that they were running a land invasion of Russia, which is enormous, thinly populated, and has brutal winters. Both invading armies were caught unprepared for a Russian winter; it did the bulk of the work in both cases. IIRC, Napoleon was counting on forage to feed his army, which worked fine in densely farmed areas of Europe, but not Russia. He got all the way to Moscow, only to find it empty of people and supplies. Winter descended, and they simply froze and starved and died of disease. Hitler encountered very similar problems. Lesson: never get involved in a land war in Asia.

A war between Russia and the US would not involve US troops trying to march through the country, so you can't compare Napoleon and Hitler to that hypothetical scenario.
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  #11  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:34 PM
Spin Master Spin Master is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr. Kobayashi View Post
These days? What's the casus belli? There's no reason I can think of why the U.S. and Russian Federation would engage each other in armed conflict presently. Even the Georgia situation and gas pipeline business didn't seem to give the U.S. great cause for alarm.

Or do you mean back in the Cold War? When specifically?
Let's say that within the next few years, the shit hits the fan, disagreements erupt, one country is block off from a needed resource such as oil, and a war is started as a result. Because of mounting and unfortunate circumstances, both countries feel that they absolutely have to go to war.

Both countries know months in advance that war is necessary so they gather up the resources and personnel needed for the conflict. Neither country shows any mercy and they attack each other at every possible front. Who would be the likely victor?
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  #12  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:38 PM
The Tao's Revenge The Tao's Revenge is offline
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
Let's say that within the next few years, the shit hits the fan, disagreements erupt, one country is block off from a needed resource such as oil, and a war is started as a result. Because of mounting and unfortunate circumstances, both countries feel that they absolutely have to go to war.

Both countries know months in advance that war is necessary so they gather up the resources and personnel needed for the conflict. Neither country shows any mercy and they attack each other at every possible front. Who would be the likely victor?

Who ever had a radiation proof bunker with enough food to last the longest, but only till the food ran out.

Last edited by The Tao's Revenge; 04-05-2009 at 01:39 PM..
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  #13  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:39 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
So if America and Russia went head-to-head in a full-scale battle, who would be the likely victor and why?
Assuming nukes didn't end everything, America would win because we had tanks a day's drive away, and they had tanks a US Navy-patrolled-ocean away. How would they even get here?
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  #14  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:41 PM
Mr. Kobayashi Mr. Kobayashi is offline
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
Let's say that within the next few years, the shit hits the fan, disagreements erupt, one country is block off from a needed resource such as oil, and a war is started as a result. Because of mounting and unfortunate circumstances, both countries feel that they absolutely have to go to war.

Both countries know months in advance that war is necessary so they gather up the resources and personnel needed for the conflict. Neither country shows any mercy and they attack each other at every possible front. Who would be the likely victor?
[armchair general] I'd call a stalemate. Neither has the capacity to completely disable the enemies ability to fight, beyond resorting to nuclear arms (and we all know how that ends).
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:51 PM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
Let's say that within the next few years, the shit hits the fan, disagreements erupt, one country is block off from a needed resource such as oil, and a war is started as a result. Because of mounting and unfortunate circumstances, both countries feel that they absolutely have to go to war.

Both countries know months in advance that war is necessary so they gather up the resources and personnel needed for the conflict. Neither country shows any mercy and they attack each other at every possible front. Who would be the likely victor?
Depends on where the oil is. Neither country will attempt to invade the other, so warfare will take place on the contested land. Basically, if it's driving distance from Russia, the Russians will probably win. Anywhere else, America in a walk.
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  #16  
Old 04-05-2009, 02:06 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
I know I'm opening a can of worms here and I'm just as patriotic as the next guy but think about it.

In the past 200 years Russia was invaded twice by the armies of two of the most imperialistic leaders in modern times: Napoleon and Hitler. Despite stupendous casualties and damage, Russia came out on top each time. Could America have done the same?
By this logic, America is vastly more powerful than Russia. In the case of Napoleon, we were so far away and the prospect of victory so remote that far from invading us he sold us the Louisiana territory rather than fighting over it. And Hitler couldn't even get transport ships across the English Channel, much less the Atlantic Ocean. American troops were marched across Europe into Germany but German troops were chased out of North Africa and never left Europe after that.

And so America defeated Napoleon without firing a shot or even harsh language, and defeated Hitler without a single German bomb falling on an American city. As Sun Tzu said, to win 100 victories in 100 battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill. If the Russian winter makes Russians skilled at war, the Atlantic Ocean makes Americans 100 times more skilled.

Last edited by Lemur866; 04-05-2009 at 02:06 PM..
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  #17  
Old 04-05-2009, 02:08 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
Let's say that within the next few years, the shit hits the fan, disagreements erupt, one country is block off from a needed resource such as oil, and a war is started as a result. Because of mounting and unfortunate circumstances, both countries feel that they absolutely have to go to war.

Both countries know months in advance that war is necessary so they gather up the resources and personnel needed for the conflict. Neither country shows any mercy and they attack each other at every possible front. Who would be the likely victor?
Except wars never happen like this, not even WWII.
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  #18  
Old 04-05-2009, 02:17 PM
Spin Master Spin Master is offline
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Except wars never happen like this, not even WWII.
Did you ever investigate the reasons behind Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor?

Last edited by Spin Master; 04-05-2009 at 02:18 PM..
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  #19  
Old 04-05-2009, 06:00 PM
RickJay RickJay is online now
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
So if America and Russia went head-to-head in a full-scale battle, who would be the likely victor and why?
Cockroaches.

A full scale battle would result in the incineration of both countries and likely most of Western Europe, western China, India, Pakistan, and parts of the Middle East. Billions would die in the nuclear holocaust and resulting aftermath and "The United States" and "Russia" would cease to exist.

And look, forget about it "staying conventional." A full scale war would go nuclear. They ran this exercise a zillion times during the cold war, and it always goes nuclear once one side starts to lose.

The cockroaches would do very well.
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  #20  
Old 04-05-2009, 06:02 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Neither country would fare well in trying to invade and conquer the other. Two many people, too much land, too much distance between them. The United States has dramatically superior force projection than the Russians at present. The U.S. Navy has 11 Carrier Strike Groups, the Russians don't have anything that equals even one CSG, let alone 11 of them.

Depending on the geographic location of a conflict this could be a decisive advantage for the United States. For example any conflict outside of states immediately bordering Russia, Russia has to get there somehow. Imagine a conflict in say, Western Europe. The countries of Europe are almost definitely not going to give Russia free passage through their countries or passage through their air space. If Russia would even attempt to move significant forces through the Baltic or even Mediterranean they would be absolutely destroyed by the U.S. Navy. Aerial deployment would almost certainly be the preferred method.

What would be a significant deciding factor honestly would be where exactly this theoretical war would take place an the geopolitical situation.

For example if Russia invaded China they would have the advantage of proximity, they could bring the full force of their military to bear relatively quickly. Assuming the United States assisted China in defending itself, however, the United States has the support of the entire indigenous Chinese population and the full force of the Chinese military.

We'd see a similar situation repeated with all of Russia's neighbors. Finland or Poland may not be as powerful as China, but they have powerful allies and the local population would resist Russian occupation. Russia would be fighting multiple enemies at once.

Now, if the United States was attempting to invade one of Russia's neighbors, then Russia would have a clear advantage. They'd have proximity and the local population on their side. But honestly modern warfare being what it is, an invader is always going to have a very difficult time. Gone are the days in which the armies met in the field and then the defeated party sued for peace and made territorial concessions.

If we are to assume a contrived "neutral battlefield" (I say contrived because it'd be very difficult for a country to be neutral to two warring powers fighting on their land) then unless this neutral battlefield was one of Russia's neighbors it would be very difficult for Russia logistically. We have much better logistics and force projection and would probably have tactical superiority from day one.

Geography would also come into play. In desert warfare the armor battle would be key as would control of the skies which is always crucial to any pitched battle in modern warfare. I think most neutrals observers will agree that the T-72 is inferior to the Abrams, and this has been proven in battle. Most Russian military supporters will point out to the lack of several key features that plagued the performance of Iraqi T-72s and argue that in any battle between the then USSR and the United States the Abrams would have been going up against superior tanks than what they saw in Iraq. That may very well be true, but from all that I've seen I think if you had to pick between being in an Abrams (all three variants) and the T-72 I'd prefer to be in an Abrams. The T-90 versus the most recent iteration of the Abrams is always a hot debate on internet forums but ultimately the T-90 has never really seen any service against modern armor; to me I just can't really speculate about something that has never been in real combat. But American tank crews have a lot of combat experience and future tank crews have that combat experience which will be drawn upon in training. The fact that the United States has been involved in so many conflicts since the fall of the USSR has given it more experience across the board.

There are a whole series of debates that is opened up in the theoretical "open-field, full pitched battle in neutral territory" scenario. How does our Air Force fare against theirs? As just one example, and that in itself would be a multi-page debate.
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  #21  
Old 04-05-2009, 06:35 PM
DeptfordX DeptfordX is offline
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
England hasn't been invaded since 1066. By your logic, that makes it much more powerful than Russia.

That'll come as a surprise to the shade of James the Second.

See also Richard II,Richard III, Charles II, Louis VIII, Bonnie Prince Charlie, etc, etc.

In short, no invasions since 1066, utter rubbish.
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  #22  
Old 04-05-2009, 07:51 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr. Kobayashi View Post
In a nuclear war there is no 'win'.
"Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than 10 to 20 million, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks."

Other posters have answered this question adequately from a strictly military standpoint; there is no way either country could "defeat" the other without being reduced to the level of a third-rate industrial power in the process. Citing Russia's previous resistance to subjugation is hardly definitive; as others have pointed out, geography and weather have been the decisive factors in both cited instances (and others). The o.p. also neglected to mention the 19th century Great Game between the then dominant British Empire and the Russian Empire over Central Asia, which neither side can be said to have effectively one. That the Soviet Union maintains numerical superiority in their nuclear arsenal (due to shortfalls in compliance with START) is likely a non-issue; while the US has reduced ICBM wings and decommissioned the Titan II and Peacekeeper and wings, it still maintains the Trident D5 SLBM ballistic missile fleet (albeit with single RV launchers in compliance with START) while the Russian ballistic missile fleet--never demonstrating the duration or operational effectiveness of the American boomer fleet--sits mostly rusting at the wharf. Development of new SLBMs by the Soviet Union has been waved around as a banner but so far has not entered production.

From an economic standpoint, the United States is (and has been since at least WWI) a far stronger nation, capable of self-sustained economic growth. Politically it's a bit of a toss-up; while the US has clearly been a world leader for the West, taking up the mantle for the European colonial powers (primarily France and Great Britain), it has substantially bungled that effort in many places around the world. However, while the Soviet Union has had somewhat geographically wider success (South America, Africa, Southeast and Central Asia), it too suffered many reversals of fortune before the Soviet Union collapsed, including the post-WWII collapse of Comintern and internal dissent within the Warsaw Pact and Non-Aligned nations of Eastern Europe. Whatever influence the Russian Federation enjoys today on the world stage is but an echo of its former might and its willingness to supply weapons cheaply with little reserve regarding their ultimate use.

Stranger
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  #23  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:25 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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You're also forgetting Hitler could've won the war with the Soviet Union. The nuclear bomb ended it quicker but didn't win it.

Lend-Lease won the war for the UK and the Soviet Union. Without Lend-Lease the BEST either country could've hoped for was a stalemate.

By the end of WWII the United States industrial production was more than every other single nation in the world PUT TOGETHER.

The US didn't even lose half a million people while the Soviets bled over 20 million deaths.

The US was much stronger, in fact one could argue that at the end of WWII there was never a single stronger country in the world ever.

Russia has potential but that doesn't mean much if you can't use it. Their transportation is very poor. It does no good to have oil if you can't get it. Or if you can get it and can't ship it. Or during a war if the way you ship it can be caught off by a single rail line destruction.

That is the key to the power of the United States, we not only have lots of potential resources we have a huge number of resources that are developed in addition to all the potential we still have.

This is confusing to some. Look at places like Congo (former Zaire). There is no place on Africa as rich in potential and it could be vastly weathly. But all it has ever had since independence is potential, cause it never was developed correctly.

The US is also unique because it's a large population with a large area. Very few places in the US are terribly underpopulated. So basically all the land is used.

Look at Russia, most of it is empty. Look at Canada 90% of the population lives within 200 miles of the American border. Australia is populated on the SE coast and Perth and Brisbane, otherwise it's empty. Look at China, most of the population lives in the eastern third of the country.

Those are American sized countries and only in America do we not find a the huge gaps. Sure the Rockies and the Plains (the Dakotas, Nebraska etc) aren't huge but they as vastly empty as the Outback(Australia), the Amazon(Brazil), Hudson Bay(Canada), Siberia (Russia) or Sinkiang/Tibet (China)
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  #24  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:57 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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Originally Posted by Spin Master View Post
So if America and Russia went head-to-head in a full-scale battle, who would be the likely victor and why?
The Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Global chaos would serve them well and the driving humanity back to the Middle Ages is pretty much where Osama and his ilk would love the world to be. With The US and Russia having beaten each other to fractions of what they were, and China hobbled by virtue of the global economic wasteland that would result, and the governments of various Arab states also foundering as the lack of economic activity in the aftermath of such destruction, a new caliphate could arise ...
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:35 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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You're also forgetting Hitler could've won the war with the Soviet Union. The nuclear bomb ended it quicker but didn't win it.

Lend-Lease won the war for the UK and the Soviet Union. Without Lend-Lease the BEST either country could've hoped for was a stalemate.
I'm not a fan of much that the Soviet Union did during its existence but I can only say their resolve and ability in WWII is one of the most admirable things in history. Certainly more was sacrificed by the Russians defending their country than the Brits lost in the Battle of Britain. The pilots who won that battle are considered heroes by most people from Western states, but the Russians who quite literally took and defeated the full force of Hitler's previously unstoppable armies have never been given full recognition by the West.

Lend-Lease was absolutely critical to the Red Army, however; in some cases while I think the majority of people tend to negate the Soviets accomplishments during World War II I think some go too far and make the claim the Soviets could have finished the whole thing independently. This is most definitely a farce, the Soviets were able to sustain impressive industrial output but not anywhere near enough to keep their war machine going. The Soviets devoted most of their industry to building munitions, which is why the Red Army was primarily using Soviet built tanks. However the locomotives the pulled the trains which were essential to the Red Army's logistics were in large portion built in the United States. Over 60% of the truck that carried all the fuel the Red Armor's armor needed were built in the United States.

Could the Soviets have built more trucks themselves, more locomotives? Certainly, but then they could not have produced as many tanks, as many artillery pieces et cetera. The industrial output of the United States was unlike that ever seen in history during World War II and it was only because of the ludicrous amount of excess the U.S. pumped out that the Red Army didn't have to make a choice between having tanks or having trucks--they built just about as many tanks as they possibly could because we sent them a huge number of trucks. During World War II an entire armored division could be stopped in its tracks in under 30 hours if there wasn't enough fuel, without the immense material support of the United States I don't fathom the Red Army would have had a supply chain capable of taking Eastern Europe, especially not in light of all the casualties they suffered turning the Nazis back.

Without Lend Lease I still think the Soviets would have stopped the German advance but without it I do not believe they could have struck back at Germany with the speed and relentlessness that we saw historically.
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  #26  
Old 04-06-2009, 12:35 AM
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I don't know who said it fIrst: In WWII the British contributed the time, the soviets the blood and the Americans the money.
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:30 AM
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England hasn't been invaded since 1066.
Not true. There were constant Scottish and Welsh incursions in the early days. And the Scottish problem didn't stop until the exile of Bonnie Prince Charlie. And the South Coast was subject to Arab slave raids until the 19th century.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:55 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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If you want to know which country would win on an even battlefield if nuclear weapons were off the table, the U.S. would wipe the floor with the Russians. It wouldn't even be close. Soviet weaponry isn't in the same league as what the U.S. has, and the U.S's battlefield coordination is awesome. Russian soldiers are poorly paid and poorly trained.

They'd put up a slightly better fight than the Iraqis did, and that's about it.
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:31 AM
sailor sailor is offline
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If you want to know which country would win on an even battlefield if nuclear weapons were off the table, the U.S. would wipe the floor with the Russians. It wouldn't even be close. Soviet weaponry isn't in the same league as what the U.S. has, and the U.S's battlefield coordination is awesome. Russian soldiers are poorly paid and poorly trained.

They'd put up a slightly better fight than the Iraqis did, and that's about it.
The notion that the USA can take and hold Russia is ridiculous. Of course the American army can beat the Russian Army in a military battle. And then what? America does not have enough boots to put on the ground in Iraq and it would not have even a fraction of what was needed to hold Russia. It would just be like Iraq or Vietnam only a hundred times worse. It would be a continual guerrilla war against the Russian people and there is no way that could be held for any length of time.

I see this line of thinking so often. America is invincible. We can do whatever we like. We can invade Iraq and the Iraqis will like it. Then, when the foolish thinking leads to disaster it's "nuke the ingrateful bastards form outer space".
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:23 AM
Nars Glinley Nars Glinley is offline
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Would America beat Russia in a nuclear war if neither country showed any mercy whatsoever? What do you think?
I think someone needs to watch WarGames again.
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  #31  
Old 04-06-2009, 08:57 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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The notion that the USA can take and hold Russia is ridiculous. Of course the American army can beat the Russian Army in a military battle. And then what? America does not have enough boots to put on the ground in Iraq and it would not have even a fraction of what was needed to hold Russia. It would just be like Iraq or Vietnam only a hundred times worse. It would be a continual guerrilla war against the Russian people and there is no way that could be held for any length of time.

I see this line of thinking so often. America is invincible. We can do whatever we like. We can invade Iraq and the Iraqis will like it. Then, when the foolish thinking leads to disaster it's "nuke the ingrateful bastards form outer space".
Good thing I didn't say anything about 'taking and holding Russia', and in fact was very careful to make my comments very specific to evaluating the technical merits of each side's combat capability.

Of course the United States couldn't 'take and hold' Russia. No one with an ounce of knowledge on the subject would think so. No one believes the U.S. should even remotely consider it. This might be the mother of all straw man arguments.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:02 AM
sailor sailor is offline
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Good thing I didn't say anything about 'taking and holding Russia', and in fact was very careful to make my comments very specific to evaluating the technical merits of each side's combat capability.

Of course the United States couldn't 'take and hold' Russia. No one with an ounce of knowledge on the subject would think so. No one believes the U.S. should even remotely consider it. This might be the mother of all straw man arguments.
I didn't say that you said it either, did I?

But you did say "They'd put up a slightly better fight than the Iraqis did, and that's about it" which, for those with less than an ounce of knowledge on the subject, could imply it would be possible for the USA to invade and occupy Russia like it did Iraq.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:14 AM
mswas mswas is offline
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America would kick Russia's ass St. Petersburg to Siberia in a conventional war. Russia's military is rusting. They aren't even in the same league. Russia had a rusty command ship float into Venezuela as a show of power, the effect was rather underwhelming as it was the only ship of the kind they had, and all we would have had to do is sink it's support group.

Meanwhile Nimitz Class carriers by themselves like the 5-10th most powerful air forces in the world, the USAF being the top air force in the world. Russia might be number 2. We could hit Russia from all sides and already have air bases surrounding them.

What Russia has that are to its advantage are nuclear weapons and a good intelligence tradition. Those two things make all the difference, but if it were not for them taking out Russia wouldn't be a whole lot more difficult than was taking out Iraq.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:26 AM
mswas mswas is offline
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I didn't say that you said it either, did I?

But you did say "They'd put up a slightly better fight than the Iraqis did, and that's about it" which, for those with less than an ounce of knowledge on the subject, could imply it would be possible for the USA to invade and occupy Russia like it did Iraq.
It would be possible. We could take Russia easily, holding it would be the problem. But you can soundly defeat an enemy and simply withdraw.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:35 AM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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I always hate hypotheticals where you line up each side's army on a giant football field and tell them to fight to the last man, and the side with the last man standing is the winner.

Real-life wars don't work that way. The key war winning element is logistics. And logistical capabilities vary tremendously. Take, say, Iraq. The United States has a monstrous logistical capability, we are able to ship thousands of tons of weapons and supplies halfway around the world. Great, huh? Except logistics also favors the other side. Consider a kid who doesn't need to be transported to Iraq because he was born there, who doesn't need to be fed or housed because his family does that, who doesn't need to be trained because he's going on a suicide mission, who doesn't need a fancy weapon system because his weapon is an old car packed full of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. Which side does logistics favor?

And the whole point of war isn't just to fight and kill the other side, it's to get what you said you wanted when you started the war. If after all the fighting and explosions are over and you didn't get what you wanted, you lost the war. It doesn't matter that you won every battle or killed thousands of the enemy. And even if you get what you wanted, what price did you pay? Was it worth it? And then we have the lovely situation where you've paid a price far beyond the worth of your war aims, yet you can't quit now because if you quit you pay the price but don't even accomplish your war aims.
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  #36  
Old 04-06-2009, 10:54 AM
XT XT is offline
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Originally Posted by RickJay
The cockroaches would do very well.
Actually, according to the Mythbusters cockroaches wouldn't do all that well...except in comparison to humans. IIRC the winner was some kind of flour weevil or something like that.

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In the past 200 years Russia was invaded twice by the armies of two of the most imperialistic leaders in modern times: Napoleon and Hitler. Despite stupendous casualties and damage, Russia came out on top each time. Could America have done the same?
When? 200 years ago or today? You will note that in that time while Russia was invaded twice American hasn't been invaded at all...the only serious war in the CONUS was against ourselves.

The long answer though is that logically no one COULD invade the US...except Canada and Mexico, and I'm rather doubtful either of them would be too keen. No one else has the logistics to push through an invasion of the US however...and that's pretty much been the case all along. Even when we were a small nation on the Eastern sea board it would have been nearly impossible to bring enough troops and supplies to subdue the US in any meaningful way...heck, that's one of the main reasons there IS an America these days.

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How about America's recent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq? If Russia invaded these two countries after a terrorist attack on their soil, would the results have been dramatically different?
Well...you realize that after a terrorist attack that the old USSR DID in fact invade Afghanistan...and after years of bloody fighting the Soviets were forced to tuck tail and pull out. Right?

And this was in the old Soviet days. If you mean NOW...well, look at the Chechnya conflict. And that's within the old Soviet empire bounds. Russia doesn't have the ability to invade ANY outside power these days...let alone invade both Afghanistan and Iraq pretty much simultaneously. NO country has that kind of capability these days...hell, including us. We are strapped to the max trying to support both efforts and it's seriously drawn down our combat power (not to mention how much it's cost us). But Russia? Not a friggin chance they could mount even one of those operations today. They couldn't even make it work when they HAD the capabilities (and the funds).

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According to this graph, Russia has had a larger nuclear weapons stockpile than the United States for over 30 years:
And how much of it actually works? One thing people don't seem to understand is you don't just build the things and then put em in the ground, ready to fly forever. They have to be maintained and constantly tested. From the fall of the Soviet Union those weapons have mostly been sitting in holes rusting (and this assumes they were actually maintained well BEFORE the fall of the Soviet Union...). They simply haven't had the funding to properly maintain and test what they have...so, gods alone know how many (if any) of the things still would fire, let alone explode if they managed to find their way to their targets.

So, yeah...on paper they have more than we do. I seriously doubt that even the most rabid cold warrior is sweating this these days however.

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Would America beat Russia in a nuclear war if neither country showed any mercy whatsoever? What do you think?
I think that a nuclear war between Russia and the US is unlikely in the extreme these days. If the US went to war with Russia it would be conventional...and most likely it would involve long range strikes directed at their infrastructure. IF the US went to war with Russia we'd bet the holey crap out of them without landing a single troop.

There would be no reason to go nuclear since I seriously doubt that Russia would use it's own nuclear weapons first (certainly the US wouldn't...we wouldn't have too) since doing so would essentially destroy their country and they would be unsure how many, if any, of their own nukes would even leave the launch tubes, let alone explode if they reached their targets. And that leave aside the conventional strikes the US would probably do on their CnC and their fixed nuclear targets (their ballistic subs are of course pretty much out of the picture, and I have no idea if their mobile rocket force even exists anymore in any meaningful way).

-XT
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:55 AM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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What Russia has that are to its advantage are nuclear weapons and a good intelligence tradition. Those two things make all the difference, but if it were not for them taking out Russia wouldn't be a whole lot more difficult than was taking out Iraq.
But the logistics of an invasion of Russia are completely different. Iraq is a small country. You can drive your armor from Kuwait to Baghdad with minimal resupply. Try driving your Abrams from Minsk to Moscow with one tank of gas and one load of ammunition. The scale of Russia is completely different. Russia invented the concept of strategic depth.

And it neglects to factor in the morale of the defending forces. Iraq's army was defeated in the second Gulf War before we fired a shot, and the Iraqi soldiers knew it. Which is why they largely surrendered, or took off their uniforms and went home, or refused to fight even when attacking individual American units might have succeeded. The drive to Baghdad was easy because we didn't have to fight for Baghdad. The Iraqi soldiers knew that fighting American troops was suicide, and if they just waited things out they'd be able to go home safe and sound in a few weeks. Note, this is another reason why not having a reputation for torturing and abusing enemy prisoners is a valuable war-winning advantage.

Would Russian soldiers act the same way? Maybe, but I highly doubt it. Russian soldiers would know that Russia itself was capable of swallowing up invading armies. They wouldn't have had a recent demonstration that Russian troops were incapable of standing up to American troops. And while morale among Russian soldiers is probably at an all time low right now, a foreign invasion is one hell of a motivator--unless you're convinced you've already lost. Russia has one heck of a nationalist tradition, especially compared to a state like Iraq. Iraqi insurgents aren't really fighting for Iraq, they're fighting for other reasons. Russian soldiers would be fighting for Russia.

I'll grant that if we had already absolutely stomped Russia's army once, 15 years before the planned invasion, things might be a bit different.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:05 AM
mswas mswas is offline
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Lemur866 But why even invade? Just bomb bejeezus out of those forces. That we could do with relative impunity. As people have pointed out Russia's internal logistics are pretty sparse, which is the reason we as another country with 'strategic depth' built things like the interstate system and the internet, so that our logistical capacity was simply so backed up and redundant that it would take an incredibly amount of force to break it. That is not so with Russia.

But then again, you're right, we need to declare terms. The situation I am thinking of is that we just make an attempt to break Russia's ability to project force for a generation. While Russia is broken Chinese migration in the East is rampant and their educated workers will leave for jobs in the West and the East causing a massive brain drain. The remaining citizens will become a parochial anachronism, hardly anything capable of ever reforming the greatness of Russian ethnic nationalism ever again.

Meanwhile after a few years of armistice and sanctions we offer them a Marshall Plan that brings them in line with the Western program. German conglomerates with Russian executives would extract their resources and ship them to Europe in the West, while the Chinese carved them up in the East.

Russia wouldn't even need to be invaded to be beaten.
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  #39  
Old 04-06-2009, 11:23 AM
XT XT is offline
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Originally Posted by Lemur866
I'll grant that if we had already absolutely stomped Russia's army once, 15 years before the planned invasion, things might be a bit different.
We'd be foolish to invade (though I think we COULD do so...if we weren't committed in Iraq and Afghanistan and if there was actually public support for such a wild thing). There would be no reason, unless the entire Russian Federation collapsed and we 'invaded' as part of some effort to keep everything from flying apart.

We'd pretty much have complete air superiority (on a large scale...no doubt the Russian's could achieve local superiority in some places) and could pretty much strike them with impunity....both from the air and from the seas. We'd target their Command and Control, their data infrastructure, their logistics infrastructure, etc etc. The Russian's are VERY vulnerable to this kind of attack, and there would be little or nothing they could do about it. We'd also hit any exposed troop and armor concentrations and probably take out most of their fleet (even though it's generally just sitting at anchor and rusting quietly away). Even if they managed to sortie out some of their subs it would be lambs to the slaughter...they simply don't have the equipment or training budgets to have anything up to anything like combat readiness. Same goes for their air defenses and ground forces.

Sure, SOME of their formations are in reasonable shape...but overall? They would be slaughtered. The thing is though that they know all of this...which is one of the reasons the OP's scenario is so unlikely. Russia wouldn't go to war with the US...and the US is unlikely in the extreme to unilaterally go to war with Russia.

To answer the OP...if we are talking about today, then the US is clearly more powerful than Russia by any metric you care to name. The US is more powerful than ANY other single country for that matter...hell, we are more powerful (from a strictly military perspective) than most of the rest of the world combined...and economically, even considering our current state, we are still either the most powerful economy or one of the top 2 or 3 (as a nod to the answer being both complex and debatable).

-XT
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  #40  
Old 04-06-2009, 06:37 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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Those are American sized countries and only in America do we not find a the huge gaps. Sure the Rockies and the Plains (the Dakotas, Nebraska etc) aren't huge but they as vastly empty as the Outback(Australia), the Amazon(Brazil), Hudson Bay(Canada), Siberia (Russia) or Sinkiang/Tibet (China)
Well, some Canadians tried to settle in Hudson's Bay, but they kept complaining about flooded basements.
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  #41  
Old 04-06-2009, 07:26 PM
RedFury RedFury is offline
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America would defeat God given the proper intelligence on location.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:38 PM
MaineRussian MaineRussian is offline
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Russian soldiers are poorly paid and poorly trained.
Hmmmmm....heard that before. Didn't Hitler think that? Napoleon?
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:48 PM
XT XT is offline
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Originally Posted by MaineRussian
Hmmmmm....heard that before. Didn't Hitler think that? Napoleon?
Yup...but this time it's actually true. Russia has fallen on extremely hard times, especially wrt their military budget. When Hitler invaded Russia they had a LOT of poorly lead and trained troops...and a shit pot full of some of the finest armor in the world just laying about. And they had a lot of resources.

Today, Russia has a lot of resources still...and a lot of troops. Unfortunately they have a shit pot full of crappy and poorly maintained and services armor, a lot of air craft in really shitty shape, and a Navy that is basically rotting at the docks.

Also, the nature of war has changed...see the first Gulf War or the initial stages of our current fuckup in Iraq and Afghanistan (the assault phases, not the dragging occupation parts). I have no doubt that the Russian soldier can and would fight as bravely and be ready to take insane losses like they did during the Napoleonic invasion or the Great Patriotic War...the problem is that unless America REALLY fucked up and actually invaded there wouldn't really be much for that Russian soldier to be brave in the face of except repeated air and Tomahawk strikes.

Not that I think any of this is likely (to say the least)...simply put the US and Russia will almost certainly never go to war. Russia will bluster and America will do the same...but there would be no point in the two powers ever going to war because Russia would lose and America would gain nothing by that loss...in fact, in political and economic terms we'd lose too.

Now...Russia and China...THAT is a possibility I suppose. Or a disintegrating Russia fighting an extended civil war. Yeah, I could see that. Or Russia and the EU going at it hammer an tongs....nah, wouldn't happen. Be fun to speculate though on how well our Euro buddies would do against the Big Red Menace (except for the Big, Red and Menace parts these days of course)...

-XT
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:03 AM
Declan Declan is offline
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Originally Posted by RedFury View Post
America would defeat God given the proper intelligence on location.
I am so stealing that for a sig.

Declan
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  #45  
Old 04-07-2009, 01:13 AM
Declan Declan is offline
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But the logistics of an invasion of Russia are completely different. Iraq is a small country. You can drive your armor from Kuwait to Baghdad with minimal resupply. Try driving your Abrams from Minsk to Moscow with one tank of gas and one load of ammunition. The scale of Russia is completely different. Russia invented the concept of strategic depth.
The American Army invented Logisitics as a combat arm, before one army tank leaves the staging line, enough gas and ammo to fight clear to vladivostok will be available.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Would Russian soldiers act the same way? Maybe, but I highly doubt it. Russian soldiers would know that Russia itself was capable of swallowing up invading armies. They wouldn't have had a recent demonstration that Russian troops were incapable of standing up to American troops. And while morale among Russian soldiers is probably at an all time low right now, a foreign invasion is one hell of a motivator--unless you're convinced you've already lost. Russia has one heck of a nationalist tradition, especially compared to a state like Iraq. Iraqi insurgents aren't really fighting for Iraq, they're fighting for other reasons. Russian soldiers would be fighting for Russia.
If the Russians and what ever allies they had were fighting the chinese hordes, I would expect no less of them than the seelow heights campaign, taking 15 to 1 casualties before giving up territory.

On the other hand , I expect that given 50 years of previous history it would be hard to motivate Russian troops to die in place , against an american formation. Seriously they would do their duty, but having qualms about surrendering, nope.

Declan
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:36 AM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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Hmmmmm....heard that before. Didn't Hitler think that? Napoleon?
And didn't they win through some variation of Operation Human Shield?
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:15 AM
Quintas Quintas is offline
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The notion that the USA can take and hold Russia is ridiculous. Of course the American army can beat the Russian Army in a military battle. And then what? America does not have enough boots to put on the ground in Iraq and it would not have even a fraction of what was needed to hold Russia.
since this thread is discussing that which will never happen...

In this alternate Universe we're discussing, we can assume full mobilisation of military age men. We weren't 'running out of men' in Iraq. We were running out of men in a volunteer army. The cia world factbook lists under "manpower available for military service"- males age 16-49: 72,715,332

These discussions are always pointless until you define what the invading army's objectives are. If in this scenario, there are no Nukes and we had a draft and massive public support, and our objective was nothing more than a blatant land grab a la the Nazis and we were willing to be utterly ruthless towards partisans, then yeah, we could probably do it.

Last edited by Quintas; 04-07-2009 at 02:18 AM..
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:51 AM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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On the other hand , I expect that given 50 years of previous history it would be hard to motivate Russian troops to die in place , against an American formation. Seriously they would do their duty, but having qualms about surrendering, nope.

Declan
Stalin had the same problem. He solved it by sending the families of surrendering soldiers to the gulags.

I wouldn't put it past Putin to do something similar, given extreme enough circumstances.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:58 AM
sailor sailor is offline
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Originally Posted by Quintas View Post
since this thread is discussing that which will never happen...

In this alternate Universe we're discussing, we can assume full mobilisation of military age men. We weren't 'running out of men' in Iraq. We were running out of men in a volunteer army. The cia world factbook lists under "manpower available for military service"- males age 16-49: 72,715,332

These discussions are always pointless until you define what the invading army's objectives are. If in this scenario, there are no Nukes and we had a draft and massive public support, and our objective was nothing more than a blatant land grab a la the Nazis and we were willing to be utterly ruthless towards partisans, then yeah, we could probably do it.
Running out of men in a volunteer army and there was no other army to be had because America would most certainly not support military conscription. So, in fact, America did not have enough boots on the ground.

But yes, these questions are always silly. It is like asking if Bill gates is more powerful than Joe Blow who owns a small hardware store in Arkansas and that's all he has besides a mortgage. Well, in abstract of course Bill gates is more powerful but you can always conceive a situation where Joe would come out on top. If Bill Gates wanted Joe's hardware store Joe can always refuse to sell at no matter what price and he can successfully keep his store even if it means Spending all he has on lawyers. But this is not a realistic scenario. Why would Bill Gates want the hardware store?

The same happens with the question asked in the OP. Of course the USA is more powerful than Russia. Much more powerful. It is silly to even ask the question.

The rest is just making up impossible scenarios for no purpose. Yes, the USA could go to Russia cause a lot of death and destruction and then leave. But that makes no sense. Why would America do this? It would be in opposition to the rest of the world and even the American people would be against it thus making it impossible.

Last edited by sailor; 04-07-2009 at 03:58 AM..
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:50 AM
Sandwich Sandwich is offline
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england hasn't been invaded since 1066. By your logic, that makes it much more powerful than russia.
1745? 1688?
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