While isolated conflicts around the world never cease, it has been decades since traditional superpowers faced off against each other militarily. With rising tension in North Korea reaching a boiling point, the relative peace may be tested. How does the United States military stack up against the rest of the major global powerhouses?
Surprisingly well. Despite years of involvement on the diverse fronts of the fight against terrorists, the United States is still the single biggest, strongest, and most well equipped fighting force on the planet.
Globalfirepower.com has taken on the monumental task of comparing the uniformed military might of every nation. Their findings are based on a wide variety of factors. They examine everything tangible. How many ships, tanks, missiles, etc. does a country have in its arsenal? How many active duty military are ready to fight? What do their reserves look like? How able is the population to support the military effort, should they be called upon to do so (as they always are in large wars)?
It is no surprise that the United States tops the list. Where other countries fall may be more surprising. The Daily Mail has broken out a nice visual of the list.
The US’s military spending, if Trump gets his budgetary wishes, is set to increase. Even after the Obama era cuts, and with our faltering infrastructure, we are still sitting on top.
And compare the current us defense budget, $587,800,000,000, to that Russia. $44,600,000,000. That’s a huge difference. And Russia only has one carrier. China is trying hard to beef up its naval capabilities, but it has a long way to go.
India is number 4, which isn’t surprising when you take in their population size.
As of now, these four are all US allies. Turkey is always a bit of a gamble, but the country relies on US assistance. Japan has a vested interest in the security of the Pacific region, as they’re within a stone’s throw of the Koreas.
Again, three strong allies in this next batch. Egypt is the wild card. So much of the Middle East, and Africa, too, remains fragile.
Israel is completely dependent on its allies for its continued existence. Yet the nation looks strong, especially considering its incredibly small size.
Iran is a troubling outlier on this list. It is believed that Iran is supplying North Korea with weapons. If war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, Iran might very well open another front in the Middle East. If these numbers, though, are correct, open fighting would be over quickly.
And then, at 23, North Korea gets a token nod as a global powerhouse.
One of the factors that can’t be easily measured are alliances. While formal treaties that bind groups like NATO must still be taken into account, it remains to be seen where the informal ties might actually create meaningful relationships. Consider the way China propped up the Vietcong in the 1970s.
Will Russia step up and back North Korea? Will China? Their combined populations are staggering.
The last factor, one that is nearly impossible to quantify, is the will to fit. While the Americans who elected Donald Trump as President almost uniformly support his increases in military spending, few are eager to see another global conflagration. And it is safe to say that those Americans who don’t support Trump remain steadfastly against war with North Korea, or anyone.