For more than ten years, Russia has been one of the three world leaders in terms of military spending. The United States has always been the largest defense spender in the world with China following second. In 2017, however, Russia started losing its positions and dropped to the fourth place and then to the seventh, in 2019.
Russia has been cutting its military spending during the recent years indeed. This year, it makes up $46 billion, while in 2018, the number was $61 billion. On the contrary, the defense budget of the United States has been increasing steadily.
The US military budget in 2018 made up $649 billion. This year, the Americans raised it to as much as $716 billion. A brief look at the statistics of other countries shows that all other countries increase their military budgets. Has Russia decided to stay away from "meaningless" expenses?
Compared with other countries, Russia has achieved a significant technological breakthrough in the defense industry. The progress includes superiority in missile defense systems and the development of new types of nuclear-capable weapons. Russia is the only country in the world that has hypersonic missiles in the army. The Russian Federation has also left many behind in the development of means of electronic warfare. Therefore, there is no need to spend hundreds of millions on army bases in foreign countries.
The United States follows an obsolete path. During the colonial era, the proliferation of army bases used to be fruitful. These days, however, they can intimidate third world countries and bring huge financial losses.
Russia immediately finds a counteraction to any action that the USA takes. For example, the US has eleven aircraft carriers. Their maintenance, let alone the construction, is a little outside the budget for many countries of the world, to say the least. The construction of one aircraft carrier costs about ten billion dollars.
Aircraft carriers used to play an important role during WWII. Without them, Japan would never have been able to attack Pearl Harbor (the distance is 6000 km, while the range of a fighter jet is 1800 km). At the end of the 20th century, aircraft carriers were considered the masters of the seas. Today, however, they resemble the fate of Hitler's largest battleship, the Bismarck, which turned into "prey," although it used to be a "predator."
Russia has a variety of options to neutralize US aircraft carriers. Fourth-generation low-noise Yasen submarines are capable of carrying 40 hypersonic Zircon missiles. No American defense system can stand against this missile that flies 2.6 kilometres every second. Any carrier-based strike group is defenseless against Russian Zircon missiles. This is just one method to neutralize the American fleet.
Deterrence and victory in a military confrontation does not require a large number of army bases, aircraft carriers, an astronomical military budget and so on and so forth. It is enough to find asymmetric methods that would be more efficient.
As many as 17 foreign countries owe Russia a total of $27 billion with Belarus, Ukraine and Venezuela being the largest debtors