It has been a long time since we had a bipolar world that lasted from the end of World War II to the end of the Soviet Union in 1990. The Cold War era is the one period in time when we had two superpowers flexing their muscles and vying for supremacy on the global stage.
- American Military Strength
- Russian Military Strength
- American Soft Power
- Russian Soft Power
- American Economics
- Russian Economics
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has been the undisputed single superpower in the world with Russia reduced to a shell of what it once was.
However, it has been 28 years since the fall of the Soviet Union and much has changed since then that questions of who is more powerful Russia or USA are becoming more common?
But while the question always evokes images of military strength, power is not always about the military.
In this article, we will analyze other aspects of power that include economics, soft power, and the military strength of the two protagonists.
When it comes to military power, the United States has the best military in the world that in some quarters has been deemed to be better than that of Western Europe combined.
The United States has the biggest military budget, which means they have the best military equipment that is constantly being updated to keep ahead of the completion.
The US also has bases in practically every continent which means it can project its power anywhere on the globe at a moment’s notice.
The US has also been involved in numerous conflicts around the world from Syria, to Libya, and Iraq and so its troops have a lot of experience.
While Russia ranks high on military strength, its military is not as powerful as it has not been involved in conflicts outside of its borders for years except for the conflict with Georgia and its intervention in Syria and as such, its troops are out of practice.
While Russia does have a huge arsenal, much of it is from the Soviet era and is either woefully out of date or would take years to refurbish.
When it comes to projecting power, Russia is also limited as it has fewer ocean-going resources such as aircraft carriers and submarines and the ones it has are old and out of date for the most part.
It also has few bases in other countries save for a few in Europe and the Middle East.
No country in the world can project as much soft power as the United States. The United States takes center stage in so many international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Food Program and the World Bank which makes it easy for the US to influence policy.
Another aspect to consider when it comes to soft power is culture and in this, the USA is the undisputed leader.
Hollywood has exported American culture and values to all corners of the globe that it can be said world culture is American culture.
The United State also does influence the politics and culture of most European countries, a lot of countries in Africa and Latin America, and countries as far afield as Japan.
Russia is slowly re-merging as a serious contender in the projection of soft power though it still has a long way to go to catch up with the United States.
While Russia could once upon a time boast of having influence virtually across the world through exporting Marxist ideals, those days are long gone.
Nonetheless, Russia is gaining back some of its powers as can be evidenced in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East.
Russia has managed to realign herself to some of her previous allies such as Turkey, Syria, Iran, and increasingly even China.
The US is the world’s leading economic power and is not likely to be edged out any time soon.
The United States has most of the big companies that export their products and services to much of the world.
With the highest GDP in the world, the reserve currency of the world, and control of the major financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank, the US is the economic hub of the world.
With huge reserves of cash to invest in research and development, the US has been growing year over year and is likely to continue growing for the foreseeable future.
While the US is a rich country, Russia prides itself as one of those countries with some of the largest reserves of natural resources such as coal, gas, rare metals, among many other in-demand resources.
Russia does provide much of the gas that Western Europe needs and hence it has a very resilient economy based on the sale of its natural resources.
Nonetheless, Russia is held back by endemic corruption, a stagnant economy that is too dependent on resource prices and a lot of internal structural problems.
Russia has also been hit by a number of sanctions in recent times which have taken the bite out of its economy.
When all is said and done, the United States is more powerful than Russia. While Russia has been experiencing a resurgence in power and influence particularly in the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, it still has a long way to go before it can challenge the hegemony of the United States.
Nonetheless, do not count out Russia, which has recently been upgrading its military and flexing its muscles in places we never thought it could dare.
While the USA can project its military across the globe, it has in recent times seemed unwilling to project that power particularly in the case of Syria or the annexation of Crimea.
The crux of it is that the United States is indisputably more powerful than Russia, though Russia is actively challenging that assertion with each passing day.