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Jacob L. Shapiro, Geopolitical Futures: A Tale of Two Economies: Russia and the US
Regionalization can reveal much about countries’ economic structure and relative power.
Power is a relative concept. To say that one state is powerful means nothing. Power only derives meaning if it is evaluated in comparison. Two of the states whose powers we constantly re-evaluate are Russia and the United States. Much of our analysis is driven by just how weak we believe the Russian Federation is. When we look at its moves in Syria or Eastern Europe, we keep in mind Russia’s relative strengths and weaknesses compared to its neighbors and the United States. There are many different ways to evaluate this discrepancy, but comparing the regional economies of the U.S. and Russia is particularly striking.
The first element of this analysis must be to recognize how much larger the U.S. economy is than the Russian economy. Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of area – almost 11 percent of the world’s landmass is sovereign Russian territory – but Russia’s economy pales in comparison to the U.S.’ According to 2016 first-quarter figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. GDP is around $18.1 trillion. Russia’s economy is roughly a tenth the size of the U.S.’ (the World Bank stated that Russia’s GDP in 2015 was $1.3 trillion.) According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, U.S. military expenditures in 2015 were 3.3 percent of GDP, and Russia’s were 5 percent of its GDP. That still puts Russia among the top five military spenders in the world, but in absolute terms it means Russia’s military expenditures add up to roughly 10 percent of U.S. military spending.
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WNU Editor: I always laugh when the Russian bogeyman raises its head in the West. When it comes down to real power .... and I mean real raw economic power and the political power it gives .... Russia is puny when compared to the West and the U.S..