The Russian Bear is stronger and more powerful than it has ever been before. Sadly, most Americans don't understand this. They still think of Russia as an "ex-superpower" that was rendered almost irrelevant when the Cold War ended. And yes, when the Cold War ended Russia was in rough shape. I got the chance to go over there in the early nineties, and at the time Russia was an economic disaster zone. Russian currency was so worthless that I joked that I could go exchange a 20 dollar bill and buy the Kremlin. But since that time Russia has roared back to life.
Once Vladimir Putin became president, the Russian economy started to grow very rapidly. Today, Russia is an economic powerhouse that is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. Their debt-to-GDP ratio is extremely small, they actually run a trade surplus every year, and they have the second most powerful military on the entire planet. Anyone that underestimates Russia at this point is making a huge mistake. The Russian Bear is back, and today it is a more formidable adversary than it ever was at any point during the Cold War.
Just check out the following statistics. The following are 18 signs that Russia is rapidly catching up to the United States...
#1 Russia produces more oil than anyone else on the planet. The United States is in third place.
#2 Russia is the number two oil exporter in the world. The United States is forced to import more oil than anyone else in the world.
#3 Russia produces more natural gas than anyone else on the planet. The United States is in second place.
#4 Today, Russia supplies 34 percent of Europe's natural gas needs.
#5 The United States has a debt-to GDP-ratio of 101 percent. Russia has a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 8 percent.
#6 The United States had a trade deficit of more than half a trillion dollars last year. Russia consistently runs a large trade surplus.
#7 The United States has an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent. Russia has an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent.
#8 Since Vladimir Putin first became president of Russia, the Russian economy has grown at a very rapid pace. The following is from Wikipedia...
Under the presidency of Vladimir Putin Russia's economy saw the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) double, climbing from 22nd to 11th largest in the world. The economy made real gains of an average 7% per year (1999: 6.5%, 2000: 10%, 2001: 5.7%, 2002: 4.9%, 2003: 7.3%, 2004: 7.2%, 2005: 6.4%, 2006: 8.2%, 2007: 8.5%, 2008: 5.2%), making it the 6th largest economy in the world in GDP(PPP). In 2007, Russia's GDP exceeded that of 1990, meaning it has overcome the devastating consequences of the recession in the 1990s.
During Putin's eight years in office, the industry grew by 75%, investments increased by 125%, and agricultural production and construction increased as well. Real incomes more than doubled and the average salary increased eightfold from $80 to $640. The volume of consumer credit between 2000–2006 increased 45 times, and during that same time period, the middle class grew from 8 million to 55 million, an increase of 7 times. The number of people living below the poverty line also decreased from 30% in 2000 to 14% in 2008.#9 According to Bloomberg, Russia has added 570 metric tons of gold to their reserves over the past decade. In the United States, nobody seems to be quite sure how much gold the Federal Reserve actually has left.
#10 Moscow is the second most expensive city in the world. Meanwhile, the United States actually has the unfriendliest city in the world (Newark, New Jersey).
#11 More billionaires live in Moscow than in any other city on the globe.
#12 The Moscow metro system completely outclasses the subway systems in Washington D.C. and New York City.
#13 The United States has the most powerful military on the planet, but Russia is in second place.
#14 Russia has introduced a new "near silent" nuclear submarine which is far more quiet than anything the U.S. has...
The Borey Class submarine, dubbed Vladimir Monomakh, has a next generation nuclear reactor, can dive deeper than 1,200 feet, and carries up to 20 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
Each of these "Bulava" ICBM's can carry ten detachable MIRV warheads, what they call "re-entry vehicles," capable of delivering 150 kiloton yields per warhead#15 While Barack Obama is neutering the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal, Vladimir Putin is working hard to modernizeRussian nuclear forces.
#16 Russian missile forces will hold more than 200 drills during the second half of 2013.
#17 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made headlines all over the world when he climbed into the cockpit of Russia’s new "fifth generation" fighter jet and announced that it was far superior to the F-22 Raptor.
#18 It is estimated that Russia has more spies inside the United States today than it did at any point during the Cold War.
Unfortunately, whenever I write an article about Russia I find that most people simply do not get it. They will make statements such as "the Cold War is over" or "Russia is our friend" which show a complete and total lack of understanding of the current geopolitical situation.
Russia has been steadily building a stronger relationship with China, and collectively they represent the number one strategic threat to the United States.
Someday this will become abundantly clear to the American people. Hopefully it will not be too late by the time they realize it.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
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