There are an endless number of people worldwide who HATE Empire. Most of them believe that the beast is in decline and that in its death throws it has miscalculated by antagonizing and pushing together both Russia and China in the Obamanation’s declaration Cold War 2.
To the degree that there is any possibility of a war against powers as great as Russia or China, it will almost completely be defined by Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). How many troops countries can put on the ground, or how much conventional weaponry they have that cannot deliver WMDs, will be immaterial.
Troop strength and conventional weaponry including air crafts are useful only in the limited conflicts that we have seen since World War 2. I call these conflicts limited, because even when a nuclear power, fought against a developing nation, (IE: the US in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan) they refrained from using their WMD, (for political reasons) which surely would have won their war.
Back in the days of Cold War 1, WMD was defined completely by deliverable nuclear weapons. It was symmetrical. Count up each sides nukes and you knew, more or less what the balance was.
Today nuclear weapons are yesterday’s technology. The three main players have them in all sizes and shapes. And they have anti missile systems to protect against the nukes of rivals. But like television sets, (also an old technology), the missile and anti missile systems and nuclear warheads of today, are being computerized to make them “smart” bombs and delivery systems as opposed to the old dumb bombs.
Because everyone’s computer advances may not be equal, this makes it hard to know who in the nuclear game has the upper hand. One smart system, (like any new technology) may be more powerful than a thousand of someone else’s not so smart systems.
And then there are all sorts of other WMD today from the Nano, (both organic and inorganic) varieties up to space wars. including one of Empire’s favs Environmental weaponry. This is besides social technologies that can be used to create “controlled” chaos, such as attacks on Information Technology systems and Currency Wars. Empire likes environmental WMD the best, because it can make a massive attack on a nation and it will only look from the outside like an accident of nature.
For example Empire has developed viruses, with high fatality rates that only attack people of a particular genetic strain. So if one was dropped on say Han Chinese, how would anyone be able to “prove” that Empire did it or nature?
Knowledge of conventional weaponry, including its most advanced varieties is typically released to the public through trade journals like “Jane’s Defense Weakly”. That even includes satellites that can be used for space war purposes, as these cannot be readily hidden anyway.
Aside from nuclear treaties written in the days of the dinosaurs. that demand simple transparency of the counting of nuclear warheads and “rules”, (long since ignored) about anti missile systems, no one, repeat NO ONE advertises what they have or don’t have in the way of state of the art WMD.
The only ones who would know that would be deep insiders, (relative to what their own country has) and intelligence services as to what a possible enemy has.
Outsiders can have no direct knowledge of the true balance of power at the level of WMD, between say the US, Russia and China. Based however, on how these countries behave relative to Cold War 2, we can get some idea.
I have been blessed, (traumatized) in the past to have had some deep state knowledge of what the Americans have. It was then, and is certainly much more today the stuff of science fiction. Of course I have no knowledge of what Russia or China have.
The rest is reading the character of leaders. I don’t in any way view Vlad as a pacifist.
Vlad’s short war with Georgia just six years ago in a situation similar, (at least superficially) to the one in the Ukraine proves this. Georgia as with the Ukraine pulled out of its historical linkage with Russia and effectively joined with Empire. Tbilisi wanted to take the Russian speaking people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia with it, just as Kiev wants to take its Southeastern provinces and the Crimea.
In Georgia, Vlad’s response was to bomb Tibilisi. In the Ukraine Vlad did take the Crimea, but backed off on the Southeastern provinces, de facto allowing Kiev to slaughter its peoples and put them into a living hell.
Why? Why was Vlad aggressive in 2008 in defending the smaller group of Russian speaking peoples of Georgia and essentially passive in defending the much larger and more Geo strategically important group in the Ukraine?
If you dear reader have another answer please feel free to express it in the comments section.
The only reason I can think of, is that the Ukraine is much more vital Geo Politically to Empire than Georgia is. And should Vlad move militarily as he did in Georgia, to protect Russian interests in the Ukaine, (besides the Crimea which was of maximum strategic importance) he knows that it will be an engraved invitation for Empire to send NATO, and its bases onto his doorstep.
Remember it was only 15 years ago since the drunk Boris Yeltsin ruled over chaos in a Russia that was really ruled by feuding Oligarchs who functioned as war lords. It was this Russia the Vlad inherited. And after the fall of the Soviet Union 8 years before, Empire raided and pretty much stripped Russia of its top scientists.
No Vlad, nor in fact Xi in China, is ready to face Empire off in any serious conflict that could lead to a WMD escalation. On the ground, using conventional weaponry in an area close to Russia and China, both countries have overwhelming superiority to Empire. But not in WMD.
And that is why both China and Russia, except in the most egregious circumstances are going to back off when it comes to Empire’s aggression towards them.
Both countries need a generation of peace and cooperation between each other to truly catch up. What Cold War 2 is about, is that Empire does not want to give it to them.