No country on this planet comes even close to the United States in terms of military strength. In its latest report on globalization, Credit Suisse said Russia was the second most powerful country. However, there is a huge gap between America’s final military strength score of 0.94 and Russia’s 0.80. Third came China with a score of 0.79.
Japan steps up defense preparedness
Surprisingly, Japan jumped from the 9th spot last year to 4th place in this year’s report with 0.72 points. Japan has strengthened its military and hiked its defense spending to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the region. Japan and China are locked in a bitter dispute over Senkaku islands. India was ranked fifth with a total score of 0.69. France, South Korea, Italy, the UK, and Turkey rounded up in the top ten.
Credit Suisse says the United States is far superior to its close rivals in conventional war capabilities. It boasts of 13,900 fighter jets, 920 attack helicopters, 72 submarines and 20 aircraft carriers. Its defense spending of $610 billion in 2014 far outweighs that of any of its closest rivals. In fact, America’s defense spending is even higher than the combined defense budget of the next nine countries on the list.
Conventional capabilities not only indicator of military strength
In the era of nuclear weapons, conventional capabilities are not the only indicator of a country’s military strength. Russia and the U.S. together have 90% of the world’s total nuclear stockpile, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI). Credit Suisse’s analysis only took into account a country’s conventional military capabilities such as active military personnel, aircraft, tanks, attack helicopters, submarines, and aircraft carriers.
Though Russia still largely relies on Soviet-era military hardware, it is aggressively modernizing its military under President Vladimir Putin. Moscow is planning to spend as much as $400 billion to modernize the country’s military hardware. It has developed the deadly Armata tanks, fifth-generation fighter jet Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA, and a microwave gun.