The United States has sent the equivalent of 3.5% of it’s defense budget to Ukraine.
So what did we get for our money? We got to support a democracy against an invading imperialist country. That’s worthwhile all in itself. Even better, the Ukrainians are breaking the Bear. They are winning.
We used to think of Russia as a near peer power. Now we know they are a near to near peer power. They aren’t a strong second, they might not even be the world’s third most powerful military. Actually, Japan is probably stronger right now.
The best thing Russia can do is to get out of Ukraine and make peace as soon as possible. Then Russia has to figure out how to get its young people to come back. It’s demographics were already pretty bad with a small youth population. It’s pretty hard to run an economy without working age people.
Russia had one strength: oil and gas exports. It’s quickly losing those markets and they won’t return. Europe lucked out with a mild fall. They were able to top off their natural gas storage and line up alternatives. With that sorted out world natural gas prices are coming down. Russia also lost foreign investment and technological know how. Western companies are gone and won’t be coming back in the near future. Russia’s major export, fossil fuels, are in trouble.
Another big export for Russia was arms. Orders for their weapons are being canceled right and left. Who wants to invest in weapons that are being beaten by the west’s second string systems? Imagine if NATO air power had come onto the battle field? Ukraine is beating Russia with hardly any air power of its own.
So . . . 3.5% of the US defense budget. No US troops in combat. The end of the Russian empire.
One more head’s up. Russia better watch out for China. You may have noticed that China has been pretty distant from their “good friend” Russia. Wonder why? Don’t be surprised if China decides to carve off a chunk of Russia. China’s domestic issues are bad right now. Their economy is in trouble and people are restless. A war might be just the distraction needed.
In the past China may have been tempted to attack Taiwan. The Ukrainian example demonstrates that might not be such a good idea. Much of China’s weapon systems are knock off copies of Russian equipment. Taiwan’s stuff is western. There’s also little issue of US support for Taiwan. Of course, the fact you just can’t drive tanks across the water is another big problem. None of these problems are an issue if China decides to go against Russia. They’ll probably wait until Russia is even weaker than it is now.