Russia is not as strong as the United States, except for nuclear weapons.
Russia is not the main threat to the United States—that threat is China.
Back in 1985, during his visit to Paris, Mikhail Gorbachev told French President Francois Mitterrand that the Soviet Union was not strong. In fact, said Gorbachev to his French counterpart, Russia was a banana republic with nuclear weapons.
No doubt this came as something of a surprise to Mitterand. The French had just kicked out more than 100 Soviet spies, mostly for technology espionage. On top of that, France had enlisted the help of a secret agent in Moscow, Vladimir Vetrov (known in security circles as Farewell), who turned over reams of information on the Soviet shopping list for Western, especially American, technology. If Russia needed America’s technology, the clear conclusion was that Russia’s military buildup was vulnerable because the Soviet Union had a weak, low-tech industrial base.
The American response, already underway, was to tighten the screws even more on Soviet industrial espionage. That allowed the United States to exploit its qualitative edge, essentially a force multiplier, against the mass of armor and guns Russia had assembled.
The only sector where Soviet industry was successful, largely because sufficient investment was made, was rocketry, and especially long-range ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. In this space, the Russians excelled, and they still are excellent nearly 40 years later.
It is quite telling that Russia, even today, faces severe technology shortcomings in its military.
Read the full article at The Epoch Times.
Stephen Bryen is a Senior Fellow at the Yorktown Institute.