A Game of Bones

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It is fascinating to observe the great organs of state now posture and parry over a strip of old Russia that Khrushchev flippantly transferred to Ukraine 60 years ago. Fascinating in much the same way that the Entente Cordiale, the Balkan League, and Gavrilo Princip were. That is to say macabrely so in hindsight. Though it is the emerging alignment of these players that will be discussed herein. It seems on the surface to be a simple scrimmage between a desperate former super-power bristling at an enemy alliance pushed to its very border, against the rapacious global hegemon operating via proxy through yet another of its European poodle states. But that exterior belies the currents and tributaries flowing beneath.

Though on that surface, Russia’s plight appears grim. The recent UN Security Council vote saw none rally to its cause. If the vote is properly viewed as a roll-call of loyalty, or more accurately obedience, Putin’s list of allies was as brief as a Siberian pool party. Here are the 15 current members and their respective pledge of fealty:

France: US
UK: US
US
Argentina:US
Australia: US
Chad: US
Chile: US
Jordan: US
Lithuania: US
Luxembourg: US
Nigeria: US
South Korea: US
Rwanda: US
China: abstain
Russia

His ambassador’s lonely hand must have looked to Putin like the room of men asked who will volunteer to inform Stalin of Barbarossa. But the Chinese abstention masks interests that seem unmistakable. For if Russia becomes isolated, and subsequently enervated, how soon will American Bagatelles begin bristling on the Chinese border? With no Russian flank and a remilitarized Japan allied with the American Seventh Fleet, Peking’s obvious desire to establish a sino sphere of influence evaporates. The Sendaku (or is it sudoku?) Islands along with Taiwan reunification will be left to the dreamers. China will need its own allies as Russia does now. It’s a notion that I’m certain has escaped few sedge hats.

Further, the UN votes represent only the intrigues of states and not nations. One wonders how dramatically the tallies would swing if it were otherwise–it’s entirely possible America would have lost its own vote. Though the American state is not alone in its loathing of any precedent that their own subjects may be tempted to reprise. Voting to relieve themselves of a hostile state apparatus could be contagious. And that’s the kind of infirmity our governments exist to eradicate.

But China wasn’t alone in its tacit support of Russia. India made it official. And like China, that country comes bearing nuclear ordnance. Then of course Iran, the eternal bête noir of America’s eminence grise (I’ll let you guess who) supports its Russian patron.

To further reconnoiter the field, we found three interesting examples of states not taking a rooting position: Brazil, Pakistan, and Israel. It appears the Samson Option warheads have options indeed.

So it is Russia, China, India, and Iran.
V
US, Europe, and Japan (and not incidentally Turkey and South Korea)

Core v periphery, land v sea, ancient parvenus v sclerotic alphas, start-up v GloboCorp, Putinstan v Diversiland.

So to profile the primary pugilists: First The America Group

United States
The Economy
$16 trillion GDP. Rank #1

How many divisions has he got?
MANPOWER
Total Population: 316,668,567 [2013]
Available Manpower: 145,212,012 [2013]
Fit for Service: 120,022,084 [2013]
Reaching Military Age Annually: 4,217,412 [2013]
Active Frontline Personnel: 1,430,000 [2013]
Active Reserve Personnel: 850,880 [2013]

LAND SYSTEMS
Tank value includes MBT, light tanks and tank destroyer systems, wheeled or tracked.
Tanks: 8,325 [2013]
Armored Fighting Vehicles: 25,782 [2013]
Self-Propelled Guns: 1,934 [2013]
Towed Artillery Pieces: 1,791 [2013]
Rocket Projectors (MLRS): 1,330 [2013]

AIR POWER
Includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from all branches of service. All aircraft types accounted for including UAVs, transports, gunships, recon, naval, trainers, etc…
Total Aircraft: 13,683 [2014]
Helicopters: 6,012 [2014]

NAVAL POWER
Aircraft Carrier value does not include helicopter carrier-type vessels.
Total Strength: 473 (includes auxiliaries)
Aircraft Carriers: 10 [2013]
Frigates: 15 [2013]
Destroyers: 62 [2013]
Corvettes: 0 [2013]
Submarines: 72 [2013]
Coastal Craft: 13 [2013]
Mine Warfare: 13 [2013]

RESOURCES (PETROLEUM)
Oil Production: 8,500,000 bbl/day [2013]
Oil Consumption: 19,000,000 bbl/day [2013]
Proven Oil Reserves: 20,680,000,000 bbl/day [2013]

Military rank: #1

Japan
The Economy
$ 6 trillion GDP. Rank #3.

How many divisions has he got?
MANPOWER
Total Population: 127,253,075 [2013]
Available Manpower: 53,608,446 [2013]
Fit for Service: 43,930,753 [2013]
Reaching Military Age Annually: 1,214,618 [2013]
Active Frontline Personnel: 247,746 [2013]
Active Reserve Personnel: 57,900 [2013]

LAND SYSTEMS
Tank value includes MBT, light tanks and tank destroyer systems, wheeled or tracked.
Tanks: 767 [2013]
Armored Fighting Vehicles: 3,057 [2013]
Self-Propelled Guns: 196 [2013]
Towed Artillery Pieces: 492 [2013]
Rocket Projectors (MLRS): 99 [2013]

AIR POWER
Includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from all branches of service. All aircraft types accounted for including UAVs, transports, gunships, recon, naval, trainers, etc…
Total Aircraft: 1,595 [2014]
Helicopters: 671 [2014]

NAVAL POWER
Aircraft Carrier value does not include helicopter carrier-type vessels.
Total Strength: 131 (includes auxiliaries)
Aircraft Carriers: 1 [2013]
Frigates: 0 [2013]
Destroyers: 45 [2013]
Corvettes: 0 [2013]
Submarines: 16 [2013]
Coastal Craft: 6 [2013]
Mine Warfare: 29 [2013]

RESOURCES (PETROLEUM)
Oil Production: 133,000 bbl/day [2013]
Oil Consumption: 4,455,000 bbl/day [2013]
Proven Oil Reserves: 44,120,000 bbl/day [2013]

Military Rank #10

Germany
The Economy
$3 trillion GDP. Rank #4.

How many divisions has he got?
MANPOWER
Total Population: 81,147,265 [2013]
Available Manpower: 36,417,842 [2013]
Fit for Service: 29,538,413 [2013]
Reaching Military Age Annually: 790,368 [2013]
Active Frontline Personnel: 183,000 [2013]
Active Reserve Personnel: 145,000 [2013]

LAND SYSTEMS
Tank value includes MBT, light tanks and tank destroyer systems, wheeled or tracked.
Tanks: 408 [2013]
Armored Fighting Vehicles: 4,279 [2013]
Self-Propelled Guns: 185 [2013]
Towed Artillery Pieces: 0 [2013]
Rocket Projectors (MLRS): 252 [2013]

AIR POWER
Includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from all branches of service. All aircraft types accounted for including UAVs, transports, gunships, recon, naval, trainers, etc…
Total Aircraft: 710 [2014]
Helicopters: 401 [2014]

NAVAL POWER
Aircraft Carrier value does not include helicopter carrier-type vessels.
Total Strength: 82 (includes auxiliaries)
Aircraft Carriers: 0 [2013]
Frigates: 12 [2013]
Destroyers: 0 [2013]
Corvettes: 5 [2013]
Submarines: 4 [2013]
Coastal Craft: 8 [2013]
Mine Warfare: 15 [2013]

RESOURCES (PETROLEUM)
Oil Production: 157,000 bbl/day [2013]
Oil Consumption: 2,500,000 bbl/day [2013]
Proven Oil Reserves: 254,200,000 bbl/day [2013]

Military Rank #7.

France
The Economy
$3 trillion GDP. Ranked #5

How many divisions has he got?
MANPOWER
Total Population: 65,951,611 [2013]
Available Manpower: 28,802,096 [2013]
Fit for Service: 23,747,168 [2013]
Reaching Military Age Annually: 773,889 [2013]
Active Frontline Personnel: 228,656 [2013]
Active Reserve Personnel: 195,770 [2013]

LAND SYSTEMS
Tank value includes MBT, light tanks and tank destroyer systems, wheeled or tracked.
Tanks: 423 [2013]
Armored Fighting Vehicles: 7,290 [2013]
Self-Propelled Guns: 149 [2013]
Towed Artillery Pieces: 750 [2013]
Rocket Projectors (MLRS): 60 [2013]

AIR POWER
Includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from all branches of service. All aircraft types accounted for including UAVs, transports, gunships, recon, naval, trainers, etc…
Total Aircraft: 1,203 [2014]
Helicopters: 561 [2014]

NAVAL POWER
Aircraft Carrier value does not include helicopter carrier-type vessels.
Total Strength: 120 (includes auxiliaries)
Aircraft Carriers: 1 [2013]
Frigates: 22 [2013]
Destroyers: 0 [2013]
Corvettes: 0 [2013]
Submarines: 10 [2013]
Coastal Craft: 14 [2013]
Mine Warfare: 18 [2013]

RESOURCES (PETROLEUM)
Oil Production: 70,800 bbl/day [2013]
Oil Consumption: 1,865,000 bbl/day [2013]
Proven Oil Reserves: 85,180,000 bbl/day [2013]

Military Rank #6.

United Kingdom
The Economy
$2 trillion. Ranked #6

How many divisions has he got?
MANPOWER
Total Population: 63,395,574 [2013]
Available Manpower: 29,164,233 [2013]
Fit for Service: 24,035,131 [2013]
Reaching Military Age Annually: 749,480 [2013]
Active Frontline Personnel: 205,330 [2013]
Active Reserve Personnel: 182,000 [2013]

LAND SYSTEMS
Tank value includes MBT, light tanks and tank destroyer systems, wheeled or tracked.
Tanks: 407 [2013]
Armored Fighting Vehicles: 6,245 [2013]
Self-Propelled Guns: 89 [2013]
Towed Artillery Pieces: 138 [2013]
Rocket Projectors (MLRS): 56 [2013]

AIR POWER
Includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from all branches of service. All aircraft types accounted for including UAVs, transports, gunships, recon, naval, trainers, etc…
Total Aircraft: 908 [2014]
Helicopters: 362 [2014]

NAVAL POWER
Aircraft Carrier value does not include helicopter carrier-type vessels.
Total Strength: 66 (includes auxiliaries)
Aircraft Carriers: 1 [2013]
Frigates: 13 [2013]
Destroyers: 6 [2013]
Corvettes: 0 [2013]
Submarines: 11 [2013]
Coastal Craft: 24 [2013]
Mine Warfare: 15 [2013]

RESOURCES (PETROLEUM)
Oil Production: 1,100,000 bbl/day [2013]
Oil Consumption: 1,700,000 bbl/day [2013]
Proven Oil Reserves: 3,122,000,000 bbl/day [2013]

Military Rank #5.

Now The Russia Group

Russia
The Economy
$2 trillion. Rank #8

How many divisions has he got?
MANPOWER
Total Population: 145,500,482 [2013]
Available Manpower: 69,117,271 [2013]
Fit for Service: 46,812,553 [2013]
Reaching Military Age Annually: 1,354,202 [2013]
Active Frontline Personnel: 766,000 [2013]
Active Reserve Personnel: 2,485,000 [2013]

LAND SYSTEMS
Tank value includes MBT, light tanks and tank destroyer systems, wheeled or tracked.
Tanks: 15,500 [2013]
Armored Fighting Vehicles: 27,607 [2013]
Self-Propelled Guns: 5,990 [2013]
Towed Artillery Pieces: 4,625 [2013]
Rocket Projectors (MLRS): 3,781 [2013]

AIR POWER
Includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from all branches of service. All aircraft types accounted for including UAVs, transports, gunships, recon, naval, trainers, etc…
Total Aircraft: 3,082 [2014]
Helicopters: 973 [2014]

NAVAL POWER
Aircraft Carrier value does not include helicopter carrier-type vessels.
Total Strength: 352 (includes auxiliaries)
Aircraft Carriers: 1 [2013]
Frigates: 4 [2013]
Destroyers: 13 [2013]
Corvettes: 74 [2013]
Submarines: 63 [2013]
Coastal Craft: 65 [2013]
Mine Warfare: 34 [2013]

RESOURCES (PETROLEUM)
Oil Production: 11,000,000 bbl/day [2013]
Oil Consumption: 2,200,000 bbl/day [2013]
Proven Oil Reserves: 80,000,000,000 bbl/day [2013]

Military Rank #2

China
The Economy
$8 trillion. Ranked #2

How many divisions has he got?
MANPOWER
Total Population: 1,349,585,838 [2013]
Available Manpower: 749,610,775 [2013]
Fit for Service: 618,588,627 [2013]
Reaching Military Age Annually: 19,538,534 [2013]
Active Frontline Personnel: 2,285,000 [2013]
Active Reserve Personnel: 2,300,000 [2013]

LAND SYSTEMS
Tank value includes MBT, light tanks and tank destroyer systems, wheeled or tracked.
Tanks: 9,150 [2013]
Armored Fighting Vehicles: 4,788 [2013]
Self-Propelled Guns: 1,710 [2013]
Towed Artillery Pieces: 6,246 [2013]
Rocket Projectors (MLRS): 1,770 [2013]

AIR POWER
Includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from all branches of service. All aircraft types accounted for including UAVs, transports, gunships, recon, naval, trainers, etc…
Total Aircraft: 2,788 [2014]
Helicopters: 856 [2014]

NAVAL POWER
Aircraft Carrier value does not include helicopter carrier-type vessels.
Total Strength: 520 (includes auxiliaries)
Aircraft Carriers: 1 [2013]
Frigates: 45 [2013]
Destroyers: 24 [2013]
Corvettes: 9 [2013]
Submarines: 69 [2013]
Coastal Craft: 353 [2013]
Mine Warfare: 119 [2013]

RESOURCES (PETROLEUM)
Oil Production: 4,075,000 bbl/day [2012]
Oil Consumption: 9,500,000 bbl/day [2013]
Proven Oil Reserves: 25,580,000,000 bbl/day [2013]

Military Rank #3.

India
The Economy
$2 trillion. Rank #10

How many divisions has he got?
MANPOWER
Total Population: 1,220,800,359 [2013]
Available Manpower: 615,201,057 [2013]
Fit for Service: 489,571,520 [2013]
Reaching Military Age Annually: 22,896,956 [2013]
Active Frontline Personnel: 1,325,000 [2013]
Active Reserve Personnel: 2,143,000 [2013]

LAND SYSTEMS
Tank value includes MBT, light tanks and tank destroyer systems, wheeled or tracked.
Tanks: 3,569 [2013]
Armored Fighting Vehicles: 5,085 [2013]
Self-Propelled Guns: 290 [2013]
Towed Artillery Pieces: 6,445 [2013]
Rocket Projectors (MLRS): 292 [2013]

AIR POWER
Includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from all branches of service. All aircraft types accounted for including UAVs, transports, gunships, recon, naval, trainers, etc…
Total Aircraft: 1,785 [2014]
Helicopters: 504 [2014]

NAVAL POWER
Aircraft Carrier value does not include helicopter carrier-type vessels.
Total Strength: 184 (includes auxiliaries)
Aircraft Carriers: 2 [2013]
Frigates: 15 [2013]
Destroyers: 11 [2013]
Corvettes: 24 [2013]
Submarines: 17 [2013]
Coastal Craft: 32 [2013]
Mine Warfare: 7 [2013]

RESOURCES (PETROLEUM)
Oil Production: 897,500 bbl/day [2013]
Oil Consumption: 3,200,000 bbl/day [2013]
Proven Oil Reserves: 5,476,000,000 bbl/day [2013]

Military Rank #4.

It looks interesting: Militaries ranked 2-3-4 against essentially the rest of the top 10. But ultimately, not all that close. Too much Western wealth and too much American (conventional) firepower. But notice the oil. The America Group runs a 19.5 million barrel/day deficit. The Russia Group a 1 million barrel/day surplus. I wonder if any minds in the Kremlin have contemplated how to disrupt global production and transit. Probably not.

And though this all feels like a nonsense extrapolation of some sporting combine, it’s foolish to dismiss the momentum these events accumulate with an American state now inured to bombing first and occupying forever. Ecclesiastes says the dead know nothing. But they know the end of war. And they alone.

Military information was filched from Global Firepower, for whatever it is worth.

2 thoughts on “A Game of Bones

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