Russia's political leadership has undergone a total ideological transformation over the past decade. Long gone is its co-operation with the US and the EU. Instead, its leadership now emphasises its ideological hostility to the West. Somewhat like China, ultra-nationalism, suspicion of foreigners and a restoration of state power have become the regime ideology.
Russia has increased its military budget by almost 500% since 2000. Making it the second biggest military spender.
Just as scary: The biggest spender is China. (And who knows just how much they're bloody spending as they always lie about it. "Trick or treat?" Trick. Trick. Tricky.)
Still scary: Both Russia and China are spending these great wads of cash on modernising their nuclear weaponry. Modernising. Making dem a lot betta. So much so that they'll have a more superior, efficient and secure nuclear force than the US within the next decade. (Although this week the US saw it might need to start modernising... somehow... Uh. Can we do it without testing????)
And a couple of guys writing in the US journal The National Interest, also note that Russia is happily testing out their capabilities with large scale military exercises. (Practice makes perfect!). Of course China joins in on these too. So nice to see nations playing together.
Oh, and back onto what the guys have said: the US nuclear deterrent could lack credibility if Russia gets ahead of them... Such a weakening of US might would have terrible consequences for Japan and South Korea (and possibly us!) as they rely greatly on the US for their security.
Mind you... The same journal also says, "Russia’s present financial difficulties are likely to force Moscow to accelerate economic integration with the West, which will force the Kremlin to moderate its foreign policy." Their stock market as fallen by 70% since May, and the "ruble has lost two year’s worth of appreciation".
So, we may finally be able to say, 'Yay for the economic crisis!'
Unless it just levels us all out of course, and the West weakens just as much...
OK. Well let's just talk scary North Korea...!
(Fingers crossed Kim Jong-il will be garbed as a ghost this year!)