How Russia Is Stronger Than America

Soviet Propaganda marking the end of World War II, with flags sized in relative proportion by contribution (China should be more)

Teddy Roosevelt said ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’ but America today is screaming about Russia and holding nothing but its dick in its hands. And it gets cold in Russia.

The Powerless Superpower

How long can an empire keep losing wars without losing power? As Andrei Martyanov asks “where are the tangible results in what throughout human history has served as the most important test of power: victories in wars?” This is a question America has been violently, rudely asking for decades, and the answer has long been ‘no’. Now it’s just becoming obvious.

Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, all draws or losses. America is capable of destroying things, but not achieving strategic objectives, or even having a strategy beyond destruction for profit. In Afghanistan, America deployed for 20 years, spent trillions of dollars, and still somehow lost to some of the poorest people on Earth. All the blood, all the treasure, it was all for nothing. It was all just human sacrifice on the altars of their war gods, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

In Ukraine, NATO trained a large Ukrainian force and flooded the place with billions of dollars in weapons. And it’s all getting ground up in Putin’s cauldron. America screamed propaganda about how dangerous Russia is to the world, but then did nothing about it besides profit from the suffering of Ukrainian people. Now they just look impotent.

An empire can’t take L after L like this and not one day be deemed a loser. America’s military actually sucks, and Andrei Martyanov called it in 2018, in his book Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning. In that book, he talked about the current conflict with Russia before most of us perceived it happening (though it was happening).

From the film Patton. “The vast majority of the Germans simply didn’t know why General Patton rated a film. For Russians, the film raised the inevitable question of why so much pathos would be generated about a general who commanded a single army at the Western Front in the last year of WWII”

World War II

The last war America really ‘won’ was World War II, and they didn’t really win it. As Carl von Clausewitz said about actual victory:

“What do we mean by the defeat of the enemy? Simply the destruction of his forces, whether by death, injury, or any other means — either completely or enough to make him stop fighting…The complete or partial destruction of the enemy must be regarded as the sole object of all engagements… Direct annihilation of the enemy’s forces must always be the dominant consideration.”

By this measure, the USSR did 80% of the winning of World War II. The brutal, methodical grinding up of the Wehrmacht was accomplished on the Eastern Front, not the Western.

“For most of the war, 75–80 percent of the Wehrmacht had to be deployed in the East, a preponderance dictated by the sheer size of the front, and 80 percent of German war dead perished there: about four million of the five million German soldiers killed in World War II.” (WWII Museum)

This is the bloody point of war, not retreats like Dunkirk or finding random privates named Ryan. The point is killing your enemy in such numbers that they submit to your will. And the USSR did most of it.

Americans especially have no idea about that side of the war. As a schoolchild in America, however, I was not taught about the Soviet contribution at all. The Americans swooped in, kicked ass, Hitler was bad, the end. The Soviets somehow randomly ended up in Berlin, around the same time, walking in the back door.

As Martyanov said (quoting a 2015 survey) “an overwhelming majority of the American public, 55%, think the US contributed the most to the defeat of Germany with only 11% thinking it was Soviet Union, as one of many similar polls testify. If those astonishing numbers are not the result of propaganda, one is then forced to contemplate how, other than due to propaganda, such a complete obliviousness to the basic facts of WWII could have been achieved.”

And it is indeed propaganda. Americans have made countless movies about finding random privates, hidden art, and minor generals like Patton. The British made movies about their retreats, speeches, and code-breaking. These are all interesting stories, but none of them are the real story of war, which is encountering the enemy and killing them in numbers.

The Russians knew this quite viscerally and thus the stories they tell their schoolchildren are quite different. As Robert Skidelsky wrote in the intro to a book on Russian textbooks, “The Russians believe, quite rightly, that it was they who bore the brunt of the fighting and the horror. They also claim, in my view rightly, that it was they who defeated the Germans with rather minimal help from the Western Allies.”

This is undeniably true, but even when it is acknowledged in the west, it is portrayed as mindless human sacrifice, with no regard for human life. As wildly racist American war hero George C. Patton said:

“The difficulty in understanding the Russian is that we do not take cognizance of the fact that he is not a European but an Asiatic and therefore thinks deviously. We can no more understand a Russian than a Chinaman or a Japanese and, from what I have seen of them, I have no particular desire to understand them except to ascertain how much lead or iron it takes to kill them. In addition to his other amiable characteristics, the Russian has no regard for human life and is an all-out son of a bitch, a barbarian, and a chronic drunk.

This of course sounds wildly racist, but western attitudes towards Russia haven’t changed. In 2016 the Boston Globe saidPutin’s Russia is a poor, drunk soccer hooligan.” You get Economist covers like this all the time:

Making Putin look darker and savage because, well, it’s The Economist

Martyanov said — “For Patton, Russians were a “scurvy race and simply savages” and he thought he could “beat the hell out of them,” — and to be honest, modern American propaganda against Russia is as dehumanizing and dismissive. And also inaccurate.

The fact is that the USSR didn’t just throw hordes of bodies at the Wehrmacht, they beat the highly sophisticated Germans with industrial production, logistics, and strategy. And the Germans were pretty good at that stuff.

After losing huge amounts of men and materiel in the initial German invasion, the USSR literally moved entire factories across the country and became a military-industrial powerhouse. They were then able to move that stuff back to the frontlines, replacing ungodly amounts of tanks, planes, and ammunition that were destroyed every day.

From 1943 the Russians were pushing the Germans back, absolutely grinding up the Wehrmacht in retreat, while the Nazis left absolutely scorched earth behind. As Martyanov said, “For Patton it was “one hell of a war”; for the Soviet people it was hell — a moral distinction which never entered American consciousness on any level.”

Martyanov talks about Patton—who Paul Fussell called “a master of chickenshit”—because “This eulogizing of Patton provides one of the best examples of American military culture’s complete detachment from the scale of WWII and its inability to analyze or learn from it.”

As Martyanov says, “The issue, thus, is with the fact that be it in 1945 or in 2012, or even 2017, the American body politic remained and continues to remain utterly ignorant on the history and thinking processes of the overwhelming majority of people from the only nation in the world which has the capability to destroy the United States and which knows intimately what real war is, a knowledge American political and intellectual classes do not have.”

In this way, America still suffers from what Bryan MacDonald calls Russophrenia“a condition where the sufferer believes Russia is both about to collapse, and to take over the world.” It is impossible to make any good decisions around a contradiction like this. This failing even more than strategy, logistics, or even will is the cardinal sin of war. Ignorance. As Sun Tzu said:

“Know the enemy; know yourself, and you will meet with no danger in a hundred battles. If you do not know the enemy, but you know yourself, then you will win and lose by turns. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will lose every battle, certainly.”

America doesn’t know its enemy, but even more dangerously, it doesn’t know itself. That’s why they lose every war.

The American Military

Americans think their military is great because they watched Top Gun. Or Transformers. Or any number of Hollywood films the Defence Department consults on and approves. They’ve violated the 4th Crack Commandment and gotten high on their own propaganda supply.

In terms of bang for the buck, the American military actually sucks. They spent trillions of dollars in Afghanistan causing untold misery and ultimately just getting their tails tucked. “As a longtime observer of Russian and American affairs, Patrick Armstrong, put it: “I can’t get two questions out of my mind: When was the last time the USA won a war? When was the last time US-trained troops fought effectively?”

These are very simple and important questions that get ignored amidst all the Tom Cruise smiles and big numbers that get thrown around. Yes, the United States is the largest military in the world, with the most bases, with the most expensive equipment. But how does it perform?

After WWII, Korea was a draw and Vietnam was a loss. Afghanistan was a loss and the only victor in the Iraq War was Iran. Now in Ukraine, a NATO-trained and armed military is getting clobbered by a smaller Russian force. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the places America has invaded or meddled, but it’s not a winning record wherever they go. The American military has certainly killed millions of poor people, but that’s not winning anything. It’s just loss.

Jonah Goldberg cited Michael Ledeen as saying “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” What does it tell you that America does this and then loses to those ‘crappy little countries’. It tells you that America’s military power is actually bankrupt.

The American military regularly and resoundingly gets defeated by guys in Toyota Hiluxes. It has no chance against a peer competitor like Russia. When you hear about how much money America spends on its military, that’s actually a measure of how corrupt and decrepit it is, not how powerful. When you hear about places they’re meddling that’s just a measure of how much they’re getting looted by arms contractors. It’s all losses.


John McCain said “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country” in 2016 and then followed up by saying it needed to be surrounded by missiles, not something you usually do to a gas station. He was of course delusional, caught in the core contradiction of American foreign policy. Its enemies must be simultaneously dangerous and weak.

As Martyanov writes, “It seems this economy which was “left in tatters” or was the economy of a “gas station masquerading as a country,” is the only other economy in the world which can and does produce the whole spectrum of weapons ranging from small arms to state-of-the-art complex weapon- and signal- processing systems. No other nation with the exception of the US and Russia, not even China, can produce and procure cutting edge military technology which has capabilities beyond the reach of everyone else. The truth is that Russia still has the capability to nuke America, it has more proven ability to use combined arms on the ground (having trounced US-trained armies in Georgia and Ukraine), and it even has anti-ship missiles that can disable America’s expensive and ungainly Navy."

I’ll quote from Martyanov extensively here.

Most American technological capabilities, which for decades were extolled as unrivaled, do not look that impressive against the weapons technologies which achieve a dramatic asymmetrical and synergetic effect for a fraction of the cost.

Much touted Stealth technologies as a cornerstone of US alleged domination in the aerospace field are not really that stealthy with even Russian generation 4++ fighters, such as the SU-35C, with their Irbis radar capable of “seeing” even an F-22 fighter as far as 90 kilometers away, to say nothing of modern Air Defense complexes such as the S-400 which can track and engage any aero-ballistic targets.

The situation is no better at sea. The introduction into service in 2017 of the 3M22 Zircon hyper-sonic missile16 is already dramatically redefining naval warfare and makes even remote sea zones a “no-sail” zone for any US major surface combatant, especially aircraft carriers. Currently, and for the foreseeable future, no technology capable of intercepting such a missile exists or will exist. The US Navy still retains a world-class submarine force, but even this force will have huge difficulties when facing the challenge of increasingly deadly and silent nonnuclear submarines which are capable, together with friendly sea and shore-based anti-submarine forces, to completely shut down their own littorals from any kind of threat. Once access through littorals and the sea and even some oceans zones that matter are shut down, as is possible now, one of the main pillars of American naval doctrine and strategy — the ability to project power — collapses. With it collapses the main pillar of American superpowerdom, or, at least, of its illusion.

The greatest illusion is that America even understands what war is. Whenever I watch Hollywood films I’m struck that all of that overwhelming force is generally deployed against the poorest, most helpless people on Earth. America is literally wandering around the sandbox, murdering children, thinking they’re great conquerors. They’re not.

The proof is that when Russia invaded Ukraine the US made a big show about how awful it was, and then didn’t show up on the ground. Because they know they can’t. A huge propaganda blitz of Russophrenia was all they had to offer. Russia was both incredibly evil and about to conquer Europe, and hopelessly incompetent and about to be kicked out of Ukraine. But now neither has happened. America looks completely idiotic and impotent. As Martyanov said:

“Manipulation and PR are no substitute for actual victory which is defined universally as achieving the political objectives of the war, or in Clausewitz’s one liner — the ability to compel the enemy to do our will.”

And America can claim no victory in Ukraine. It spoke loudly and carried a limp dick. It’s just another L. Russia called their bluff.

Long Time Coming

The crazy thing about Martyanov’s book is that he wrote it in 2018, well before what we call the Ukraine war. The fact is that America and Russia have been at proxy war in Ukraine for almost a decade, which has now become obvious to everyone. But Martyanov was calling this out even earlier (in 2014) on his blog:

“But it is already clear that by failing to achieve any sensible political objectives in Ukraine and in Russia, and, by this, starting a massive global realignment, the United States sustained a defeat. What will be the consequences of this defeat? I hate to speculate, I just know that they are already big and that the moment of facing the reality is coming. My suggestion to those who are still making decisions — open and start reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I don’t hold my breath, though. The moment US handlers of their Kiev puppets conceived that the Ukrainian Army can ‘win’ in Donbass, the stopwatch started.”

The fact is that war in Ukraine has been happening since 2014, killing over 15,000 people since then. And Martyanov was calling it from the beginning. As he expanded in 2018:

“The United States, represented by its elites, must understand a simple truth of the new millennium: [Counterinsurgency] operations and the technological dominance the US enjoyed over backward and badly trained third world militaries is over. From here on the only adversary the United States can possibly expect to encounter, in case of any increasingly likely military conflict, is Russia — the power with enough economic, military and technological expertise to call the 70-year long American military bluff and with it, end Pax Americana once and for all.

Hence Martyanov is worth reading, because he saw it coming. In the long historical view, there was never peace between the US and Russia. As Harry Truman said in 1941, “If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible, although I don’t want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances.”

Even though American workers kindly stuck whiskey in the barrels of Lend-Lease tanks sent to the Soviet Union, their masters were always hankering after disaster. Which is all conflict with Russia is. The hubris of American civilian and military leadership hasn’t changed. Patton’s attitude from the 1940s still applies today:

“The American Army as it is now exists could beat the Russians with the greatest of ease, because while the Russians have good infantry, they are lacking in artillery, air and in tanks, and in knowledge of the use of combined arms, whereas we excel in all three of these.”

But this just isn’t true. It never was. The USSR had and Russia still has functionally equivalent artillery, air, tank, and even naval support. Russia has vastly more experience using these combined arms against near-peer enemies, having been fighting in Ukraine and having defeated another NATO-trained/equipped army in Georgia. The US just has experience deploying very expensive systems against poor people fighting back with $20 IEDs. And those people have been winning.

As Laurie Buckhout—former chief of US Army electronic warfare—said “Our biggest problem is we have not fought in a comms-degraded environment for decades, so we don’t know how to do it. We lack not only tactics, techniques and procedures but the training to fight in a comms-degraded environment.” As Martyanov added, “In fact, the United States military hadn’t fought any adversary which could provide a serious fire response on the ground, in the air and on the water since WWII.” And remember, they didn’t win World War II either. They just made the most movies about it.

In reality, America has been getting its ass-kicked around the world by guerrilla armies for decades and making movies like Rambo afterwards to make themselves feel better. They somehow preserved the aura of superpower because they were capable of so much death and destruction. They may have been dumb, but they were at least looked powerful. Look at all the explosions.

But now America is faced with peer-level threat in Russia that they’re making a lot of noise about, but not doing anything. They’re supplying arms, but not lifting a finger of their own. Because they’re actually too weak. Putin has called their bluff.

It seems crazy to say that Russia is stronger than America, but they definitely are in Russia. As Martyanov says, “American culture simply doesn’t know what fighting off an invader is like” and Russia does. For generations. Russia has the people, the hardware, and the will to do it, whereas for America it’s just a dick-measuring contest.

Just as World War II was won by alliance with Russia, America’s unipolar hegemony was preserved by agreement with Russia. And America ruined that by shoving NATO up their ass, with expansion after expansion. Now Russia has had enough and the brief unipolar order is over. Martyanov told Americans that winter was coming in 2014 and 2018. Now it’s obvious.

Russia is winning in Ukraine, Europe is running out of heating energy, America is heading into sanctions-induced recession, and Ukraine itself is getting methodically shorn of its most resource-rich regions. Unlike Roosevelt who spoke softly and carried a big stick, Joe Biden is just standing there with his dick in his hands, yelling impotently. It’s not a good look, and all America had was the appearance of military power. Now even that is gone.

In case it wasn’t obvious, this is all based on Andrei Martyanov’s book Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning, including following his footnotes. It’s well worth a read, especially since he wrote it before shit popped off.