With the end of the World Cup and the much-debated summit between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it is interesting to look at how the U.S. and the rest of the world perceive Russia.
Judged solely on its economy, Russia is not that big.
This chart shows the top 20 countries in the world by gross domestic product (GDP). Russia is 12 times smaller than the U.S. and roughly eight times smaller than the eurozone.
Russia's GDP is roughly 60 percent of California's and about equal to New York's GDP. Russia's contribution to the global economy is about 2 percent. (And before we get too far away from the World Cup, kudos to Croatia — a country that made it to the final round with just 0.1 percent of global GDP and a population of about 4.2 million).
What does the Russian economy have? While they do not have a real technology sector, they do have a highly educated, tech-savvy population. Its economy is very tied to oil, but other than in that sector, Russia's economy is not really a factor globally.
So why should the U.S. care about a country that does not pose an economic threat to the world? In other words, why does Russia get so much attention?
Our View: Clearly the reason Russia appears bigger in our minds is because of our history with the country. The U.S.S.R. evolved as a result of an ideological confrontation against capitalism and democracy, and the U.S. has always been perceived as the epitome of these values. Looking at it on a map, the sheer geographic size of the Russian Federation can also look imposing.
But secondly, the fact that Russia's nuclear capability is on par with that of the U.S. makes the two nations both super powers, particularly because Russia is perceived as a potentially aggressive military force.
To wrap up, Russia's economic power is not currently a threat to the world, but if its economy weakens further, could it become more militarily aggressive? This is a question that we keep in mind when we consider the U.S.-Russia relationship.
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