So maybe Russia isn't planing to take over the world just yet?
Russia is about to pour through the "Suwalki gap" into Poland, occupy the Baltics, conquer Ukraine and re-create the Soviet Empire. Apparently Moscow also intends to do this on the cheap because it has allocated about $45 billion to defense spending for 2017.
This puts will put its military spending below that of United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, India and France.
You have to tip your hat to the people at Russia's finance ministry. Those are some hawkish guys willing to make the difficult but necessary call. Russia's independence can not rest on military power alone. Even if it could without an economy that can sustain it a military is doomed in the long term as well.
For the past three years Russia has recorded an annual contraction in the GDP. Now is not the time to overspend on the military and saddle economy with either debt, inflation or taxes. Instead it should be allowed to recover.
That it was Trump who won the White House instead of Hillary Clinton doesn't hurt things either. Russia's finance Minister will be thanking his lucky stars for that lucky break.
And at the end of it all it is not like every billion of defense dollars spent are created equal. A billion that Russia spends is worth several spent by spendthrifts like Saudi Arabia and the United States.