Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014



The successful Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula last month opened a Pandora's Box of problems to many world leaders.  Specifically, Presidents and Prime Ministers are re-thinking the importance of a large standing army.  See, while countries like England, France and Israel have technologically advanced militias...as Putin proved...there really is no substitute for sending 100,000 troops marching across a border.  Hence, here are the Top Ten largest armies on earth.

#1. People's Liberation Army of China. 2,285,000 Active Duty.  The armed forces of the PRC began in 1927 as the Worker's & Peasant's Forces.  However, a lot has changed in the last 87 years.  For example, you won't find any peasants manning the 533mm Yu-8 long-range torpedoes.  In addition to being large, China's military is also advanced.  Experts say it will be a technological equal the USA in 15 -20 years.

#2. U.S. Armed Forces. 1,429,000 Active Duty. While America is #2 on this list, the Yanks are #1 on these other two lists: Military Spending and Technological Capabilities.  In short, the Armed Forces has played a pivotal role in the National Psyche since the Barbary Wars in 1801.  Although called the Department of Defense today, the vast majority of operations have been in distant lands like Vietnam or Mesopotamia.  In fact, since 1812, the US has been attacked only twice:  Pancho Villa's raid in 1915 and one Japanese plane in 1942.

#3. Indian Armed Forces. 1,325,000 Active Duty Although once controlled by the UK, today India's army is eight times larger than England's.  Initially bolstered to protect the Northern Border with Pakistan, today the world's largest all-volunteer army is known for peace-keeping missions in neighboring nations like Sri Lanka.  However, you don't want to mess with the Ghatack Undercover Attack Unit.

#4. Korean People's Army. 1,106,000 Active Duty. Uh-oh!  It's time for the scariest entry on the list: North Korea's Rebels Without A Cause.  For such a small country, they sure have an enormous army.  In fact, if you count reserves and paramilitary personnel, North Korea has the world's largest army with 9,495,000 troops.  This is a whopping 40% of the entire population of the rogue state.

#5. Russian Armed Forces. 766,000 Active Duty. During the Great Patriotic War (World War II), the Red Army was the largest on earth, with some three million soldiers.  During the Cold War, it continued to dominate International affairs, with a bold invasion of Afghanistan and countless covert KGB operations. Although no longer the power of the past, Russia is clearly still capable off annexing large regions seemingly overnight..

#6. Republic of Korea Armed Forces. 687,000 Active Duty. Created in 1948 and heavily funded by the USA, the ROK has one specific aim: To defend the Southern half of the Korean Peninsula from invasion.  Hence, the vast majority of the forces are mustered along the DMZ.  However, the idle South Korean forces are great in natural disasters and have recently been deployed on peacekeeping missions in Africa.

#7. Turkish Armed Forces. 664,000 Active Duty.  Like the Russian army, Turkey's military has a proud past...filled with impressive victories from Tangier to Tehran.  It's been awhile since the days of the Ottoman Empire, but the Turks still have many quarrelsome neighbors and internal divisions to keep them occupied.

#8. Pakistani Armed Forces. 617,000 Active Duty. Of all the nations on this list, Pakistan is the youngest.  And...just like your youngest sibling...Pakistan takes a lot and gives little.  First, China invested heavily, followed by massive funding from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.  These days, its the US who foots the bill.  Despite the billions of dollars, the Pakistani Special Forces still couldn't 'find' Osama bin Laden!

#9. Armed Forces of Iran. 523,000 Active Duty.  The only thing that makes these guys more frightening than the North Koreans is the fact that the top Iranian general is also the top priest.  Under 35 years of Ayatollah-based leadership, Iran has embarked on one senseless campaign after another.  These include the bloody, twelve-year war with Iraq, support of Hezbollah and Hamas as well as the current arms shipments to Syria's madman, al-Bashir.  The Revolutionary Guard needs to chill!

#10. Egyptian Armed Forces. 468,000 Active Duty.   Originally formed to police and monitor Israel, today the massive Egyptian army struggles to keep internal affairs calm.  It's main foes are the Muslim Brotherhood, Nubian separatists and Coptic groups.  Unfortunately, as more and more American and Saudi military aid comes pouring in, the situation just seemed to become more and more desperate...

No comments:

Post a Comment