The typical reply to this kind of question resorts to what US force planners call “bean counting”. Typically, journalists use the yearly IISS Military Balance or a source like Global Firepower and tallies of the number of men, main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry combat vehicles, combat aircraft, artillery pieces, bombers, missiles, surface ships, submarines, etc. presented by each side in a chart.
The reality is that such bean counting means absolutely and strictly nothing. Let’s take a simple example: if a war happens between, say, China and Russia then the fact that China has, say, 1000 tanks in its Yunnan province, will make no difference to the war at all, simply because they are too distant. When we apply this caveat to the Russian-US conventional military balance we immediately ought to ask ourselves the following two basic questions: