Geopolitical tensions have been escalating around the world in recent years, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Speculation about which global powers would be triumphant when matched up head-to-head is an interesting thought experiment, especially when measuring up personnel and military might, among other factors.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict following Russia’s invasion has taken center stage in the world news over the last six months, and currently it appears to be at a standstill despite Russia having a military more than three times the size of Ukraine’s. Perhaps the main contributing factor to the standstill is the support Ukraine receives from allies, including NATO members. These are the current members of NATO.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an example of a regional alliance across the continent of Europe and even North America. It was formed post-World War II as a peacetime military alliance to assure a Germany resurgence or incursions from the Soviet Union.
Many other military alliances and treaty organizations exist across the world: the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, the Central Treaty Organization, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Each of these organizations seeks to protect the culture and countries of the region, expending deadly force if necessary to defend it.
Historically, countries have built up regional alliances as a way to hedge their bets and stave off foreign invaders. Natural boundaries like mountains or oceans help to create these regions, and often neighboring countries within these regions share some semblance of culture and thus a need to defend it. Here are the 30 largest militaries in the world.
To determine the global regions with the strongest military might, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Global Firepower’s 2022 Military Strength Ranking, which ranks 142 countries based on their PowerIndex, a composite of over 50 measures in categories such as military might (not including nuclear capabilities), economy, logistical capability, and geography. Based on the PowerIndex score, we assigned a value to each country and ranked the 19 global regions by combining the values for each nation within a region. The regions are based on convention and regional definitions from several governing bodies and may not be identical to any single source.
It is worth noting that while countries are divided into regions, that is not to say that nations within the same region would not go to war with each other — as we are currently seeing with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Eastern Europe as a region ranks has the second most military might, with Russia the most powerful nation in the region followed by Ukraine. Russia ranks second in military might among nations.
As the world’s No. 1 ranked superpower, it is not surprising that the United States is the most powerful nation in North America. North America itself, however, only ranks fourth. Considering that Canada ranks 23 among countries and Mexico 43, the U.S. carries the region firmly.
Still, North America also ranks behind the Middle East/Western Asia and the No. 1 region, East Asia. With countries such as China (No. 3 among nations), Japan (No. 5), and South Korea (No. 6), the region, if it chooses to band together, would have considerable might. Of course, Japan and China have ongoing tensions, as do China and Taiwan and North and South Korea.
So here’s a look at how global regions measure up in terms of military might.
Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor
Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.