At some point, one could have imagine the possibility of a serious conflict between Russia and US.
This is because bilateral relationships between the two countries has continued to deteriorate in recent years.
What if this relationship continues to go sour leading to a crisis, what will be the consequences?
1. Imposition of sanctions.
Relationship between both nations may not be cordial as it use to, however, trading relationships between countries is an integral part of a country’s existence.
Strangely, trade ties between the world’s biggest economy and the largest country in the planet are largely inconsequential.
This is because they have very little to lose economically. The US had placed sanctions on Russia for its involvement in the conflict in Ukraine but it is of no effect.
Russian businesses in US makes up only 0.1% of its (US) total foreign direct investment.
Russia too has little presence of American businesses.
McDonalds and Ford are some of the few US based companies in Russia, with almost no significant impact if sanctions are placed on them. So, where then will sanctions bite?
From another angle, sanctions on allied nations of both countries could be disastrous.
Russian allies, though few, are its neighboring countries of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan who are more of military allies, and Syria, China and India who to some extent, allies of Russia.
On the other hand, US allies are NATO members, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and a host of other countries as it concerns trade.
Allies of both countries unavoidably have to do business between themselves.
Placing sanctions on an enemy’s ally may not directly affect the enemy country but the ally.
An instance like this could happen if there is a face-off between the two countries and US places sanctions on India whom they have some form of relationship with in matters of trade and investment just because India is a Russian ally.
2. Targeted assassinations.
Killing of a highly placed individual or one believed to be an enemy is not a new act when it comes to disputes between nations.
If Russia collides with US, there are possibilities of targeted assassinations occurring.
The term refers to killings carried out by government against perceived foes.
Targeted assassinations are often fatal. In many cases, while attempting to kill individuals believed to be dangerous, avoiding other casualties is usually near impossible.
It has been alleged that in numerous failed attempts to kill wanted terrorists, Ayman al-Zawahri, the CIA has killed 76 children and 29 adults in the process.
US and Russia have been known to carry out many targeted killings.
A major conflict may see them targeting individuals of great repute.
3. Unprecedented waves of cyber attacks (cyber-terrorism)
Cyber attack is an attempt by hackers to damage or destroy a computer network or system.
Cyber-terrorism is a form of cyber attack described as a politically motivated use of computers and information technology to cause severe disruption or widespread fear in the society.
In other words, it is the use of the internet to conduct violent acts that result in, data manipulation, physical damages, spreading of fake news and lots more. In a bid to achieve political or ideological gains through threat or intimidation.
It is a form of warfare and not new. Both countries have been known to execute cyber attacks against each other.
CNN in 2015 reported that Russian hackers, likely sponsored by the government were responsible for penetrating sensitive parts of the White House computers.
The security agencies categorised the attacks as the worst and most sophisticated attack ever launched against US government systems.
In June 2019, there were reports that the US had attacked Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Putin that Trump’s presidency will not fail to deploy cybertools more aggressively.
Trump denied this by tweeting
Whether true or not, cyber threats are becoming more advanced.
Using the internet to destabilize a nation’s electricity is fearful enough. Both countries will intensify these attacks if conflict arises.
4. A proxy war.
If both countries go at each other, there could be proxy war.
It is war instigated by a major world power but does not get involved directly in the hostilities.
Nations may resort to avoid direct confrontation with an enemy in order to protect the lives of their citizens.
Also, proxy warfare helps prevent potential negative international reactions from allied nations, (especially where there are treaties against such act) trading partners, and international agencies like the UN and EU.
As stated, proxy war may not have direct impact amongst the powerful countries, nevertheless those doing the actual fighting get to suffer for it.
A proxy war between US and former USSR has taken place before during the Vietnam war.
Another example of a proxy war is the Israel – Arab war which started in 1948 till present.
Recent events of the US-Iran dispute could escalate into a proxy war as Russia emphatically said it will not remain neutral if US goes to war with Iran.
5. An outright war involving the use of nuclear weapons, space warfare and brutal show of military force.
Despite the fact it is not likely to happen, a full-scale war is the worse that could possibly happen in a Russia-US collision.
Both countries are super world powers with topnotch military weapons, artillery and ammunition at their disposal.
One of such is a nuclear weapon, a bomb or missile that uses nuclear energy to cause an explosion.
Both the US and Russia posses nuclear weapons and the use of it could result to a nuclear armageddon.
According to researchers, more than 90 million people would be killed or injured in a nuclear war between US and Russia if a conventional conflict went too far.
The Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bomb blasts easily comes to mind.
America on 6 and 9 August 1945 bombed both Japanese cities, killing more than 100,000 people.
Additionally, Space warfare is yet another form of combat that may happen.
It is a combat that takes place in outer space by either earth to space, space to space and space to earth.
Although no space war has actually taken place, both countries already have the weapons in place in case of a show down.
The war could be practically fought on all fronts, air and water inclusive.
In conclusion, if a war between both nations occur, they will unleash all their modern military equipments like aircrafts, ships, vehicles, and submarines.
The US may win the war, whether it can do so in a sustained period remains unclear.
Whoever wins is inconsequential. There will be no winners because both sides will record tremendous loses.