My answer to When was the last time another country had enough military power to defeat the United States?
Answer by Abbey Laurel-Smith:
First time. Best chance. Russia:
- I’d say Catherine the Great of Russia in 1780. But rather than take America as a prize for herself, she consulted with Federick the Great of Prussia and decided it was better to obstruct the British and help George Washington set up the new nation with the wars of the American Revolution. Story goes that she provided 20,000 Russian mercenaries – mostly Crimean and Ottoman war veterans. I have seen paintings of Russian military uniforms. But yet to see other documents to support deployment, provision and supply. My guess is, since the west coast of the United States in those days (from Alaska to California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii) were Russian outposts in those days, then, all needed resources (fighting men and materials) might have originated from these spots. With her resources, she could have taken the country for herself. But she chose to help. Would advise checking on the journals of John Quincy Adams for more details about Russo/American diplomacy of those days. He was the American envoy to Russia in those days.
Second time. Another great chance. Russia:
- During the American Civil War, the Tsar ordered the Imperial Russian Navy (third largest and most powerful in the world after the British and the French) to help make sure the American Civil War succeeded by providing sea cover on both sides of the sea. These “Imperial Russian bullies” (a British historical term) the went ahead and fenced off these three European Naval powers in the Atlantic and the Pacific. They diverted all traffic to the new nation southwards to the Indies or back to port of origin in the north atlantic. They then managed to stop all shipment of men and equipments to American ports (all British owned in those days) What the Russians did in Oregon and Canada to destroy what could have been a strong British support is something we’ll never hear of. Worse, Russia was broke after all these. That’s why they sold Alaska and left California and Hawaii for good.
If it was the British, they would have marched in on either of these two occasions and exacted a price.