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See How Many European Countries Have Fewer Soldiers Than the Islamic State Has Fighters

Image via dadaviz

If the Islamic State invaded Europe, which nations could fight off the jihadists?

In this undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters from the Islamic State group march in Raqqa, Syria.  (AP Photo/Militant Website, File) In this undated file image, fighters from the Islamic State group march in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/Militant Website)

The CIA estimated in September that the Islamic State could have more than 30,000 militants.

The map below, created by Dadaviz VP Jody Sieradzki, shows which European countries have more active soldiers than the Islamic State has fighters — and those that don't.

Nations marked blue below have a bigger standing army than the Islamic State, while nations marked gray have roughly the same number of soldiers as the Islamic State, and orange countries' armies would be outnumbered in a jihadist onslaught.

All told, 18 European nations (including Russia) have bigger armies than the Islamic State, while 16 nations' armies are smaller and nine are close in size, according to the Dadaviz analysis.

Of course, in modern warfare numbers are far from everything — consider Israel's victory over Arab forces twice as large as the Israeli military in the Six-Day War.

Plus, while their military spending does not begin to compare to U.S. military spending, many European nations boast high-tech defense forces that far outmatch the Islamic State's antiaircraft guns on old trucks.

On the flip side, many Islamic State fighters have come to jihad from European nations — meaning there's fertile ground in the West for a fifth column undermining defense.

All of that being said, the Islamic State invading Europe seems about as likely as a "Red Dawn" invasion of the U.S. by North Korea.

But contrasting the waning military might of Europe against the growing power of the Islamic State reveals the course of global tides.

Nothing signifies the end of European predominance like the fact that an upstart caliphate can field more fighters than most of Central Europe.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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