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The Admiral Kuznetsov, aka Liaoning, initially, was built as a FLAGSHIP of the SOVIET NAVY and as such the gist behind the planning of this boat just can't be that lacking in purpose and objective when it was built. It is likely thus far in advance of the Nimitz if I am to rate it so no sweat, Tender.
Given the advance standards of Soviet science and engineering at the time and likely the to-detail-plannings of Soviet military strategists when they planned for the Admiral Kuznetsov, the ship has to be at least be in-par with or potentially deadlier to that of the USS NIMITZ which is why there was a degree of fear in the US of the Soviet Navy of the 70's and 80's such that the US will go out of its way to avoid confronting head on any Soviet military apparatus so fear not for the might of the Liaoning.
Now, fowarding this 25 years to an era of Arleigh Burke class Aegis systems, of USS Ronald Reagan, of Bush and Ford class super duper carriers verses China's 052 and 054 Aegis frigates and destryers and China's ''technically 2012 era technology appointed Liaoning class CV, 001A class CV', and an 80 thousand ton (Nimitz tonnage) electro magnetic pulse catapult launch system, the first of its kind on the horizon, and, with sure-kill anti-ship, anti-surface, and ship-to-air missiles to boot, large doesn't necessary mean better or deadlier these days. In fact, they are equally fair game in an era of simply launch and forget as we live today.
Naturally, if you want to threaten militarily-inefficient countries such as Egypt 70's, Serbia, Iraq, and Libya, militaries that can't hit back at the time as in the case of then China, well yes, larger does mean I won't take no fir an answer. But, if you come face to face with an equal, i.e., as in the Russian arm force Crimea and Syria, or as in the PLA of the present, these Nimitz, Reagan, Bush, and Ford class super dupers simply means nothing to us.