Sunday, April 23, 2006

People Abhor a Vacuum, Too

Here some disturbing news:
Russia's current birthrate is 1.34 per woman, far below the rate needed for population equilibrium. At the current rate, Russia's population will be cut in half by the year 2050.
As the article points out, that's even higher than Europe's 13th century Black Death!

This will have some bad consequences. First, Russia's army will shrink as well, and that means supporting a war in, say, Chechnya will be harder. The terrorists, on the other hand, are largely Arab Muslims and Muslim Chechens, whose populations are still growing. Meaning whatever short term battles Russia wins, they lose in the long run.

Russia's whole southwestern tier is also in danger of being over-run by Arab Muslims, with potential concommitant "nationalist" movements to peel off some territory.

And then there's Eastern Europe, Byelorussia and the Ukraine. Their birth rates are still high, but as they get absorbed into Western European culture, those will start to fall as well. There won't be enough people to expand east into the vacant spaces of a depopulated Russia.

And lastly there's eastern Russia, along the Chinese border. It's largely forgotten today, but in the Sixties, Seventies and into the Eighties they were at a high state of alert, fearing border incursions and incidents. Once again, as the army shrinks will the Chinese be tempted to try again? Will they push into Siberia to find room for all their people, to tap the massive natural resources still waiting?

China's population is due to start shrinking in about 20 years. But it will still be roughly 1.2 or 1.3 billion people. And their booming capitalistic markets will demand a lot of resources to keep booming.

Interesting days ahead.

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