06 October 2008

As the Bear Dies, the Dragon Sharpens its Claws

Many uninformed commenters were very impressed by Russia's invasion and ethnic cleansing of Georgia. They felt that Putin's bold aggression announced a stronger and more vital Russia, based upon fossil fuel wealth, than the sick man of the Urals many westerners have grown accustomed to. Sadly for Russophiles, the truth of Russia's resurrection and rebirth has been grossly exaggerated.
Recent decades, most notably since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, have seen an appalling deterioration in the health of the Russian population, anchoring Russia not in the forefront of developed countries but among the most backward of nations.

....According to U.N. figures, the average life expectancy for a Russian man is 59 years -- putting the country at about 166th place in the world longevity sweepstakes, one notch above Gambia....Three times as many Russians die from heart-related illnesses as do Americans or Europeans, per each 100,000 people.

Tuberculosis deaths in Russia are about triple the World Health Organization's definition of an epidemic, which is based on a new-case rate of 50 cases per 100,000 people.

Average alcohol consumption per capita is double the rate the WHO considers dangerous to one's health.

About 1 million people in Russia have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, according to WHO estimates.

Using mid-year figures, it's estimated that 25 percent more new HIV/AIDS cases will be recorded this year than were logged in 2007.

...On the other end of the lifeline, the news isn't much better. Russia's birth rate has been declining for more than a decade, and even a recent increase in births will be limited by the fact that the number of women age 20 to 29 (those responsible for two-thirds of all babies) will drop markedly in the next four or five years to mirror the 50 percent drop in the birth rate in the late 1980s and the 1990s. And, sadly, the health of Russia's newborns is quite poor, with about 70 percent of them experiencing complications at birth. _WaPo
The demographics of Russia is all wrong, if the Bear wishes to defend its vast and rich territory. As the population of Russians shrinks, neighbors in Muslim Central Asia and China gaze hungrily at the increasingly poorly guarded wealth.

China certainly has the population to move into the empty Russian steppe. And the CCP leaders are building a formidable military--not just talking about it like Putin. By the time the death of Russia becomes glaringly apparent to even the most chauvinistic Russophile, China will be ready to make one of its moves to expand its territory and resources. America is also in China's sights. But Russia is closer, and will soon be a softer target.
“Chinese military modernization is proceeding at a rate to be of concern even with the most benign interpretation of China’s motivation.” That’s for sure. China discloses only a small part of its military budget, but the trend of expenditures is clear. This year will see the 18th announced double-digit increase in military spending in the last 19 years. _PJM
China and Russia have assisted each other in countering American diplomatic efforts internationally. But their alliance reminds one more than a little, of the alliance between Hitler and Stalin. We remember how that turned out.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Markku said...

Very interesting analyses you have. I agree that Russia faces big problems in the long term. Given that Russia and imperialism are inseparable, a weaker Russia is a blessing for its neigbors.

But I will always keep in mind that there is a certain kind of American jingoist spin to your writings.

Tuesday, 07 October, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes, of course. Fair enough. Or you could write it down also.
;-)

Tuesday, 07 October, 2008  
Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

I have a hard time visualizing how this will play out. Actual military conquest of Russia, even a mostly depopulated Russia, would at the very least make it hard for Chinese companies to avoid bad feelings world wide and at worst bring a more military response from other nations. Then they would constantly have to deal with the disgruntled remnant minority Russians.

Exporting people to the region as migrants would have the drawback for the Chinese state of them being impossible to regulate and tax once they are beyond their borders. And if China's natural fertility (hard to measure due to the current population controls) is falling the way it does in other nations which undergo the classical demographic transition, they may not want large numbers of their citizens leaving their jurisdiction.

Maybe it would work like a reversed Georgian maneuver where China makes a deal with some ethnic minorities who, by themselves have no chance of gaining independence, having them start something, and then going into Russian territory on the pretense of stopping Russia's oppression only to set up a client state. It would not shield them from all criticism but if they have superior propaganda efforts they could probably minimize the damage to their international status, depending on what it is like at the time when this all goes down.

Tuesday, 07 October, 2008  
Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

Personally, I like American jingoist spin. I find it refreshing. I also like diet American jingoist spin but you have to get used to the taste of the aspartame.

Tuesday, 07 October, 2008  
Blogger Markku said...

Personally, I like American jingoist spin. I find it refreshing. I also like diet American jingoist spin but you have to get used to the taste of the aspartame.

Heh, American jingoist spin is but one item out of the vast global smorgasbord of similar items available. I have no problem with it. :) Carry on.

Tuesday, 07 October, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Baron, think about how Albanians took over Kosovo. Think about how Mexicans took over Los Angeles. Think about how the Chinese are taking over the cities of far eastern Siberia. Think about how muslim immigrants are taking over more and more cities in Europe.

Immigration plus procreation. No muss, fuss, or international conflict. It just happens.

Thursday, 09 October, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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