Europe took a century to make the transition to the present demographic winter. Iran has done it in a single generation. Economic catastrophe is inevitable, because the small cohort of today’s children can’t support the huge cohort of their parents’ generation.
Gen. Dempsey may not have gotten the message, but Muslim leaders have. As I wrote in the book:
Muslim leaders show more panic about their own demographic decline than the most despondent Western pessimist. The presidents of Iran and Turkey, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Tayyip Erdogan, both warn of that their nations may be extinguished in a single generation. For the most part, the English-language media has ignored their warnings, but they pervade the Turkish- and Persian-language press and blogs. The sense of impending doom that pervades much of the Muslim world makes these countries dangerous and unstable. The risk to world security is not the gradual triumph of Islam by demographic accretion, but an era of instability, social breakdown, and aggression impelled by despair.
Iran’s Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, warns that national extinction will be the result of his country’s collapsing birth rate. On September 10, 2010, the Iranian president declared during a meeting with officials in Alborz province,
“Two children” is a formula for the extinction of a nation, not the survival of a nation . . . The most recent data showing that there are only 18 children for every 10 Iranian couples should raise an alarm among the present generation . . . . This is what is wrong with the West. Negative population growth will cause the extinction of our identity and culture. The fact that we have accepted this places us on the wrong path. To want to consume more rather than having children is an act of genocide. [i]
The Persian-language site Javan Online quoted President Ahmadinejad and also cited sociologist Majid Abhari warning of a “tidal wave of elderly” due to “decreased fertility” coming in the next few decades, leading to “workforce reduction and higher social insurance and medical costs due to an overwhelmingly elderly population.”
Iran is running out of people, and it is running out of oil, and it will run out of oil just about when it most needs the revenue to support the retirement of its own “baby boom” of the 1960s and 1970s. That is why Iran has a rational reason to take risks that might seem insane and self-destructive to countries less beset by existential risks.
Adolf Hitler thought just the same way in 1939, as I reported in a Feb. 3 post on this blog. The whole civilized world underestimated him, too. It’s time to tell the snipers to take their best shot.