Pakistan in Collapse

The Indian State will survive this, and other, crises. The Pakistani state already does not control its own defense establishment, is not able to limit the export of violence from its borders, and (in a desperate attempt to remain relevent) may pull soldiers who are now monitoring the Taliban.

Stratfor has a good take:

Strategic Motivations for the Mumbai Attack | Stratfor
Now, step back and consider the situation the Mumbai attackers have created. First, the Indian government faces an internal political crisis driving it toward a confrontation it didn’t plan on. Second, the minimum Pakistani response to a renewed Indo-Pakistani crisis will be withdrawing forces from western Pakistan, thereby strengthening the Taliban and securing al Qaeda. Third, sufficient pressure on Pakistan’s civilian government could cause it to collapse, opening the door to a military-Islamist government — or it could see Pakistan collapse into chaos, giving Islamists security in various regions and an opportunity to reshape Pakistan. Finally, the United States’ situation in Afghanistan has now become enormously more complex.

By staging an attack the Indian government can’t ignore, the Mumbai attackers have set in motion an existential crisis for Pakistan. The reality of Pakistan cannot be transformed, trapped as the country is between the United States and India. Almost every evolution from this point forward benefits Islamists. Strategically, the attack on Mumbai was a precise blow struck to achieve uncertain but favorable political outcomes for the Islamists.

Rice’s trip to India now becomes the crucial next step. She wants Indian restraint. She does not want the western Pakistani border to collapse. But she cannot guarantee what India must have: assurance of no further terror attacks on India originating in Pakistan. Without that, India must do something. No Indian government could survive without some kind of action. So it is up to Rice, in one of her last acts as secretary of state, to come up with a miraculous solution to head off a final, catastrophic crisis for the Bush administration — and a defining first crisis for the new Obama administration. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once said that the enemy gets a vote. The Islamists cast their ballot in Mumbai.

It is foolish to trust the Pakistani government, because the Pakistani government is not powerful enough to control what happens in Pakistan.

We should do what we can to strengthen neighbors (Iran, India, China, etc), while coming up with smart policies that will allow us to firewall ourselves and our friends off from the worst of Pakistan’s exports.

75 thoughts on “Pakistan in Collapse”

  1. Michael,

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you can clarify many of the main points, as I can’t see why anyone who does not agree it would come to the same conclusions.

    The entity that calls itself the Government of Pakistan has more power than the others to block our shipments and less reason to do so.

    Why do you think this?

    In the long run, we should keep that umbrella- and our aid to India- up until it is no longer needed to keep India and Pakistan from annihilating each other.

    In other words, you believe that preventing India from using a nuclar deterrant if Pakistan were to launch a successful military assault makes Pakistan less likely to try to launch a successful military assault?

    Why?

    In the short run, offering one country assistance in a potential nuclear war without offering assistance to the other when we’re trying to get help from both countries is asking for the neglected party to find ways to make its displeasure keenly felt by us.

    Again, your use of “party” is ambiguous as vague, as you seem to be referring to a whole constellation of interested Pakisatni and related parties.

    Why do you think this?

    Likewise, to the extent it is true, how is this not an argument to respond affirmative to every demand of any sort placed on us, as refusing may be construed as “asking… the neglected party to find ways to make its displeasure keenly felt by us”?

    Last I heard, the Mumbai assault didn’t even have the approval of the Army and ISI heads.

    Yes, and?

    If neither the civilian government nor the military heads have the power to rule outright, and are threatened by the same enemies, then they have a powerful incentive to cooperate with each other.

    This seems to me to be either uselessly vague or patently false.

    Considering the ISI and military’s traditional support for Islamic extermism, it is hard to see how they are as equally ‘threatened’ as, say, the People’s Party, which saw its prevoius leader assassinated by Islamic extremists.

    The US FDA doesn’t claim to rule the US. It does not conduct diplomacy with foreign powers and make promises on the military’s behalf. Its leaders are not haunted by the legacy of multiple military coups launched against them.

    Your third sentence seems to undercut the argument that you were making with the first two.

    The previous sentence seems to imply that both te USFDA and the ‘Government of Pakistan’ are creatures of more powerful entities within their nations, that they exist at the pleasure of the most powerful entities, and are capable of only empty promises to the extent they presume to guide the more powerful parties.

    But the previous two sentences imply that the USFDA/GOP analogy is a bad one!

    It is hard to make heads-or-tails of your argument here.

    History (and the nightly news) is filled with rulers who were willing to destroy their people to gain or hold power. It’s not hard to believe that one might be willing to save their people to gain power, as well. The key is, does the WSJ’s proposal give them the ability to do that?

    I don’t know what you mean here.

    Well, that check for girls schools would, anyway. But a dramatic and sustained increase in the quantity and quality of their counterinsurgency forces would work even better, in the short run at least.

    Is your argument seriously that we should equally fund Taliban and anti-Taliban forces in Pakistan?

    Unless your first sentence here is completely flip, it seems to be.

    If your first sentence is flip, I’d ask what other sentences exist merely for the humor of their absurdity?

  2. From what I have read of J. Mearsheimer I think he would say rich countries with large populations have the potential to be military powerful and that causes other rich countries on their borders to see them as a threat to their own existence. He points out that Europe, although rich and democratic, reacted with barely concealed alarm at German re-unification (France and others).

    Demographics that might suggest the West has to few young people for Mearsheimer’s theory to be applicable. Pakistan might be an international player in a demographic sense Only two in three babies born in England and Wales are white British
    Sunset in the West . Your Demographic Deathwatch story of the day

    Among all babies born in the UK, 23 per cent had mothers who were born abroad. Whereas British-born women have only 1.7 children each on average, the figure is 3.9 for Bangladeshi-born women in Britain, and almost five for Pakistani-born women.
    By the way, that British-born 1.7 is only kept that high by the significantly higher birth rates of British-born women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent who now account for the main demographic energy in most English cities. Britain’s future will be more Muslim. The only question is how much more…/..Officials think UK’s Muslim population has risen to 2m The Guardian Tuesday 8 April 2008
    “The Muslim population in the United Kingdom may now number as many as 2 million, the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, disclosed yesterday during an official visit to Pakistan…/… The 400,000 increase in the size of the Muslim community in less than seven years demonstrates its position as the fastest growing faith community in Britain, and also reflects the age structure of the community, with more than one-third under the age of 16 at the time of the 2001 census. Outside London, Pakistani Muslims make up more than 43% of the community,

    A Continent of Losers

    figures for 2000, over 10,000 Pakistani nationals obtained entry clearance to join partners who are British citizens; that’s more than the figures for India and Bangladesh combined.
    Strengthening and nurturing family ties remains the single most important factor governing the choice of partners for marriage. This means that the search for brides and grooms leads inevitably to rural Pakistan. According to the Ousley Report, published after the riots in west Yorkshire in 2001, there were about 1,000 marriages a year in Bradford’s Pakistani immigrant community. The majority of these – at least 60 per cent – involved a spouse brought over to Britain from Kashmir. Virtually all of these marriages were to close relatives – probably first cousins, who are considered the perfect match. …In a striking piece of research, the Oxford academic Alison Shaw, suggests that the proportion of marriages involving cousins may have recently increased among the children of the pioneer generation. Her own work in Oxford follows several other academic studies that have looked at what specialists call cosanguineous marriages – they too have noted an upward trend. These studies – which looked at second- and even third-generation marriages in Oxford, and to a lesser extent in west Yorkshire – suggest that cousin-marriages may now account for more than half of all marriages.

  3. Lere,

    Thank you for your commments.

    I am curious, what converted you into a Mearsheimer cheerleader? I’m circling around to my main criticism, which is how Mearsheimer’s combination of obliviousness and obviousness does not seem to me to be naturally attractive.

    Especially given your earlier focus on China, I’m not sure what to make of your post on Britain’s demographic makeup, as China is rapidly approaching the same age structure.

  4. “…China is rapidly approaching the same age structure.”

    Yes someone inquired about Chinese demographics at the forum of ‘Spengler, he’ thinks China is in big demographic trouble, like Iran is (according to ‘Spengler’). Maybe those governments instinctively understand the danger of a youth bulge a la Heinsohn and prefer to ignore the future to rule an aging but stable and placid population.

    If Heinsohn is correct Mearsheimer’s work applied to almost any other nuke capable country except Pakistan is wrong. Maybe there is no danger of security competition involving China directly but, a demographically strong India becoming an economic powerhouse will frighten China and it will need an ally. Enter Pakistan.

    I just don’t know if China can be assessed like other countries considering the economies of scale it has, BBC reported an expected growth of 6% for China this year. Who knows what their objectives are in lowering the birthrate, who knows what the real birthrate is in China as a whole come to think of it.

    While like M.’s book, I’ll concede I haven’t read widely on the subject .

  5. Lere,

    Yes someone inquired about Chinese demographics at the forum of ‘Spengler, he’ thinks China is in big demographic trouble, like Iran is (according to ‘Spengler’). Maybe those governments instinctively understand the danger of a youth bulge a la Heinsohn and prefer to ignore the future to rule an aging but stable and placid population.

    How is domestic pacification (which a greying of the population is) ignoring the future?

    It strikes me that once a country is territorially secure, the regime has more to fear from inside than out.

    If Heinsohn is correct Mearsheimer’s work applied to almost any other nuke capable country except Pakistan is wrong. Maybe there is no danger of security competition involving China directly but, a demographically strong India becoming an economic powerhouse will frighten China and it will need an ally. Enter Pakistan.

    Germany is not in the business of creating Belarus as a nuclear power to counter France. I don’t see why China would shoot itself in the foot by preferring Pakistan over India (now that both China and India have joined the global economy).

    Projecting M. onto the past, when would his theory have predicted something not accounted by other, more accepted, theories?

    I just don’t know if China can be assessed like other countries considering the economies of scale it has, BBC reported an expected growth of 6% for China this year. Who knows what their objectives are in lowering the birthrate, who knows what the real birthrate is in China as a whole come to think of it.

    Certainly there are unknowns. However, a lack of of perfect knowledge encourages hedged bets, not more radical assertions. Thus, our limited knowledge would make me more, not less, skeptical of M.

  6. I don’t see why China would shoot itself in the foot by preferring Pakistan over India (now that both China and India have joined the global economy).

    Well yes but India doesn’t see China as harmlessIndia has long viewed China as its greatest potential military threat; this as the driving force behind its ties with the former USSR in the era of Sino-
    Soviet enmity. Border disputes and China’s relationship with Pakistan,
    especially its military assistance and covert support of Islamabad’s missile and uclear weapons program, have been a constant security concern. These ongstanding tensions have been joined more recently by China’s inroads into urma (Myanmar), which have aroused India’s sensitivity to a Chinese presence in the Bay of Bengal. New Delhi’s recently developed ‘Look East’ policy is driven by this unease over China’s growing influence in Southeast Asia.42 India is the only South Asian state to be a full dialogue partner of ASEAN and a member of ARF, and seeks to counter China’s influence by expanding its political, military and economic ties in Southeast Asia. New Delhi’s hedging strategy, however is distinctly different from that pursued by Japan and ASEAN.43 Whereas the Japanese and Southeast Asian strategies ultimately rely on the United States to offset China’s growing military capabilities, India’s goal is to remain as South Asia’s hegemon and an independent power on China’s periphery. The political and economic aspects of India’s engagement strategy place foremost emphasis on the political component. New Delhi wants to avoid being locked into an antagonistic relationship with Beijing and has therefore sought to diplomatically manage its longstanding border disputes with China. Economically, India’s focus is inward. New Delhi wants to revitalize its economy to provide a strong base for its political ambitions and to ensure internal stability. Despite the political and military initiatives now embraced by Washington and New Delhi, the place of the US in India’s strategy is not as an ally. New Delhi wants a close
    working relationship with Washington, especially access to US military
    technology, doctrine and training, but primarily seeks recognition that India’s hegemonic role in South Asia is in the US interest. At the heart of New Delhi’s strategy is a commitment to establish India as an autonomous regional and global power—not a junior partner in any alliance or security arrangement. Despite China’s constant criticism of US alliances and utilization of Asia

    (now that both China and India have joined the global economy).

    Is that an unalloyed benefit to the West Steingart’s intellectually robust manner of linking political and economic power is a timely reminder that globalisation is not just about opening up the world, but also about creating new powerful blocs. What the Western world refuses to realise is that it is involved in a world war about wealth and power, and that those countries that we have accustomed ourselves to regarding as underdeveloped are now acting systematically and single-mindedly. It is a question of state led attacks on the hegemony of the West by countries that have the humiliations of colonialism fresh in their memories. Steingart calls China and India “the aggressor states”, Europe “the declining states”.

    These “aggressor states” smash the pre-requisites of the European welfare state, in which security is included in the price of goods and services. China and India are, according to Steingart, resolute in not allowing such considerations to make their products more expensive. In the West the unemployed cost money, as they have to be looked after, for China and India they are an asset to the national economy as this reserve army keeps down wages. We have gained a world labour market, and one of the big and dangerous illusions is that there is no connection between the enormous army of migrant workers in China and the car workers at Wolfsburg and Detroit. The supply of labour has suddenly become much greater than the demand, and that will inexorably reduce the price of labour everywhere.

    The Chinese leadership is not governed at all by love of the principles of the market economy. Europe’s opponents are not Chinese Ayn Rand individualists, but state leaderships who, with a combination of market and state control, want to increase their economic, political and military power. For Europe’s part, it is perhaps more a lose-lose situation: both economic and political power are being transferred.

    Most attempts to historically localise the present age have focused on something reaching its end, not on something new beginning. We have for example been post-modern for a number of decades. Another influential interpretation even states that history has come to an end. In his essay from 1989 “The End of History?”, the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama argued that there were no longer any rivals to democratic capitalist society. The fall of communism had made it clear that those who did not choose the liberal capitalist road irrevocably fell behind in economic and technological development and therefore ultimately in military development also. The world was converging on a single political and economic system. This “Fukuyamaism”, as it has come to be called, has shaped the view towards Russia and China. In its blithest form it has aimed to persuade us that all we need to do is to integrate these nations in the global economy, and democratisation will automatically follow on. Wandeln durch Handel (change through trade), as the Germans may say – promoting democracy and promoting profit are said to be two sides of the same coin.

    We have now heard this mantra being repeated for almost 20 years. In that time, Russia has become increasingly authoritarian and stronger and has turned to Great Power politics; the Chinese economy has become a global power factor at the same time as the Communist party has kept its grip on developments and strengthened its legitimacy in the eyes of the population. Either we have underestimated the time it takes to establish a robust democracy, or there is something basically wrong with the suppositions of Fukuyamaism about the relation between the economy and democracy.

    Projecting M. onto the past, when would his theory have predicted something not accounted by other, more accepted, theories?
    That states are primed for offence may explain a few things about Germany’s behaviour as opposed to the US and UK, Mearsheimer has made some bad mistakes about Ukraine wanting nuclear weapons, but he has a point about France and Germany ,why does nobody suggest removing US troops from Europe if not because it prevents security competition between Germany and its nervy NATO ‘allies’

    I think Mearsheimer’s theory can be applied to demographic and economic aggressor states in todays world. Book Review: War for Wealth by Gabor Steingart
    India and Pakistan have interests in common to the extent the West has become their ‘mark’ but they share a border like Germany and France and keep fighting each other that makes me think it unlikely they will ever be on the same side.
    Put M. to one side why will China be in security competition with India?
    The two toughest kids on the block, I guess…Sooner or later they gonna fight. [When asked why World War III started]
    ] from Red Dawn

  7. Lere,

    Thank you for the comment.

    For your convenience, you can use the ‘blockquote’ tag to indent material that you are replying to.

    I will respond at greater length, after you answer the question I previously put to you:

    Projecting M. onto the past, when would his theory have predicted something not accounted by other, more accepted, theories?

    In your response you mention both M.’s previous failed predictions, and your belief that it is a valid theory.

    I am interested in situations in the past where M.’s writings were both different from and better than other, competing theories. The standard for accepting M is that he can add something to the conversation.

  8. I don’t think there is an example of Mearsheimer’s theory being able to predict the actions of states.

  9. Lere,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I think I may see how we are coming from different places.

    I am interested in this subject to the extent I can learn something useful — that is, how I can familiarize myself with ways in which we can predict (and thus, control and improve) things that happen.

    There’s a lot to be said about understanding something in a way that doesn’t generate predictions, but it’s not something I’m particularly interested in.

    Relatedly, I was deeply impressed with Tom Barnett when he took the former approach [1], and somewhat disenchanted with his work when he took the latter [2].

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/05/08/redefining-the-gap-1-prologue.html
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/08/21/the-definition-of-the-functioning-core-and-the-non-integrating-gap.html

  10. Mearsheimer says that when countries don’t act according to his ‘aggressive realism’ it nearly always has unpleasant consequences for them.

    For example his theory would have ‘predicted’ a German attack on France in 1905 when Britain had a weak army and Russia was otherwise engaged.

    While I can’t claim any special prescience for him his thought is a useful antidote to optimism about the global economy abolishing conflicts of interest. John N. Gray is another thinker I like for similar reasons.

  11. Correction: “offensive realism”, ( not ‘aggressive realism’) is what John J. Mearsheimer’s theory is called.

  12. Lere,

    Mearsheimer says that when countries don’t act according to his ‘aggressive realism’ it nearly always has unpleasant consequences for them.

    Perhaps. But if he can’t say how he predicts different and better than something already out there, he does not add anything to the discussion (at least as far as usefulness is concerned).

    For example his theory would have ‘predicted’ a German attack on France in 1905 when Britain had a weak army and Russia was otherwise engaged.

    Realism has been concerned with the balance of power for at least a century (in formal international relations) and probably since The Prince in the history of European thought. How is this different or better than what else is out there?

    While I can’t claim any special prescience for him his thought is a useful antidote to optimism about the global economy abolishing conflicts of interest.

    Indeed.

    However, I tend to feel that this sort of dense (a useful antidote, etc) is a cop-out. I see it offered after an idea has been attacked, as a way of pleading for acceptance based on some political or aesthetic consideration.

    Either offensive realism is different and better than what else is out there, or it’s hardly a useful antidote to anything.

  13. tdaxp sets the bar high, accurate predictions in the real world are so tough that I am happy to get something to help me understand what’s going on. I am still in the market for anything with good predictive power.

    ‘The Tragedy Of Great Power Politics’ does have one big prediction, that if globalisation leads to China becomes an economic giant it will beome involved in security competition with the other great powers (this means big armed forces and nuclear weapons with second strike ability in M.’s book) Mearsheimer doesn’t mention Pakistan but I think it will be China’s ally in this eventuality.

    For example his theory would have ‘predicted’ a German attack on France in 1905 when Britain had a weak army and Russia was otherwise engaged
    Realism has been concerned with the balance of power for at least a century (in formal international relations) and probably since The Prince in the history of European thought. How is this different or better than what else is out there?

    Let me mention an aspect of many other schools of realist thought that Mearsheimer takes issue with: defensive realism. M. thinks maintaining the balance of power is the objective of states only when they are not powerful enough to alter it in their favour and that if they calculate that their power (relative to their rivals) can be increased they take the opportunity to do so. He quotes Stalin: “Everyone imposes their system as far as their army can reach it, can not be otherwise “.

    He also thinks large bodies of water prevent power from being brought to bear. This seems to explain some things about maritime powers; being less capable of conquest and aggression they are less prone to it.
    Mearsheimer points out that if all states want is to be secure and they do not harbour thoughts of increasing their power relative to other states then security problems between them ought not to occur. Gave the theotry a few mentions but I’m not wedded to it. Maybe what is true in Mearsheimer, isn’t new , and what is new isn’t true, like I said, I haven’t read up on the rival theories so I’m not qualified to talk about their strong points.

  14. Lere,

    Thanks for your comment.

    tdaxp sets the bar high, accurate predictions in the real world are so tough that I am happy to get something to help me understand what’s going on. I am still in the market for anything with good predictive power.

    ‘The Tragedy Of Great Power Politics’ does have one big prediction, that if globalisation leads to China becomes an economic giant it will beome involved in security competition with the other great powers (this means big armed forces and nuclear weapons with second strike ability in M.’s book)

    This is also standard Realism. Again, M. deserves no credit for saying what others have said before.

    M. thinks maintaining the balance of power is the objective of states only when they are not powerful enough to alter it in their favour and that if they calculate that their power (relative to their rivals) can be increased they take the opportunity to do so.

    So what is he saying?

    Realists believe there is a balance of power, that the balance brings stability, but that states who have an opportunity to favorably change it in way that does not endanger themselves will try to do so.

    He also thinks large bodies of water prevent power from being brought to bear. This seems to explain some things about maritime powers; being less capable of conquest and aggression they are less prone to it.

    True — offshore powers act as offshower balancers, holding the balance of power and naturally becoming a hegemon as the onshore powers distrust each other.

    Mearsheimer points out that if all states want is to be secure and they do not harbour thoughts of increasing their power relative to other states then security problems between them ought not to occur.

    This is very true. Indeed, before countries are able to rapidly generate their wealth, and are stable in this trait, relative power seems the safest path to security.

  15. The Geopolitics of Sexual Frustration

    A special characteristic of the Chinese demographic decline is an excess of males. India has a young population and an excess of males, if Heinsohn is right we will see a population far more troublesome than the past would lead us to predict especiallty in India.

  16. I assume by this logic, the passivity of 1930s Germany and 1960s Russia was because of the number of young males killed off in previous wars?

  17. “I assume by this logic, the passivity of 1930s Germany and 1960s Russia was because of the number of young males killed off in previous wars?”

    Other factors have to be considered as well. In both the cases you mention, for example, a new generation of males was hitting adolescence. A cause worthy enough to attract married men (extreme ideology plus a chance to avenge a humiliating defeat), ambitious elites and a burgeoning weapons industry could also tip the scales.

  18. The reason I brought it up was to demonstrate that these psychosexual theories of international politics are “just-so” stories [1]. They are great for explaining things after the fact, but worthless for giving you a reliable way of predicting the future.

    Perhaps there is something here, but I have not seen anything to demonstrate that such an approach is useful (that is, allows us to predict the future accurately).

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_So_Stories

  19. China has a lot of experience with extremely unbalanced sexual demographics. When harvests were bad for a couple of years in a row, infanticide of girl babies was an unhappy tradition.

    Did that lead to political instability 15 – 25 years later? I don’t think so but there is a lot that I don’t know about Chinese history.

  20. I assume by this logic, the passivity of 1930s Germany and 1960s Russia was because of the number of young males killed off in previous wars?

    With the death of so many of Germany’s young men during the war, legions of women were faced with the prospect of never marrying. These women began taking jobs as secretaries, sales clerks, and factory work, all of which were traditionally considered “men’s work,” to support themselves. Since male unemployment was rife during the interwar period, resentment grew for single working women, who were perceived as taking away jobs from men with families. Many veterans had difficulty relating to these “new women.” The wives and girlfriends that they left behind during the war did not understand their experiences and were larely uninterested in doing so. Such men tried to escape the domestic sphere and recreate the fraternity of the front by joining paramiliary groups, like the Nazi SA (Stormtrooper) division. Men and women alike were fearful that changing gender roles and the alienation between the sexes would lead to a societal breakdown.

    The political upheaval was in the twenties when there was the highest ever proportion of young men to other ages (not to women) in Germany. The sex ratio being skewed is not the same thing as as Heinsohn talks about at all but lets see what he says about the rise of Hitler

    Youth bulges and violence
    Gunnar Heinsohn – 80 per cent of world history is about superfluous young men making trouble –What is the definition of a youth bulge?
    “There is no commonly accepted definition. The Frenchman who first used the term in 1970 said that a youth bulge existed when 30 per cent of the men in a population were between 20 to 24. I changed it to 30 per cent between 15 and 29. This means that if you take 100 males from a country, then 30 of them will be between 15 and 29.”
    “But remember that this 30 per cent group of young men will not pose any danger if they are hungry or lack education. To be dangerous they must be in good physical and mental shape.”
    Heinsohn emphasises that there are lots of wars and killings in history that do nor emanate from youth bulges. The Hitler movement and the Mussolini movement in the 1920s can be explained as youth bulge phenomena. The early Nazis and Fascists had an average age a bit below 30. The Bolshevik movement in the period around the 1917 Revolution can be described in the same way. But by the time Hitler started WWII, many German families were down to only one son. So Hitler’s attack in 1939 was not a youth bulge phenomenon. Neither was the Holocaust. The killing of the Jews was not caused by young German men wanting to take their positions, even though there are theories that make this claim.
    Nor do the killings organised by the later Marxist-Leninist regimes — that may have killed 100 million people — have anything to do with youth bulges. The Bolshevik revolution in 1917 was driven by millions and millions of farmers’ sons without land — that was a youth bulge event. Stalin’s Gulag, however, does not fall into this category.

    Heinsohn’s Predictions Monday, June 18, 2007, Gunnar Heinsohn: UNRWA policies caused out of control population growth in Gaza

    Had the people of the US multiplied at the same rate as the people of Gaza, the US would have gone from a population of 152m in 1950 to 945m in 2007, more than triple the size of its current population of 301m. It would be
    home not to 31m males between the traditional fighting age of 15 and 29, but to 120m. Faced with such a population explosion, would America’s politicians and cultural organisations be able “to control their men in the streets”?
    Over the next 15 years many more angry young males will roam the streets of Palestine, because of a birth defect of the Arafat-Rabin peace process. A western promise to support all children already born but to cut from international welfare Palestinian children born after 1992, and,
    simultaneously, to stop new Israeli settlements, should have been the first
    step of the Oslo process. As in Algeria or Tunisia, where total fertility
    fell from 7 to below 2 and where terror has ceased, Gaza, in 2007, would
    have seen nearly all of its boys turning 15 as only sons. They would have
    had little incentive to kill their own people or Israelis. Yet today Gaza’s
    total fertility is still close to 6. This demographic armament will continue
    to provide large numbers of young men who have no prospects for employment and no place in society, and whose only hope is to fight for one

  21. Lere,

    The problem of a youth-bulge is perfectly believable, but is a separate issue (as you noted) from an imbalance of males to females.

    If the sex-imbalance theory is not useful, it’s not something I would spend time with.

    Mark in Texas,

    Did that lead to political instability 15 – 25 years later? I don’t think so but there is a lot that I don’t know about Chinese history.

    I can’t find the citation now, but I read recently that the fall of the dynasties of China is associated with bouts of global cooling, which presumably led to mass crop failures. That strikes me as sensible.

  22. “The Tragedy Of Great Power Politics’ does have one big prediction, that if globalisation leads to China becomes an economic giant it will beome involved in security competition with the other great powers (this means big armed forces and nuclear weapons with second strike ability in M.’s book)” (tdaxp)

    Yes, this is known as “Power Transition Theory.” This idea is worth thinking about when contemplating Barnett’s ideas. According to power transition theory, a great power (or alliance of great powers) will challenge the hegemon if they’re unhappy with the status quo. At the same time, the hegemon may start a war first if it feels threatened by a rising great power. Barnett envisions the US and China sharing the status quo, which would hopefully negate the need for great power war. Lets hope he’s right?

    “I can’t find the citation now, but I read recently that the fall of the dynasties of China is associated with bouts of global cooling, which presumably led to mass crop failures. That strikes me as sensible”
    (tdaxp)

    Did this happen around 1300? Because Europe seen a major collapse in living standards due to “the little ice age” that started about 1300. The “little ice age” didn’t fully end until 1850, about the time when the industrial revolution swept across continental Europe.

  23. Seerov,

    I think power transition theory is valid. However, I don’t think we need to import all the baggage of Mersheimer to accept it. However, power transition theory’s been around way longer than Mersheimer’s work [1], so there’s no reason to credit Mersheimer with it.

    I’m not sure what Tom’s take on it is (somethings it’s international trade + nukes ensures peace, othertimes it’s America’s role as a public-service security provider, othertimes it’s urging us not to let the concerns of small democracies drive our security agenda toward larger oil states).

    On the Chinese dynasties…

    Did this happen around 1300?

    Yup! 🙂

    A useful theory allows us to make predictions — like you did!

    The Great Yuan (Mongols) fell to the Great Ming (the last ethnic Chinese dynasty) in 1380.

    Here’s the National Geograph blog’s summary: [2]

    For instance, the first several decades of China’s Northern Song Dynasty, about 960 to 1020 A.D., were marked by a population boom and flourishing rice cultivation. At the same time, the stalagmite record indicates a particularly strong and wet Monsoon, the researchers found.

    On the other hand, the waning days of the Tang (850 and 940 A.D.), Yuan (1350 to 1380 A.D.) and Ming (1580 to 1640 A.D.) dynasties all coincide with weak and dry Monsoon periods. And China’s Era of Disunity (190 to 530 A.D.), an age of civil war and warlord rule, coincides with an equally unstable time for the Monsoon as it varied in strength from decade to decade.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_transition_theory
    [2] http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/news/chiefeditor/2008/11/rise-and-fall-of-chinese-dynas.html

  24. Looks like Mr.Imran Aziz troll here forgot about the surrender of 90,000 pakistani soldiers to the Indian military in 1971 war. Poor americans could not stop India from ripping east pakistan (Bangladesh now) from west pakistan. But the point is, shameless pakistani refugees in christian countries like to talk what they like to hear.

    90,000 pakistani soldiers surrenderd, not 1 or 2. No wonder america hasn’t captured binladen yet.

  25. Bharat,

    Looks like Mr.Imran Aziz troll here forgot about the surrender of 90,000 pakistani soldiers to the Indian military in 1971 war. Poor americans could not stop India from ripping east pakistan (Bangladesh now) from west pakista

    Well said!

    Like other ‘gap’ countries, Pakistan is able to export terror and death, and fund those who do so. But it’s not able to run a functioning state, provide a better future for its citizens, or even (as you mention) prevent its territory from being dismembered by India!

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