Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spengler On Iran And Turkey: Rising Dreams Of Glory And Falling Fertility Rates

David Goldman, who writes a column as "Spengler", has written a new book, How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too), addressing concerns about global shifts in power and influence.

Along the way, Spengler argues that while dangerous, radical Muslims have overstated their case for subjugating the West.

In the introduction to her interview with Spengler, Ruth King writes:

He gets right to the task in the first chapter: ”How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too)” with the disclosure that “The Muslim world is on the brink of the fastest population decline in recorded history.” The media, particularly during the period of Arab uprisings has shown hundreds of thousands of Muslims in their mid- twenties. However, this generation of people who grew up with six or seven siblings opts for smaller families and does not reproduce, while the graying population grows less productive and more dependent as food production dwindles – a prescription for economic collapse. The Moslem world is not alone in this scenario. Europe, both Western and Eastern face similar falling population rates and the same consequences. Goldman predicts that by the end of this century population collapse will affect the entire industrial world.

Islamic culture, Goldman states, has been singularly unsuccessful during the past seven centuries. The Muslim world, according to the author, suffers from a greater loss of traditional values and culture among the young generation where drug addiction and prostitution are more endemic than in Western nations. Furthermore, modern Islam does not promote success in science, art, philosophy or democracy, those institutions which sustain civilization and culture.
In that context, during his interview, Spengler proposes that Iran's actions are in reality propelled not by confidence--but by despair:
RK: Explain the nexus between population collapse and Muslim terrorism and why you think the collapse may actually encourage an increase in terrorism.

DG: It hasn't gone unnoticed by the likes of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan that at current fertility rates, Iran and Turkey respectively will collapse in a generation or so. Erdogan warned in public that Turkey will cease to exist as a nation by 2038—why he chose that year is unclear to me, but it corresponds to what we read in the UN demographic tables. That feeds into their apocalyptic sense of urgency. Iran sees itself as the center of a great recovery of Sh'ia Islam, and Turkey sees itself as the pillar of a new Ottoman Empire. But given their demographics, they have one generation in which to stake their claim. Ahmadinejad and Erdogan recall Adolf Hitler, who thought that the deterioration of the Aryan race was so far advanced that Germany had only one last chance to assert itself. With that sense of historical pessimism, Hitler was willing to stake everything on one roll of the dice. And a country that despairs of its future is capable of unspeakable acts. If Iran obtains nuclear weapons, we should not be surprised if they are detonated in American cities.[emphasis added]
If Spengler is right, the metaphor of "a demographic time bomb" becomes more than just a metaphor--it becomes a race where the US cannot afford to be just a spectator on the sidelines waiting to see how things play out.

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