Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: Russia is dying and Islamists will grab parts of the carcass
Posted on 10/30/2005 11:04:36 AM PST by Dundee
Mark Steyn: Russia is dying and Islamists will grab parts of the carcass
REMEMBER the months before 9/11? The new US President had his first meeting with the Russian President. "I looked the man in the eye and found him very straightforward and trustworthy," George W. Bush said after two hours with Vladimir Putin. "I was able to get a sense of his soul." I'm all for speaking softly and carrying a big stick, but that's way too soft.
Some experts started calling Vlad the most Westernised Russian strongman since Peter the Great and cooing about a Russo-American alliance that would be one of the cornerstones of the post-Cold War world.
It's not like that today.
From China to Central Asia to Ukraine, from its covert efforts to maintain Saddam in power to its more or less unashamed patronage of Iran's nuclear ambitions, Moscow has been at odds with Washington over every key geopolitical issue, and a few non-key ones, too, culminating in Putin's tirade to Bush that the US was flooding Russia with substandard chicken drumsticks and keeping the best ones for itself. It was a poultry complaint but indicative of a retreat into old-school Kremlin paranoia.
Russia's export of ideology was the decisive factor in the history of the 20th century. It seems to me entirely possible that the implosion of Russia could be the decisive factor in the 21st century.
As Iran's nuclear program suggests, in many of the geopolitical challenges to the US, there's usually a Russian component in the background.
In fairness to Putin, he's in a wretched position. Russia is literally dying. From a population peak in 1992 of 148 million, it will be down to below 130 million by 2015 and thereafter dropping to perhaps 50 or 60 million by the end of the century.
The longer Russia goes without arresting the death spiral, the harder it is to pull out of it, and when it comes to the future, most Russian women are voting with their foetus: 70 per cent of pregnancies are aborted. A smaller population needn't necessarily be a problem but Russia is facing simultaneously a huge drain of wealth out of the system.
Add to that the unprecedented strains on a ramshackle public health system. Russia is the sick man of Europe, and would still look pretty sick if you moved him to Africa. It has the fastest-growing rate of HIV infection in the world. By 2010, AIDS will be killing between 250,000 and 750,000 Russians every year. It will become a nation of babushkas, unable to muster enough young soldiers to secure its borders, enough young businessmen to secure its economy or enough young families to secure its future. True, there are parts of Russia that are exceptions to these malign trends. Can you guess which regions they are? They start with a "Mu" and end with a "slim".
So the world's largest country is dying and the only question is how violent its death throes are. Yesterday's Russia was characterised by Winston Churchill as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Today's has come unwrapped: it's a crisis in a disaster inside a catastrophe. Most of the big international problems operate within certain geographic constraints: Africa has AIDS, the Middle East has Islamists, North Korea has nukes. But Russia's got the lot: an African-level AIDS crisis and an Islamist separatist movement sitting on top of the biggest pile of nukes on the planet.
Of course, the nuclear materials are all in "secure" facilities: more secure, one hopes, than the supposedly secure public buildings in Nalchik that the Islamists took over with such ease two weeks ago. They also killed a big bunch of people.
Poor old Russia is awash with resources but fatally short of Russians and, in the end, warm bodies are the one indispensable resource.
What would you do if you were Putin? What have you got to keep your rotting corpse of a country as some kind of player?
You've got nuclear knowhow, which a lot of ayatollahs and dictators are interested in.
That's the danger for America: that most of what Russia has to trade is likely to be damaging to US interests. In its death throes, it could bequeath the world several new Muslim nations, a nuclear Middle East and a stronger China.
Russia's calculation is that sooner or later we'll be back in a bipolar world and that, in almost any scenario, there's more advantage in being part of the non-American pole.
In 1989, with the Warsaw Pact crumbling before his eyes, poor old Mikhail Gorbachev received a helpful bit of advice from the cocky young upstart on the block, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: "The Islamic Republic of Iran, as the greatest and most powerful base of the Islamic world, can easily help fill up the ideological vacuum of your system."
In an odd way, that's what happened everywhere except in the Kremlin. As communism retreated, radical Islam seeped into Afghanistan and Indonesia and the Balkans. Crazy guys holed up in Philippine jungles and the tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, who would have been Marxist fantasists a generation or two back, are now Islamists: it's the ideology du jour. And, despite Gorbachev turning down the offer, it will be Russia's fate to have large chunks of its turf annexed by the Islamic world.
We are witnessing a remarkable event: the death of a great nation not through war or devastation but through its inability to rouse itself from its own suicidal tendencies. The ideological vacuum was mostly filled with a nihilist fatalism. Churchill got it wrong: Russia is a vacuum wrapped in a nullity inside an abyss.
If women in the US weren't abortion their babies, we'd have a good stable population without mass immigration. Without immigration we'd be losing population because of abortion. This is not good.
Correction - if women in the US weren't ABORTING their babies.
There is no easily recoverable oil in Siberia.
Lots of land...Russia admits they already have a large illegal group of Chinese in Siberia.
"Everyone likes to bash immigration to the US. But immigration means GDP growth."
Illegal or not, the immigrants here work very hard. That is why they came to the U.S. Directly or indirectly they bolster the nation's economy.
I can't say the same for those who come to Europe, where they can live off the Socialist system. That France is virtually supporting these terrorists infuriates me (and a number of French people, as well).
This is just my opinion -- and I'm not an expert in either economics or international affairs. But when I see Europe, I see a very depressive environment.
I disagree with Mark Steyn totally. He could have said the same thing about any European country. Anyway, I see 50% of women today are pleasure seeking, men hating, sel-fish bisexual lesbians with another 25% today just wait for the artificial womb. Leaving 25% traditional couples having 1 to 4 kids at the most.
(3rd world and 1st world women over 40 not included.)
Future Home Depot and Wal*Mart stores will sell Super State run IFRD ready, DNA programmed, cradle to grave designer fetus factories babies to all sexual "need-a-baby" couples.
Can't wait for the movie..."The End of Pregnancy"
About a stronger China, well Bill Clinton gave them the BOMB and Rocket technology for campaign contributions and U.S. Corporation favors.
The crazy Muslims are encircled with US Military Bases and could be destroyed at any time.
I guess were out of Saudi today but Syria and Iran are soooooooo close to being attacked from within and without.
I like the map if true it's good info. Google image is great but the site I didn't look at.
more abortions than births. poverty. alcoholism. abysmal state run health care. only about 15% of the population approaching child bearing age are "healthy"
Is Steyn out to become the new Nyquest?
Explain to me, please, how he has a good grasp. Outside of ignoring a surge in births that has been going on for the past 5 years (guess it doesn't fit his argument to well), how does he come up with a number of 130 million? It's not even straight line projections. Yes, the Russian population has fallen off from 148 to 143 million this year, that's a fall of 5 million in 13 years but yet Steyn predicts a drop of 13 million in 9 more years? Sorry that alone doesn't pass the smell test.
Furthermore, the main reason for the drop off and the reason the average lifespan has now rebounded is that with the collapse of the health system in the 1990s, the WW2 generation started a massive die off, which is now ending. Furthermore, immigration was also a major factor, but with a rebounding economy and new opportunities, that is also changing. Furthermore, there is an influx from Ukraine, Belaruss, Africa and Central Asia.
What? Steyn is a bold faced liar and propagandist. The Kanook needs to get out of the cold, it's frosted his brain.
Reluctantly, Russia confronts AIDS About 1 million Russians are estimated to be HIV positive - but officials have been slow to boost funding.
So, that's 1 in 143 or about .6%, less then 1% has HIV and he compares this to Africa which has nations with upto 40% infection rates?
Steyn would make any 'journalist' on CBS, ABC or CNN proud.
email@example.com for comments on his commentary
Paid off most of their foreign debts, allowed for lower government taxes which has attracted a large number of heavy industries over the past 5 years which has employeed people while allowing those people to keep the majority of their pay checks (13% flat tax on income, killed sales tax, 1/3 off VAT, 1/2 off payroll, 24% corporate rate, 14% corporate rate for high tech). Allowed pensions to go up 200%, allowed all government employees to be paid on time and paid for arrears.
Other then that, it's done absolutely nothing. Why what's your point?
You do realize that Kasparov has some 3% of the population backing him, none of the other opposition parties would ally themselves with him and his entire plan for the nation of Russia is summed up in him giving interviews for Western media name calling Putin and telling the West how dumb Russians are. Except for the left intelligencia (and a small percentage of them at that) no one supports him. Khodorkovsky has a better pull, at 4% then Kasparov and he's in jail.
You know bloody well that what this is is a build up of a case for a protectionist measure to defend Russian chicken farms on the domestic market. Would help if we did some of this ourselves, since the US is practically a net food importer at this point.
Two examples: WE continue to support the House of Saud and give them a free ride, even when they are sponsoring the very people who are killing us, when their college students blow up our soldiers.
London continues to support Islamics, as long as they go somewhere else to kill Christians, Jews and Hindus and then acts dumb founded when they bend the English over also.