Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Dying Nations

Asia Times' columnist Spengler argues that championing the cause of Ukraine and Georgia is futile, for in less than 50 years Georgians and Ukrainians will be functionally extinct.

How now? Well, like many post-Communist societies, they aren't having babies. Spengler illustrates his point with UN statistics, showing a 40% or more population decrease projected for Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus.

Russia is facing a demographic challenge as well, but, Spengler notes, "[w]hether Russia survives or not, it still will be a power in 2050 when the Ukraine and Georgia will exist only as obscure PhD topics in linguistics."

He concludes:

I hope that Russia will become a liberal democracy resembling the United States and that it will dispense with men like Vladimir Putin in the future. For it to become a liberal democracy, however, first it must survive, and most Russians today believe that they must be led by hard men to survive. This is not only unpleasant, but tragic.

To influence Russia for the better would take subtlety, skill, as well as good faith; sadly, America has displayed none of these.

Subtlety? Skill? Good faith? An Empire needs not such things, right?


M said...

The even more important question is: after the painful (for people who care) split in the Serbian Radical Party, is there any hope for Serbia and the Serbs when it comes to avoiding the fate described in that article? I was quite shocked by the news of the split, after all some of my Serb friends haven't gone abroad yet and right now, the phrase of a Serb friend living in Washington is sounding more and more relevant. In 2004, he told me that in his opinion in 10 years the Serbs would meet more or less the fate described in that article unless there was a huge reaction, something similar to another Serbian uprising of 1804. Times have changed. I don't even know if such a reaction could be possible today. If the Serbs can't escape the EU's fingers, when will they be able to reclaim Kosovo and Metohija as well as their other lost ancestral lands? Very sad.....

Gray Falcon said...

The Radicals are fracturing because they don't really have a vision of what Serbia should be and where it should go. Neither does Kostunica's DSS.

The Demoncrats and their hangers-on don't really care about Serbia, but they have their orders and execute them; they don't need to think, only obey. This is mistaken for confidence, just as their constant prattle about "EU integrations" is mistaken for vision.

It's not hard to run the country into the ground if you are the only game in town, the proverbial one-eye in the kingdom of the blind. There is much potential in Serbia, but it utterly lacks vision or leadership that could steer it away from the present course of servitude, disintegration and death.

Where is the Church? Too busy infighting over who will be the new Patriarch. Where is the king? Happily being an English banker, role-playing Heir Apparent on the party circuit. It's very sad, really.

Anonymous said...

The split's been a while coming though, hasn't it? When I was in Belgrade a little while ago plenty of people seemed to think that Nikolic's mating dance with the DSS was not just about building a stronger opposition but had at least as much to do with bolstering his own position against the Seselj ideologues.

Now it may be that he can make this work on a pragmatic basis - he's got rid of the backseat driver, and the national-populist wing in Vojvodina seems to be rallying to him. But this comes back to your point - does Toma have any strategic vision? Does Seselj for that matter?

It's beginning to look as if the real secret of the Democrats' success is that there's no opposition. Certainly there's no opposition narrative that sounds halfway attractive.

M said...

Gray Falcon, taking into account that the situation in Srpska (not to mention Krajina, sadly) and in Kosovo and Metohija is even harder to recover, is there any way out? I'm trying my best not to expect any setup in Raska or Vojvodina but to be terribly blunt, I believe it's likely, to say the least. I also expect (it's one of the things for which I do not approve what President Milosevic did) a repeat of the 1993 horrific hyperinflation. I have always been quite uncertain about the handling of the economy under Slobodan Milosevic. Two examples: the 1993 hyperinflation and the scandal here in Italy surrounding the deal for a stake of Telekom Srbija. On the whole, I do respect Slobodan Milosevic. The current regime is never going to do anything good, on the other hand. If Ukraine and Georgia can last 50 more years, what about Serbia, the Serb lands and the Serbs still living there?

Gray Falcon said...

This is always a problem with having a system with a powerful government - it makes conquest easy. All one has to do is subvert the government, as the Empire did in 2000, and the rest is gravy. Milosevic had no vision - until his epiphany in the Hague dungeon, anyway. Djindjic may have had a vision, but he focused first on gaining absolute power. Tadic doesn't have a vision, he just does what he's told. The "liberal" bolsheviks have a vision - it's most accurately described in the novel "Leposava." Seselj also has a vision, but it's as grounded in reality as George W. Bush. And that's it. Everyone else seems to be the "renter of circumstances" as Slobodan Antonic once said. And this at a time when we need both leadership and vision.

M said...

Since both these precious qualities seem to be lost for now in Serbia (the very last hope can be the tougher faction of the Radical Party but Dr. Seselj has to deal with that farcical trial) and maybe all over the Serb lands, do you see any way out, of course besides something like a repeat of the First Serbian Uprising? I mean, in order to reclaim at least Kosovo and Metohija plus Republika Srpska, if not the whole of Krajina.

M said...

The West won't last 40 more years in the current form. Just look at all the hell breaking loose in the banking sector. Just a matter of time before Western Europe is hit just as hard as North America is already being hit. I like to think of that as the perfect punishment for repeatedly perpetrating genocide on the Serbian people during the last 130 years after 489 more years of Ottoman destruction!!

jovan said...

These are all well and good but Srbija has a secret sometimes not so secret weapon.What is that weapon? INAT! I am joking of course.So is some Pan-Slavc idea the solution to this population
problem in all these coutries?(At least the Slavic and Orthodox countries)There was a time when man did not exist on this earth.Not hard to imagine thngs going back to those good old days.

Gray Falcon said...

Well, it's not like making babies is hard. Wanting to make them, keeping them, cherishing them - those seem to be what's hard. It is only the postmodern, nihilistic "culture" encouraged by the welfare state that regards children as a burden or an impediment to enjoyment of life. Demographic decline is a symptom of a spiritually lost society, not the cause of that loss.