Demographic Dangers & Declining Birth Rates, Part Seven B: Aging & the Projection of Power.
The rise & decline in the relative power of nations can lead to war, but it can also be averted with the careful application of strategic power & diplomacy by rivals. As birth rates & populations fall across the developed world, will leaders strike while they still can, or will they recede in the face of deterrents?
“…in matters of state, he who has the power often has the right and he who is weak can only with difficulty keep from doing wrong in the opinion of the majority of the world.”
The quote above was one favoured by Sir Percy Cradock, the man who for many, was the architect of the British handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese, even if the final architecture of the deal delivered by Patten was not entirely of his liking. In Cradock’s voluminous hand-written note books he recorded beneath the quote above one from Pope Urban VIII, who said with biting satire, “If there is a God, then Richelieu has much to answer for. If not, then he was a great man! (1)”
In 1907, a senior official from the British Foreign Office asked a very pertinent question at the time; in fact so pertinent was that question that its relevance remains foremost in the minds of foreign policy experts today, more than a 100 years later.
The official’s name was Eyre Crowe, and the question he asked was whether in the early days of the 20th Century the political turmoil that eventually led to WWI was caused by resistance to the inexorable rise of The German Empire following its unification in 1871, or whether specific, unavoidable geopolitical causes erupted as a result of German policies during the pre-war period?
More than 50 years after Crowe, Abramo Organski first predicted the likely rise of China, its potential to disrupt the international security architecture and provoke a likely confrontation with the U.S. as a consequence.