The October Thing #8 – Terror and Transition – October 14, 2011

Terror and Transition

Believe it or not, all the statistics show a very peaceful world, low world-casualty-rates and few wars. The major looming problem is starvation, not war. Our focus, strangely, is not on starvation but on the few thousand deaths each year by terrorists/patriots. They came in all flavors: Irish, Islamic, Tamil, Korean, Christian, Shining Path, whatever. But it is worth noting that, in spite of worsening world economic conditions, terrorism is on the downswing. For a while, the West worried about Sunni suicide bombers, but the Sunnis are catching on that it’s counter-productive. Then we worried about Iran-cloned Shiite groups—Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.—but, as of 2011, they are losing steam as well.

Iran has by far the largest army in the Middle-East and could now easily overwhelm any of its neighbors—if it wanted to. Iran might covet Saudi Arabia, but Iran is now extremely worried about trying to supply—even feed—its large population, especially as the oil begins to run out. In a region of high fertility rates (Saudi Arabia 3.8; Pakistan 4.0) Iran’s outstanding birth control program has resulted in a fertility rate of 1.8, lower than Sweden, Norway, or Britain. Iran would like to evolve into a rich, developed country like Germany (1.4), Japan (1.4), or Canada (1.7).

Meanwhile, the countries of the Maghreb that are overthrowing their dictators by revolutions have fertility rates that are beginning to approach European levels: Tunisia 2.1; Libya 2.7; Egypt 2.9. Meanwhile, Turkey (2.1) and Morocco (2.4) are well on the way to developed status.

The Western Hemisphere should see even less violence when the young-male population drops. Only a few countries have fertility rates over 3 (Guatemala, Honduras) with Mexico down to 2.2 and Chile and Brazil down to an astounding 1.9. If we can hang on for 20 years or so, many countries won’t have enough young males to invest in war. Sub-Saharan Africa, however, still has very high birth-rates, which will become very high death rates.