China and Russia’s Coming Collapse

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryAs Russia’s bloody war in the Ukraine escalates, it is becoming clear that Russia’s once vaunted military is not as good as it had made itself out to be. An operation by the Russian military which had estimated would only take days is now going on into its second week with an estimated loss of thousands of Russian soldiers. But there is another aspect which even the Russian leadership and its military has not seen—the decline of the Russian population. In a future period of a generation or a little more, Russia’s population will shrink even further than it did from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Taking a look at how many Russians were born between 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, and 2004, the number of people born in that period of time had shrunk considerably. From this demographic, few men of conscription age were born, and only recently has the Russian population after 2004 stabilized. At most, from this demographic, the Russian military might be able to draft two million into the armed force. However, this force even at its height will not be able to hold a Russia attempting to build an empire. While Russia might be able to conquer the Ukraine, it will have serious trouble holding onto it. In the end, Russia will either have to let the Ukraine go or probably put in half its armed forces to keep it.

This will leave only one million troops to fight or counter any actions by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which will have a combined force of 3.5 million troops. When you look at it, in many ways the bludgeoning of Russia’s military and its economy will in fact suit both the United States and the European Union since it will mean that Russia may not have enough military personnel or resources to hold that vast country together. China will have an even bigger problem. I am sure they are looking on the sidelines on how all this is playing out for Russia. China’s population growth has not only stopped, but now it has the largest aging population in the world. Worse, there will not be anywhere near the number of young people to replace the old population that will die out. This means that China’s military is more vulnerable to losing people since its chances of replacing the number of young people killed will be worse than that for Russia.

Making it even tougher for China, it is surrounded by nothing but enemies. Countries like Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and the Philippines have nothing but animosity for China, and any military action that China might initiate will mean that China could be attacked when least expected by any of these countries. One other factor is that Japan, South Korea and the Philippines are allies of the United States so this would bring the Chinese military into direct conflict with America. At this point China is already having an economic conflict with the United States, so a war would totally kill their export-oriented market and bring the Chinese economy crashing down.

Is it to say that China would not try an invasion of Taiwan? Like what Russia is finding out now, it may not be worth the attempt. But the demographic decline of China and Russia may be a trend leading to something more ominous; the total collapse of these two countries from within in a generation. The Chinese government sees this issue, and has encouraged its people to have as many offspring as possible. Again the problem is it may be too late. No one can predict the future, but if these trends hold, then the whole world may have to worry more about the collapse of China and Russia than their expansionist aims.

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