Our Next Round of Insanity

c article June 2005, "How Would We Fight China," Robert Kaplan has again drawn a "partial" picture of the future human condition."

He describes the impending "China confrontation" as bigger than the one with Russia in the cold war; which was bigger than the previous one with Germany in WWII.

His assignment was to describe the US response to China's military build up. It was not to connect the dots. I will -- "Our confrontations are getting bigger. " "The consequences are getting bigger."

Germany lost the war, economically was reborn, but today is stagnant. Russia, without firing a shot lost the cold war and may not economically recover. Americans won both. But lost the American dream.

It is now a myth that, "Everyone can make a wonderful life if they work hard." The new truth is (it also applies to the 6 billion global inhabitants) "Those that start with the most, or work the best, or are the luckiest, can take most of what is held by the middle class. The wealthy can also unknowingly take enough from the poor to kill them."

Kaplan fails to report that the outlook for the human condition is bleak, and has not changed for 5 million years.

Germany needed "Lebensraum." Russia needed a place for communism. People need places to live and resources to support themselves as they wish. And there is not enough to satisfy everyone.

China's economic growth, need for more resources, begins a new chapter. They are not starting wars. They are taking resources - economically through their own hard work.

The economic losers act to keep the resources coming their way instead of to China. I think that means us heavy consuming Americans will fight to keep resources from being consumed by others before we consume them.

Kaplan failed to mention that the US population is doubling every 50 years. Our population will be 600 million at mid-century and in 1.2 billion at its close. Since we already consume 25% of the world's resources, when we are four times bigger we could consume them all. Nothing for China to worry about there.

He failed to mention that in the next 30 years, energy costs will rise steeply as cheap supplies diminish. People will slide downward in their well being. Some will not be able to eat, move, or heat their homes.

He failed to mention that these are just more symptoms of an old human problem -- too many people wanting the same things.

I am not voting for saving the trees or the wildlife refuges, or driving smaller fuel efficient cars. These solutions at best only slightly delay our unpleasant destination.

I think Mr. Kaplan forgot to mention that one child per family, a rapidly falling global population, is the only operational solution that produces a different future. He failed to mention that China is the only nation to grasp the importance of this change in procreative behavior.

If the Chinese accomplish rapid population decline, if only partly, (say their population halves once in 50 years, instead of once every 30 years (as it would if one child per family became universal there) in a hundred years, they will have 300 million people as were approaching 1.2 billion. 50 more years, they will be approaching 150 million. We Americans would be squeezing toward 2.4 billion.

Robert Kaplan, is correct on one point, it makes sense for China to build a military force. How else are they going to protect their supply lines and keep out the great white hordes.


Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to: Alpert@skil.org     www.skil.org      position papers

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