Monday, May 23, 2011

The long view

I'm not a big fan of decades-long demographic projections, but this analysis is quite thought-provoking. According to UN data, if current fertility rates remain constant, Israel will have more young people by the end of this century than Turkey, Iran, Germany, Italy or Spain.

The author of the analysis suggests that these trends will have a direct impact on the Mideast regional military balance:

"if present trends continue, Israel will be able to field the largest land army in the Middle East. That startling data point, though, should alert analysts to a more relevant problem: among the military powers in the Middle East, Israel will be the only one with a viable population structure by the middle of this century.

That is why it is in America's interest to keep Israel as an ally. Israel is not only the strongest power in the region; in a generation or two it will be the only power in the region, the last man standing among ruined neighbors."

Israel is already an economic powerhouse, whether you're measuring GDP growth, patent applications or venture capital. It also rates on the cheerfulness scale: according to a recent Gallup poll, a higher percentage of Israelis than Americans consider themselves to be thriving.

So what does this all mean? Hey, I don't know - except that Israelis, despite all their problems, are up, not down. No wonder their neighbors (and dwindling Europe) dislike them so much. (Thanks to Richard Landes.)

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