CIA warns of un­rest as Rus­sia pop­u­la­tion dips

The Washington Times Weekly - - Front Page - By Bill Gertz

Rus­sia’s de­clin­ing pop­u­la­tion will re­quire Moscow to im­port for­eign work­ers, in­creas­ing racial and re­li­gious ten­sions in the for­mer su­per­power that still has thou­sands of nu­clear weapons, CIA Di­rec­tor Michael V. Hay­den said.

Mr. Hay­den, an Air Force gen­eral, also said in a speech in Man­hat­tan, Kan. April 30 that dif­fer­ences be­tween the U.S. and Euro­pean gov­ern­ments over the Iraq war and the war on ter­ror­ism could di­vide the tra­di­tion­ally strong trans-At­lantic al­liance sys­tem.

China’s na­tional goals and its mil­i­tary buildup also pose chal­lenges for the U.S. in com­ing years, and China will turn “ad­ver­sar­ial” un­less Bei­jing plays a more con­struc­tive role in world af­fairs, Mr. Hay­den said at Kansas State Univer­sity.

On Rus­sia, Mr. Hay­den warned that Rus­sia is fac­ing “de­mo­graphic stress” with a pop­u­la­tion that will de­cline by 32 mil­lion in the next 40 years, al­most one-fourth its cur­rent pop­u­la­tion of 141 mil­lion.

“To sus­tain its econ­omy, Rus­sia in­creas­ingly will have to look else­where for work­ers,” he said, not­ing that world de­mo­graphic trends — most fu­ture pop­u­la­tion growth will oc­cur in poor and Mus­lim coun­tries — means th­ese work­ers will in­crease eth­nic con­flict.

Some im­mi­grants will be Rus­sians from the for­mer Soviet states. But oth­ers will be Chi­nese and non-Rus­sians from the Cau­ca­sus, Cen­tral Asia and else­where, po­ten­tially ag­gra­vat­ing Rus­sia’s al­ready un­easy racial and reli-

gious ten­sions,” he said.

U.S. intelligence of­fi­cials called Rus­sia’s long-term de­mo­graphic out­look “bleak,” with the com­bi­na­tion of an in­creas­ing death rate and fall­ing birth rate caus­ing the pop­u­la­tion to de­cline by an ex­pected 10 mil­lion peo­ple by 2020.

“The work­ing age-group will be hit par­tic­u­larly hard,” one U.S. of­fi­cial said.

Rus­sian men die on av­er­age by age 58 and about 62 per­cent of men smoke, while the av­er­age Rus­sian man con­sumes 15 liters of pure al­co­hol an­nu­ally. About 20 per­cent of the mor­tal­ity rate for men is due to un­nat­u­ral causes such as al­co­hol poi­son­ing, sui­cide, homi­cide and trans­porta­tion ac­ci­dents, the of­fi­cials said.

Women av­er­age 1.2 abor­tions per one birth in Rus­sia, and for ev­ery 10 mar­riages, six end in di­vorce. Since the 1990s, only about one-third of Rus­sian chil­dren are born healthy and 13 per­cent of live births die by age five.

Rus­sia is fac­ing an in­crease in racially mo­ti­vated crimes against those con­sid­ered non-Rus­sians. Na­tion­al­ist and neo-Nazi groups have been blamed for killings of Uzbeks and other work­ers from for­mer Soviet re­publics in the Cau­ca­sus and Cen­tral Asia. The hu­man rights group Sova Cen­ter said 53 peo­ple were killed and 160 wounded in hate crimes in Rus­sia this year. By con­trast, 17 such killings were recorded in the first four months of 2007.

Crit­ics say the ex­trem­ist sen­ti­ments are the re­sult of Moscow’s turn away from democ­racy and to­ward au­thor­i­tar­ian rule, un­der Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and his suc­ces­sor Dmitry Medvedev.

The se­cu­rity of Rus­sia’s nu­clear arse­nal and the prospect of weapons fall­ing into the hands of Mus­lim ter­ror­ists in the event of a ma­jor eth­nic con­fla­gra­tion or break­down of Krem­lin author­ity has been a ma­jor West­ern se­cu­rity con­cern since the end of the Cold War.

On Europe, Mr. Hay­den said in his speech that a “trans-At­lantic di­vide” could emerge over dis­agree­ments be­tween Europe and the U.S., which he called “only symp­toms of an un­der­ly­ing shift brought about by the end of the Cold War.”

He cited the dif­fer­ences be­tween the U.S. and Europe on ter­ror­ism and re­lated mat­ters of intelligence and law-en­force­ment sys­tems — sub­jects on which the U.S. and Europe share a com­mon lib­eral demo­cratic tra­di­tion.

“The truth is, nearly two decades af­ter the fall of the Ber­lin Wall, Amer­ica and Europe still are grap­pling with how best to man­age the se­cu­rity risks of the post-Cold War world,” he said. “So, for ex­am­ple, while we share the view that ter­ror­ism is an ur­gent dan­ger, we dis­agree on how best to con­front it.”

“The United States be­lieves it is a na­tion at war — a war that is global in scope, and re­quires, as a pre­con­di­tion for win­ning, that we take the fight to the en­emy, wher­ever he may be,” Mr. Hay­den said.

In con­trast, most of Europe views ter­ror­ism as an in­ter­nal prob­lem with so­lu­tions to be nar­row mat­ters on do­mes­tic se­cu­rity.

“When there is a di­rect threat to their peo­ple or in­ter­ests, Euro­pean gov­ern­ments work with each other and their al­lies, in­clud­ing the United States, to dis­rupt it,” he said. “But they tend not to view ter- ror­ism as we do — as an over­whelm­ing in­ter­na­tional chal­lenge. Or if they do, we of­ten dif­fer on what would be ef­fec­tive and ap­pro­pri­ate to counter it.”

Di­ver­gent views on threats and tac­tics will likely im­pact U.S.-Europe re­la­tions for the rest of the cen­tury, Mr. Hay­den said.

“Man­ag­ing the dis­agree­ments and ten­sions that arise in the ab­sence of a uni­fied vi­sion will com­pli­cate what has tra­di­tion­ally been Amer­ica’s eas­i­est re­la­tion­ship,” he said.

On China, Mr. Hay­den said that while dif­fer­ing views ex­ist on China’s di­rec­tion and mo­ti­va­tions, he views China as a com­peti­tor not an “in­evitable en­emy.”

“There are good pol­icy choices avail­able to both Wash­ing­ton and Bei­jing that can keep us on the largely peace­ful, con­struc­tive path we’ve been on for al­most 40 years now,” he said.

China’s rapid and large-scale mil­i­tary buildup is based on Bei­jing’s un­der­stand­ing of U.S. mil­i­tary ac­tion in both Per­sian Gulf wars, and the de­vel­op­ment of ad­vanced weaponry, he said.

“While it’s true that th­ese new ca­pa­bil­i­ties could pose a risk to U.S. forces and in­ter­ests in the re- gion, the mil­i­tary mod­ern­iza­tion is as much about pro­ject­ing strength as any­thing else,” he said, not­ing that China is “de­ter­mined to flex its mus­cle” through mil­i­tary power.

The buildup is “trou­bling,” he said, “be­cause it re­in­forces longheld con­cerns about Chi­nese in­ten­tions to­ward Tai­wan.”

China’s global be­hav­ior is “fo­cused al­most ex­clu­sively on nar­rowly de­fined Chi­nese ob­jec­tives,” Mr. Hay­den said.

“We saw that in the coun­try’s deal­ings with Su­dan, where pro­tec­tion of its oil in­ter­ests was paramount,” he said.

Dur­ing a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion af­ter the speech, Mr. Hay­den ac­cused Iran’s gov­ern­ment of fa­cil­i­tat­ing the killing of U.S. troops in Iraq by its covert sup­ply of arms and ex­plo­sives to in­sur­gents.

He also said Is­lamic ter­ror­ists con­tinue plot­ting at­tacks against the United States from safe havens in north­ern Pak­istan, in­clud­ing the pos­si­ble use of nu­clear de­vices. He added that a prim­i­tive bomb that dis­perses ra­dioac­tive ma­te­rial, the so-called “dirty bomb,” is “more within the tech­ni­cal reach” of ter­ror­ists than a con­ven­tional nu­clear blast.

Astrid Riecken / The Wash­ing­ton Times

White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolton, cen­ter, joined a na­tional com­mem­o­ra­tion con­ducted by the United States Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Mu­seum inside the U.S. Capi­tol Ro­tunda on May 1.

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