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Aging of U.S., World Powers Will Impact International Security Issues

Demographics weigh in the favor of U.S. retaining its Super Power position.

The United States has a number of advantages in terms of its relations with the other great powers, and demographic trends are among the most important, says Dr. Mark Haas, associate professor of political science at Duquesne University, who has elaborated on his ideas in a chapter of Political Demography: How Population Changes Are Reshaping International Security and National Politics, a top public policy book on Amazon.

Haas, who studies demographics, aging, world power and security, explains that the world's most powerful nations are growing older. While U.S. headlines bring daily news about the impact of aging baby boomers, Haas says, not many writers focus on the security implications of our aging nation. But a nation that spends much energy and money to support retirees can find itself short of resources for other purposes.  The US will face severe constraints in this area, but the other great powers are in even worse shape, so relatively the US comes out ahead.

"The result is that global aging stacks the deck in favor of the continuation of American power dominance," he says.

While the U.S. fertility rate is high enough that even this bulge of baby boomer seniors isn't translating into a quickly rising median age, the potent aging crisis is more virile elsewhere. Other great powers-Japan, Germany, Russia-are all depopulating.

"That means there are fewer Russians, Germans, and Japanese today than yesterday," Haas says. China, which is aging much faster than the U.S., will likely shift mega-resources to care for its aging population. "China is rising, but it will likely plateau before it will overtake us in terms of power capability. In China, the working class will depopulate by about 20 percent in the next 30 years. While the U.S. has a significant increase in the number of people over age 65, it's also creating a lot of workers, more workers than are retiring. That's what makes America unique among the great powers."

The rising states of India, Brazil and Turkey have come to the forefront of the international stage, but in terms of military spending and power, "India is way behind China and China is way behind us," Haas says. "We're talking generations in order for India to even potentially overtake the US."

The youth bulge in Muslim majority countries comes into play, but, "None of them are ever going to rival us in economic output," Haas says. Still, future conflicts will shape up differently. "When the U.S. does act, it will largely act alone and will have fewer available resources. Our traditional allies will not have the wherewithal to help."

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.