The current population of the world is over 7 billion. Of this, China and India’s share is 19 and 17.9 percent respectively; while the US, the global superpower is at 4.4 percent. Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country holds 3.5 percent while Russia, the world’s largest country by landmass houses a mere 1.9 percent. Japan, Europe, and Russia suffer from an aging population while the Muslim nations along with India and China are seeing a growth in their populations. A country’s population can be both an asset and a liability and which way this would work for a country depends entirely on how its demographics are harnessed and its population is mobilized. We have already stated that as the possibilities of conventional warfare in the world will reduce, hybrid warfare is already becoming the norm. An important component of this is demographic warfare. Demographic warfare can be conducted in many ways such as religious conversions, illegal and legal migration (to change voting patterns) and economic suppression. Hence for countries with huge populations, demographic warfare can be used to mobilize their citizens for their strategic gains.
The US with a friendly immigration policy in the past was one of the first countries to harness the immigrant dividend. The US, in the recent times, has also been seeing a growing Hispanic population and this trend is also visible in the 2016 Presidential Elections. Illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America is common on the US’s west coast. Many prominent drug cartels in Mexico are also involved in the same. This has prompted Donald Trump to raise his voice against them. He has further stated that if elected as President, he would build a wall between the US and Mexico. Last week Trump’s San Jose rally saw the burning of the US flag and the waving of the Mexican flag. In the recent times, the EU, fully aware of its aging population and slowing growth, opened its doors to immigrants; though this was targeted more at the blue collar class that would carry out chores the EU found undesirable. Then came the refugee influx from Syria, Yemen and Iraq and Europe today is reeling with huge changes in their society culturally and religiously. We are already witnessing how Europe is being forced to tweak its dress codes and behaviour to accommodate the refugees. In a few decades, most of this refugee population (holding voting rights) will outnumber the native Europeans and create an Europistan. Moreover, as this will happen other Muslim nations may gain a strategic entry and influence in the policy-making of the EU.
Though the US and the EU appear as victims above, they are complicit with the church in facilitating aggressive conversions in Africa and Asia. The Catholic and Protestant Church do not have a stronghold in Asia and entry in this highly populous region is crucial for its survival. The Catholic Church has always used its stature to act as a power broker between countries and influence policy formulation. We have discussed the Greater Nagaland Project in one of our previous articles. In Asia, China does not permit conversions, and this makes India very attractive to the missionaries. The decade from 2004-14 under India’s UPA Government saw very aggressive Christian conversions despite it being against India’s secular constitution. In the recent times, as India is cracking down on illegal and forced conversions, the US via its USCIRF is accusing India of intolerance for its religious minorities. Pakistan’s ISI has been encouraging illegal immigration in India’s Northeast to create a Hindu-Muslim divide changing demographic scenario of several Indian states like Assam, West Bengal, Bihar etc. since last four decades. The aim of all this is to drive a wedge between India’s vast skilled population on religious and sectarian lines, so India is unable to harness its demographic dividend so that other countries can become influencers via their proxy organizations. It is indeed ironical that India, the second largest populous nation in the world has been the victim of demographic warfare and has done absolutely nothing to mobilize its population for its strategic interests. Moreover, India’s policies have always been more about pandering to the religious minorities rather than effectively mobilizing its majority Hindu population who are sidelined for most benefits.
China, on the other hand, is playing the game of demographic warfare quite well. China has consistently built up the narrative of the glory of its imperial past under the Han Dynasty to mobilize its majority Han population. It is encouraging a mass migration of the Han in its crucial Xinjiang province and Tibet to control the Uighurs and Tibetans respectively who are seeking independence from China. China is also ensuring that all the economic growth in Xinjiang (that connects it to Central Asia) is harnessed by the Han and not the Uighurs. The Chinese strategy seems to revolve on the lines of- take care of the majority, and the majority will take care of the minority themselves. Simultaneously, China is also preventing religious practices in Xinjiang to prevent Uighur mobilizations which also appeals to its majority Han atheist population. It is also encouraging settlement of its people in various other countries where it has strategic interests, fully aware that it has time and population on its side which most countries do not. Russia, once an equally powerful country as the US, is also suffering from an aging population. Russia’s significant population in Crimea makes it the largest ethnic group. In the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, even if Ukraine completely makes a westward tilt, this population will ensure that strategically important Crimea always remains under the Russian influence. 17.3% of Ukraine’s population identified themselves as ethnic Russians during the 2001 Ukrainian census, a majority of them are in East Ukraine, which is seeking greater autonomy with covert Russian backing. Reports suggest that East Ukraine will soon be adopting the Russian Rubel, and its 3 million residents are likely to be acquiring Russian passports. While Russia may be able to secure its interests in Crimea and East Ukraine, the China’s growing economic influence in Central Asian countries will soon bring a security situation on the Russian borders.
We are gradually witnessing that with globalization, the concept of a borderless world is gaining new definitions. Geographical distances and lack of homogeneity of cultures and religions are no longer impediments for countries who wish to increase their global influence. For India and China, their population is an excellent tool to export their India First and One China policy respectively. For the US and the EU, domination of these two Asian powers would mean a dilution of their powers. Moreover, the clout of the church is decreasing which impacts the western powers. This was also evident when the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church Pope came together after over a 1000 years to fight for their fellow Christian brothers. Moreover, the Vatican recently also called communist China a wise country, completely in contravention to World War 2 when the Church facilitated the safe passage of the Third Reich through their Ratlines in their fight against the “Godless Communists”. The growing population in Islamic countries also proves a threat to the dominance of the Church.
Thus, in the times to come, we are going to see dirtier games of demographic warfare from religious institutions, and countries through their intelligence agencies and other (read terror, NGO, and missionary) proxies as they attempt to stay relevant. Despite, Chinese crackdowns on religious conversions, more than 6 percent of China is now Protestant while China’s Confucius Institutes are growing in Christian dominated Latin America. Migration trends in the world are only going to increase. This is a different type of warfare, where guns are replaced by people, but a strategic battle all the same.The question that comes to mind is- when a country starts having a mixed bag of nationalities, ethnicities, and religions in its demographics; what will really determine its sovereignty?