/ Published June 03, 2013
Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics edited by Susan Yoshihara and Douglas A. Sylva. Potomac Books, 2011, 304 pp.
Susan Yoshihara and Douglas A. Sylva, both accomplished scholars, wrote and edited a compilation of works addressing the implications of declining fertility rates, population aging, and the subsequent shrinking of global-power populations. The authors set out to determine the possible effects on global stability—their premise being, great powers with aging and declining populations will generally become geopolitically and militarily less relevant.
The opening chapters provide historical as well as contemporary strategic-level views of the effect demographic shifts have had on great-power states and the events that have influenced them. Subsequent chapters present a detailed perspective on the population dynamics shaping prominent and emerging state powers and the implications going forward. Powers assessed include China, Japan, the United States, India, and Russia, as well as waning European states. These individual examinations also encompass an intraregional relations perspective. The authors give particular consideration to the impact on national defense, the ability to project military power outside of one’s border, and the repercussions these effects have on future domestic and international political policy choices.
An extensive array of significant findings, trends, and influencing activities emerge from this insightful book. I share but a few of them.
This book is substantively rich and fills a void in the literature by shedding light on the military and strategic effects of global aging among state powers. The authors cite sources which fairly represent the most credible scholarly professional works available. It is well articulated, appropriately interwoven, and thorough in research depth and analysis. Conclusions are rigorously supported. This book is a must-read for scholars, academics, military and government agents/experts, and anyone interested in understanding the geopolitical impact of changing populations and demographic shifts.
David A. Anderson, PhD
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
"The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US government or the Department of Defense."