One for mother, one for father, and one for the Hidden Imam:

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for a baby boom to almost double the country’s population to 120 million and enable it to threaten the west…

Mr Ahmadinejad said: “I am against saying that two children are enough. Our country has a lot of capacity. It has the capacity for many children to grow in it. It even has the capacity for 120 million people. Westerners have got problems. Because their population growth is negative, they are worried and fear that if our population increases, we will triumph over them.”…

Critics reacted with alarm and said the president’s call was ill-judged at a time when Iran was struggling with surging inflation and rising unemployment, unofficially estimated at around 25%.

Is it? Maybe for a country like France that doesn’t know what to do with its surplus of unemployed young men. But for a rising power like Iran that’s soon to enjoy nuclear leverage over its regional rivals? I bet “Mahdi” can think of some ways to channel their restless energy.

The Saudis are sufficiently worried about Iranian expansionism as to have met recently with Abdul Halim Khaddam, the former Vice President of Syria who’s called publicly for Assad’s overthrow. Word of the meeting “leaked” out, probably at the Saudis’ behest to let Assad know they don’t appreciate Syria becoming an Iranian client state. Which prompts the question, what other provocative gestures will Sunni regimes make to rein in Iran’s influence?

As for the western side of the demography gap, opinion is split between whether repopulation can/will be engineered or whether, as Eric Kaufmann argues, we’ll have to wait for the secular humanists’ genetic lines to peter out so that religious Europeans have the field to themselves once again:

The pivotal question is where the balance lies between religious fertility and religious abandonment in the secular cutting-edge societies of France and Protestant Europe. The population balance in these countries stands at roughly 53 per cent non-religious to 47 per cent religious. My projections, based on demographic differences between the populations and current patterns of religious abandonment, suggest that the secular population will continue to grow at a decelerating rate for three or four more decades, to peak at around 55 per cent. The proportion of secular people will then begin to decline between 2035 and 2045. The momentum behind secularisation in the most secular countries is a reflection of the religious abandonment of the pre-1945 generations, which overwhelmed the fertility advantage of the faithful. The end of apostasy in more recent generations means a population more religious at the end of the 21st century than at its beginning. As in the case of the Mormons or early Christians, demography rather than mass conversion will be the main agent of change.

They don’t have that much time.

Meanwhile, in France, the best-laid plans of the socialist state collide with demographic reality as Mark Steyn laughs sinisterly from the sidelines.

Tags: unemployment