Jan 1, 2001
Demographic shifts are a cause, an effect, and a forerunner of geopolitical shocks and transformations. Examining these shifts is an important step in any strategic assessment of the global security environment. Unfortunately, the demographic community and the strategic and defense communities seldom interact. Providing venues for such interactions is therefore important. For this purpose, RAND sponsored a workshop on Demography and National Security in Paris at the initiative of RAND's Population Matters program in November 2000. The workshop brought together French, American, and other European demographers; senior representatives from the French Ministry of Defense; and researchers, economists, and experts in geopolitics. Revealing differences emerged, both between demographers and national-security experts and also between American and French participants. Different objects of concern surfaced, and contrasting views of phenomena were debated. For example, immigration and its social, cultural, and political impacts tended to be seen in an altogether different light on the two sides of the Atlantic. Americans were more likely to focus on the geopolitical implications outside U.S. borders, while Europeans focused on its domestic implications.