The diversity of demographic questions, depending on whether we speak of the Third World or Europe, finds its reflection in the ambiguity of relationships between Europe and the United States.
a) The United States and the Anglo-Saxon world in general have been pioneers in the area of contraception, sterilization and abortion. The main Malthusian and Neomalthusian theses continue to be widely spread from centers based in the USA or England. These countries have shared with Europe their obsession with "demographic security" regarding the Third World whose expansion they fear very much.
This communal interest leads Europe and the USA to join forces in order to restrict the demographic pressure of the Third World, and they don't hesitate to control international institutions to attain their end. They even seek in the new antagonism between the North and the South the cohesive cement which the previous East-West antagonism no longer assures them.
b) Nevertheless, beyond this community of interests, it appears more and more clear that some wealthier countries of the West wish to prevent the emergence of new rivals, whoever they might be. 1
The Third World in general is, in the end, a potential rival whose emergence must be controlled. Let us mention rapidly two examples.
- first of all China: it "benefits" from an "aid" to demographic control the breadth and effectiveness of which have recently been denounced;
- then Mexico: a country developing in step with the city, it must be watched more closely; and it has since been integrated into a "free market" regrouping of the states of North America.
0f different concern, however, is the maintenance of European power with the organization of the European Union.
c) One can wonder if Europe is not in the process of itself destroying its ability to intervene in favor of the development of the Third World. By consenting to its demographic decline, Europe gives more elbow room to the United States. For all that, it could offer poor countries the alternative solution of partnership -- if it had not let itself get caught in a trap.
d) It's about time that Europe and the Third World recalled the aphorism attributed to Disraeli: "The British Empire has no permanent enemies, nor permanent friends. It has only permanent interests."
1This concern, "Prevent the Re-emergence of a New Rival," appears in a memorandum of 46 pages prepared by the office of the Secretary of Defense. It was published by the New York Times (March 8, 1992) and reported by Barton Gellman in the Washington Post (March 11, 1992) under the title "Keeping the U.S. First. Pentagon would Preclude a Rival Superpower."