Intelligence analysts have determined that climate change will present “profound strategic challenges” in the coming decades. They caution that the specter of violent storms, drought, pandemics and mass migration loom large and will requite military mobilizations to deal with as governments topple, entire regions are destabilized, and terrorism and militant movements easily recruit desperate and displaced young men.
Recent war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response.
An exercise last December at the National Defense University, an educational institute that is overseen by the military, explored the potential impact of a destructive flood in Bangladesh that sent hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming into neighboring India, touching off religious conflict, the spread of contagious diseases and vast damage to infrastructure. “It gets real complicated real quickly,” said Amanda J. Dory, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, who is working with a Pentagon group assigned to incorporate climate change into national security strategy planning.
Much of the public and political debate on global warming has focused on finding substitutes for fossil fuels, reducing emissions that contribute to greenhouse gases and furthering negotiations toward an international climate treaty – not potential security challenges.
But a growing number of policy makers say that the world’s rising temperatures, surging seas and melting glaciers are a direct threat to the national interest.
If the United States does not lead the world in reducing fossil-fuel consumption and thus emissions of global warming gases, proponents of this view say, a series of global environmental, social, political and possibly military crises loom that the nation will urgently have to address.
That isn’t coming from some tree-hugging lefties wearing hemp hoodies, that is coming from the Pentagon, the folks who will be charged with protecting our national integrity when the game changes and the ice that has been a natural protective barrier against attack or invasion from the north melts, and suddenly there is smooth sailing through the elusive northwest passage.
I’m going to pat attention to this over the next couple of days. It will be interesting to see how James Inhofe and the other climate change deniers react to this. Will they berate, denigrate and mock this source? Or ignore it altogether?
Crossposted from They Gave Us a Republic