The United States and environmental security: deforestation and conflict in Southeast Asia.
Greenwald, Peter T.
Buss, Claude A.
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In the post Cold War ear, the East-West conflict may be succeeded by a new confrontation which pits an industrialized North against a developing South. In June 1992, world attention was fixed on the Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero. This event marked a milestone in global environmental awareness; but just as the end of the Cold War has provided new opportuities for the US, the world is now faced with new sources of conflict which have advanced to the forefront of the national security debate. Among the new sources of conflict, environmental problems are rapidly becoming preeminent. Within national security debates, those environmental problems which respect no international boundary are of particular concern. Worldwide deforestation, and the related issues of global warming and the loss of biodiversity, represent a clear threat to national security. Two percent of the Earth's rainforests are lost each year; one 'football field' is lost each second. Deforestation has already led to conflict and instability within several regions of the world including Southeast Asia. The United States must recognize the character and dynamics of these new sources of conflict in order to successfully realize its policy aims in national security. The US should preempt xonflict through cooperation and develop a shared concern for the environment throughout the world. The US military may play a key role in this effort.
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