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A Trilateral Whose Time Has Come: US-Japan-India Cooperation

The Buzz

The Asia-Pacific region is witnessing the increasing convergence of economic and security interests of the United States, Japan and India, and their burgeoning trilateral cooperation. Washington has leveraged its strong ties with Tokyo of nearly 70 years to deepen economic ties and to remain a net provider of security across Asia. Since returning to power in 2013, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has explicitly articulated his vision for an enhanced role of Japan in the Asia-Pacific region. Similarly, India's Look East Policy has seen it expand its economic and security engagement across Asia over the past decade, and the spring 2014 electoral triumph of Narendra Modi has injected a new level of dynamism and foreign policy activism from New Delhi.

In many ways, the three countries are natural partners. They are three of the world's largest countries by population (India is # 2, the US # 3, and Japan # 10), three of the largest democracies, and three of the largest economies (the US is # 1, Japan # three, and India # 10). They are linked by the Indo-Pacific strategic construct that makes explicit the geographical connections and overlaps that each of them shares. All three are part of a dynamic and growing region, with each government eager to find new partners, or old partners with new capabilities, to raise its profile and extend its reach. Each eyes the other two as economic and strategic partners, possessing assets and resources that it values.

India seeks US and Japanese investment and knowhow to accelerate its economic development. With each government working to create more business-friendly policies and regulations, there has been a substantial growth in cross-border investments, joint ventures, mergers & acquisitions, technology transfers, and other corporate activities. India is actively modernizing its military, and the United States has rapidly become its top defense supplier. Delhi and Tokyo have expanded the scope of their joint naval exercises and have elevated their defense dialogue to focus more attention on maritime security and anti-terrorism measures.

For the United States and Japan, India is becoming increasingly central to their economic and security calculations. India can emerge as a low-cost manufacturing hub for American and Japanese companies to sell to the large and rapidly growing Indian market, but also for exports to emerging markets across Asia, Middle East, and Africa. On the security front, an India with robust military capabilities can provide much-needed stability in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). South Asia is home to a large and growing population but also beset with protracted security challenges. India can also be a vital partner across the IOR in safeguarding and promoting US and Japanese interests, especially in ensuring freedom of navigation and other maritime security objectives. Conversely, Japan and India look at the United States as a potential energy supplier as the shale gas revolution turns the US into a major gas exporter.

The alignment of interests and ambitions is facilitated by the energy of the new governments in Tokyo and Delhi. Abe and Modi see each other as kindred spirits and both are eager to seize the moment. They are proving to be indefatigable diplomats and have reached out to each other to consolidate relations between their two countries. Meanwhile, in the Joint Statement released during Modi's visit to the US last month, the United States and India "committed to work more closely with other Asia Pacific countries through consultations, dialogues, and joint exercises." The statement highlighted trilateral dialogue with Japan, with the three agreeing to elevate the existing Trilateral to a minister-level dialogue. All the while, the US and Japan are modernizing and updating their alliance as well.

There is a lot the three countries can do together. The starting point, and a focal point of each country's engagement, is helping India develop faster. Its economic potential remains under-realized, and while the major causes of that underperformance are be found within India, businesses in both Japan and the US see great opportunities. Prime Minister Modi is initially focused on creating a stronger industrial base to complement India's world-class service sector.  To meet this objective, Modi is putting much effort into upgrading India's infrastructure, with a focus on establishing multiple industrial corridors. Japan has committed substantial funds to upgrade the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor while the United States has outlined specific ways that it can contribute its expertise and resources to this massive Indian endeavor.  

Beyond the economic domain, the three governments can advance a diplomatic agenda that emphasizes the rule of law, peaceful resolution of disputes, and adherence to international norms and legal standards. The US and India primarily, but increasingly even Japan, have a stake in a peaceful Afghanistan and stability throughout Central Asia. The three governments can work concertedly to promote democracy, peace, and prosperity across South and Central Asia. India has made notable contributions to UN peacekeeping missions over the decades, but can increasingly deploy resources to become a net provider of security across Asia.

The three governments have demonstrated prowess in civilian applications of space technologies, and can cooperate to create rules that ensure that outer space remains peaceful and not used for offensive or disruptive purposes. The US and Japan are also seeking to initiate civilian nuclear power cooperation with India. While such cooperation has important commercial benefits, the most striking aspect of sharing such sensitive technology is the level of trust that their cooperative endeavors engender.

Cyberspace is another area suitable for closer cooperation. All three nations face regular cyber-attacks from state and nonstate actors, and the intensity of such attacks is likely to increase. Sharing information on the sources of these attacks, targets, and methods of deterrence can help all three nations safeguard their defense and commercial interests.

To be sure, there are obstacles to deeper cooperation between India, Japan, and the United States. Deeply entrenched domestic constituencies in each country can, and often do, block progress toward reform and the reciprocal measures that are a prerequisite to diplomatic engagement. Fueling those economic and political fires are powerful nationalist impulses in each country. On occasion, that nationalism surfaces as anti-Americanism in both India and Japan. The persistence of such beliefs makes trilateral engagement even more compelling, since the presence of a third party dispels the false image of a heavy-handed United States bending another nation to its will. Finally, one must not lose sight of the plain fact that for all the convergence, the US, Japan and India are three distinct countries, at different stages of economic development with variations in their strategic orientation on some issues, and so at times their interests are bound to diverge.

Analysts sometimes paint this trilateral arrangement as a "counterweight to China." All three countries have complex relationships with China that are a mix of cooperation and competition. All three see China as a vital partner: it ranks among the top trade partners of each country and all reach out to Beijing to build confidence and cooperation on security issues. This summer, China joined the US-led Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise for the first time.

Yet each also has significant areas of contention with Beijing. Japan and India both face claims to their territory by China, and the US regularly squares off against China over a range of security concerns. In addition, all three nations are attempting to moderate their large trade deficits with China.

Nevertheless, the prospect of a formal alliance or even an alignment of the three that targets China or explicitly identifies China as a focus of concern is very low. India zealously protects its sovereignty and independence and will never be part of an initiative that could be portrayed as jeopardizing its foreign policy autonomy. Delhi and Beijing are founding members of the BRICS group and both seek a multipolar world that gives emerging countries a greater say over international governance. China and India are neighbors, and seeking a good relationship will be a mainstay of any Indian government's diplomacy. And while the US and Japan both have issues with China, they also insist that good relations are preferred - it is up to Beijing to pick which relationship prevails.

In other words, an anti-China coalition cannot drive US-Japan-India cooperation. But then, it should not have to. The three countries have many shared interests and reasons to cooperate. Pragmatic pursuit of shared interests, undergirded by realistic expectations of what their trilateral cooperation can accomplish, is the most effective approach to ensure that it realizes that potential.

Managing a trilateral relationship will be a complex and sometimes frustrating process.  There will rarely be total uniformity of interests on any issue amongst all three partners, and this holds true for the US-Japan-India trilateral.  But all three share a vision for security and prosperity for Asia and beyond.  There are tangible steps the three countries can take to make this vision a reality. Doing so would not only advance their enlightened national interests but also lead to positive outcomes for all nations in Asia.

Richard Rossow is the Wadhwani Chair in U.S. India Policy Studies at CSIS. Dr. Toru Ito is an associate professor at Japan's National Defense Academy specializing in South Asia. Dr. Anupam Srivastava is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Trade and Security, University of Georgia and former Managing Director of Invest India, the official investment facilitation agency. Brad Glosserman is executive director of Pacific Forum CSIS. This paper is drawn from a US Embassy sponsored tour of Japan that the four authors recently joined.  All views expressed are personal opinions. This article is drawn from a US Embassy sponsored tour of Japan that the four authors recently joined. It was originally published by CSIS: PACNET newsletter here.

Image: Wikicommons. 

TopicsSecurity RegionsAsia-Pacific

Are Americans Overreacting to the Ebola Virus?

The Buzz

Compared with the havoc wreaked by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the virus thus far has only led to three confirmed cases in the United States. The fear and anxiety however has spread much faster. Earlier this month, seventy-five airplane-cabin cleaners at LaGuardia Airport walked off their jobs partly due to concerns about the risk of exposure to the virus. Last week, a woman who vomitted in the Pentagon parking lot triggered a health scare that forced the temporary shutdown of the building entrance and the setup of a quarantine and decontamination tent in front of the hospital where she was admitted—and later found not to have Ebola. Also last week, a Texas health worker who was suspected of being exposed to the first Ebola case in the United States was isolated on a cruise ship for nineteen days despite showing no symptoms of the disease. Ultimately, her blood test came back negative. In a bizarre move, parents pulled their kids out of a Mississippi school because of a concern that the principal who recently visited Zambia (which is 3,000 miles away from the affected West African countries) might spread the virus. U.S. President Barack Obama spoke against the “hysteria or fear” associated with the virus, and yet indicated his willingness to implement a travel ban from Africa and appoint an anti-Ebola czar.

The American response to the looming Ebola outbreak is reminiscent of the Chinese response to the 2003 SARS outbreak. In the Chinese case, amidst the governmental information clampdown and a fatal period of hesitation, there was widespread speculation and rumor-mongering. Residents in Guangdong province (the SARS ground zero) cleared pharmacy shelves of antibiotics and flu medication. In some cities, even vinegar, believed to be a disinfectant, was sold out. The panic spread quickly to other provinces. Farmers set off firecrackers in the belief that it would frighten off SARS. At the height of the epidemic in Beijing, a sea of people in white masks—most of them scared migrant workers and university students—flocked to train and bus stations and airports in an effort to flee the city. By late April, an estimated one million people (around 10 percent of the population), had fled the city for other parts of China. They would soon find themselves persona non grata even in their hometowns. In the countryside, worried villagers set up roadblocks to keep away people from Beijing. A series of riots against quarantine centers were also reported in May.

But Ebola is not SARS. For one thing, Ebola is not as contagious as SARS. The average number of people that a sick person will infect is one to two for Ebola, compared to two to five for SARS. While SARS can spread through infected droplets, Ebola is transmitted only through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of someone who is sick. Unlike SARS, which enables an asymptomatic person to transmit the virus, Ebola only becomes contagious when infected people are experiencing symptoms. These key differences increase the possibility of effectively implementing restrictive interventions such as social distancing, travel restrictions, quarantine, and case isolation for Ebola.

That being said, Ebola is more virulent than SARS. The average case fatality rate for Ebola is around 50 percent, much higher than SARS (9.6 percent). Ebola was first reported as early as 1976 but, as my colleague Laurie Garrett noted, there are still myths surrounding the virus, including its very nature, the risk it poses, and the effective means of preventing transmission. A new study released last week suggests that Ebola patients could still be contagious after three-week quarantine (the period recommended by the World Health Organization). The mishandling of the Ebola crisis by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (which has been consistently ranked the most trusted federal agency) further erodes public confidence in the U.S. disease surveillance and response capacity. Indeed, the widespread witnessing of healthcare workers who were unable to protect themselves from infection perpetuated a highly exaggerated sense of public risk. In the words of Jessica Stern, an expert on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction at Harvard University, when dealing with an unfamiliar disease, “We respond to the likelihood of death in the event the disease is contracted, rather than the compound probability of contracting the disease and succumbing to its effects.”

Such “dreaded risks” generate fear and panic at a level that is disproportionate to the disease-caused morbidity and mortality. Indeed, major epidemics have historically produced significant worry, anxiety, fear, panic, and even mass hysteria in the affected countries. The fear and panic could place further constraints on government capacity to tackle the public health emergency. Worse, the associated social distancing measures, in conjunction with the government anti-Ebola interventions, could have substantial negative economic impacts in the United States. It is estimated that adverse demand shock caused by SARS cost China 0.5 percent of its GDP in 2003. Americans may be overreacting to the threat of Ebola, but that overreaction is understandable. When planning further Ebola control measures, the Obama administration has to seriously take this fear factor into account.

The following article first appeared in CFR’s blog Asia Unbound here.

TopicsEbola RegionsUnited States

The Complexity of Russia

The Buzz

 “Putin is not Russia and Russia is not Putin.”

Those words, often articulated to me by Russians during a very recent trip across Russia on the Trans- Siberian railroad, underscore a more nuanced perspective on the Russian president than might be expected given his current high popularity ratings. Support for the annexation of Crimea is virtually universal with little understanding or appreciation that in so doing, Russia has violated international commitments and undone post- Cold War security structures in Europe. There is, however, no support for open warfare with Ukraine and young people are uneasy the current sanctions will jeopardize future career and job prospects.

My public opinion sampling on this trip was neither scientific nor comprehensive but it was geographically broad (the cities of Ulan Ude, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Yekatarinburg, Kazan and Moscow) and included varied age groups and backgrounds. For someone with two previous assignments to the US Embassy in Moscow, the openness of my interlocutors and the absence of anti-US sentiment despite the official propaganda were striking.

Russia clearly remains a land of contradictions. All the cities visited seemed to be thriving with new buildings and construction, traffic jams on the order of Washington DC, and elegant shops and broad pedestrian malls. People were well dressed and the activity level was high. Being a major stopping point on the Trans -Siberian clearly has advantages.

Evidence of more independent thinking was also evident. Yekatarinburg, which straddles Europe and Asia, has a monument to some 40,000 victims of NKVD repression in 1937-38 and a striking statue of a soldier grieving over his lost comrades in the Afghanistan war. This monument supposedly was forced on city leaders by Afghan vets who would not be deterred.  A huge Lenin statue in the middle of the city is referred to by young people as the guy pointing to the pedestrian shopping street. In Kazan, a young waitress vehemently expressed her opposition to Putin’s “muscular” steps and the annexation of Crimea, which she said was shared by friends. And church leaders in a small town near Ulan Ude made a point of thanking our group for coming to Russia “despite the political difficulties.”

The vast countryside is a different story. The unending vista from the train of small villages consisting of wooden huts without paved roads, no running water and toilets but with electricity presents almost a timeless image of Russia. Huge piles of chopped wood and the harvesting of cabbages, potatoes and carrots reminded that Siberian winter was very close.  It looked as if most young people had deserted the villages and indeed we were told that the countryside is rapidly losing young people.

All interlocutors expressed great pride in their cities and many criticized Moscow for being aloof. Several complained that Siberian assets are enriching Moscow with not enough being returned to Siberia and that wages in Siberian cities are 30 percent lower than in Moscow.  Oligarchs were criticized for sending their children abroad to be educated.

Perhaps of most interest were viewpoints expressed about Putin, Crimea and Ukraine. The annexation of Crimea was almost universally supported. A resident of Irkutsk said Putin had redressed the stupidity and mistakes of the Bolsheviks which explains his popularity. A resident of Novosibirsk said that 3000 refugees from Donetsk were being resettled there and given Russian passports. We “must help our own” she emphasized.

Sanctions were being only slightly felt with an increase in food prices and older individuals pointed to Russians’ ability to endure hardships and the availability of substitute products from Belarus and Argentina. Others pointed out the impact is yet to be felt as Russians were now benefitting from the fall harvest. The situation next spring would be different.

The support, however, was not without limits. No one wanted to see Russia in a war with Ukraine. Many were concerned that Russia was becoming isolated and younger people specifically were uneasy about their careers and job prospects if Russia continued to cut itself off.  Many said they recognized they were not being told the truth by their government and were reading between the lines as in Soviet days. Similar charges of non-reliability, however, were levelled against the Western press.

Most concerning was the lack of understanding and acknowledgment that Russia had violated international commitments by its actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. The viewpoint rather is that Crimea is “ours” and that a wrong had finally been redressed.

What then is the bottom line? Russia is an enormous and diverse country with individuals enjoying personal freedoms unprecedented in Russian history. It is not the USSR. Putin’s authoritarianism and Moscow, however, dominate the political landscape. Moscow has numerous security forces on display, many signs proclaiming the sanctions will be overcome, and we had a direct reminder of the current chilly atmosphere at a main gate to the Kremlin. A security guard noted that one member of our group was wearing a shirt from Alaska and asked him if he lived there. The American said no but that he had visited there.  The Russian officer then seriously  responded that “Alaska will soon be ours again.”

Putin currently enjoys broad popularity but this has limits as evidenced by the subterfuges employed in Ukraine to cover up direct Russian involvement. Sanctions may not force Putin’s hand over the short term but growing public awareness and understanding that Russia is becoming a pariah state as a result of its actions and not some Western plot against it could yet become a force to be reckoned with.

Kenneth S. Yalowitz is a former US Ambassador to Belarus and Georgia and currently a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Image: Flickr/Creative Commons. 

TopicsRussia RegionsRussia

The GOP Must Stop Legal Birthright

The Buzz

The Chicago Department of Public Health, like its counterparts in all major cities, is quite open about the availability of taxpayer-funded care for pregnant women who are in the country illegally. Hospitals cannot ask about a patient’s immigration status, or even for a social security number. Pregnant women are eligible for Medicaid, the State of Illinois will not report their presence to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and best of all, their newborn children are considered American citizens. For poor pregnant women from most of the world, this is like winning the lottery. For the children, birthright citizenship means a lifetime of publicly funded benefits, and at age eighteen, the right to sponsor their parents for lawful permanent residency.

It is estimated that up to 400,000 babies are born in this country each year to mothers here illegally. In some Texas hospitals, they account for 70 percent of births. This is the “birth tourism” industry—the result of our peculiar policy of “birthright citizenship.” Anyone born on U.S. soil (or abroad, if to parents who are citizens) is a citizen, regardless of the legal statuses of their parents. Many other countries have abandoned it, including the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. The most bizarre aspect of this law is that Congress has never passed it, and the country was never allowed to weigh in on the issue. It has simply evolved from an 1898 Supreme Court decision (U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark) concerning a lawful permanent resident. To this day, there has never been a statute or court decision providing for birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, and here I hope to show we can and should pass a law to end it.

In the 1850s, the Supreme Court had maintained that blacks were not citizens (Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857), which had to be addressed after the Civil War. Congress realized this could not simply be undone by a law. The Constitution had to be amended to overturn the decision. The amendment was written broadly: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” [Emphasis added]. But what did the italicized clause mean?

The congressional debate makes it quite clear that the Senate sponsor of the Amendment, Lyman Trumbull (R-IL), did not believe it would apply to foreigners, unless they had renounced their ties to their home nations. When asked what the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant, he answered, “not owing allegiance to anybody else.” He believed the amendment would grant citizenship to the children of Chinese immigrants living in California.

Did he mean to create birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants? I don’t think so, though the question was never brought up. There was no illegal-alien problem at the time. The Chinese Trumbull was referring to had come to the United States legally and settled in the West, particularly California. We had de facto open borders until 1875, and immigrants were welcome, especially if they would provide cheap labor in the mines and railroads. Trumbull was distinguishing legal permanent immigrants from visitors intending to return home. The latter group still owed allegiance to their native countries. So in his view, citizenship was a consensual act.      

The 1866 Civil Rights Act, passed at the same time to crack down on the Ku Klux Klan, provided that people born in the country “and not subject to any foreign power” rather than “subject to the jurisdiction thereof, ” were citizens. I do not know why that phrase, which plainly excludes illegal immigrants, was not used in the amendment. But no historian or court has ever concluded the amendment meant something different. If we accept that premise, that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” means not “subject to any foreign power” then the Supreme Court made an historic blunder in its famous Wong Kim Ark decision. By a 5-2 vote, it decided that “subject to the jurisdiction” meant everyone on U.S. soil, except foreign troops and ambassadors. It did so in deciding whether the son of two Chinese immigrants, who had entered the country legally and whose child born in San Francisco, was a U.S. citizen. Under the original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment, as enunciated by Trumbull, he was.

But if the Court had followed its two prior decisions interpreting the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” it would not have enunciated such a broad rule and would once again have recognized foreigners are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction, unless they are here legally and intend to remain here more or less forever (i.e. citizenship by consent, rather than by place of birth).

Now, more than a century later, are judges required to adhere to Wong Kim Ark’s interpretation of the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”? The question basically answers itself. If the Court was free to change its interpretation from its earlier decisions in deciding Wong Kim Ark, then why can’t today’s justices do so again? The Supreme Court reverses itself in interpreting the Constitution, most recently in Citizens United three years ago (as to whether corporations have First Amendment rights).

The Court also consistently says the doctrine of stare decisis (following precedent) is at its weakest when interpreting the Constitution. Such errors can have grave and irremediable consequences, since they cannot be undone by Congress. So the Supreme Court should feel free to revisit them. Why not test Wong Kim Ark? The consequences of this decision are costing us billions of dollars a year, and what are its benefits?

And if the Court wanted to take an easier route to reconsidering Wong Kim Ark, it could just focus on the word “jurisdiction.” It has recognized that is one of the most overused and misused words in the legal lexicon. Definitions of jurisdiction in the current Black’s Law Dictionary spill over five pages, and none of them seems to apply to the concept of national power over foreigners as used in the amendment.

How should the Court interpret the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” today? An originalist Court would not be bound by a modern dictionary. It would look at original sources from the ratification period to discern what they intended. Trumbull's statement and that of his colleague Sen. Jacob Howard (who was credited with actually writing the amendment)—that jurisdiction “will not, of course, include foreigners”—would be given considerable weight. As Justice Antonin Scalia and his colleague Bryan A. Garner say in their new book on interpreting legal texts:

“Originalism is the only approach to text that is compatible with democracy. When government-adopted texts are given a new meaning, the law is changed; and changing law, like adopting written law in the first place, is the function of the first two branches of government—elected legislators.”

I also pay very close attention to how legal realists interpret text. Judge Richard Posner considers himself a realist, and he thinks birthright citizenship “makes no sense” and can be abolished by statute.

If the Senate flips to Republican control next month, and the party wants to try its hand at its version of “immigration reform,” then this should be very high on the agenda. It might also require hospitals to collect social security numbers of patients and report the admission of those who don’t have them to the DHS. Those two reforms would end the thriving “birth tourism” industry. It can’t come too soon.

Howard W. Foster is a lawyer specializing in civil RICO cases involving the employment of illegal immigrants.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Joe Ravi/CC by-sa 3.0

TopicsDomestic PoliticsImmigration RegionsUnited States

Climate Change and National Security, Properly Defined

Paul Pillar

The Department of Defense recently released a "Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap" that relates the department's business to global warming and the accompanying climatic changes. The document is welcome in a couple of respects beyond assuring us that the department is properly tending to the various respects in which climate change is affecting its own operations and missions. First, it is a straightforward, unquestioning recognition of the reality and problem of climate change, by the largest executive branch department in the U.S. government. Second, by linking the problem to national security it may help to get the attention of at least some people who have no respect for tree huggers but get a rise out of any use of the U.S. military.

The document relates climate change to national security in two basic ways, as stated in the covering statement by Secretary of Defense Hagel. One is that climate change is a “threat multiplier” that can exacerbate problems that are already well known and which can lead to situations in which overseas involvement of the U.S. military may become an issue. Droughts and other climate-related resource scarcity, for example, may intensify conflicts over resources. The other way, which is what most of the document is about, is that climate change has numerous impacts on the U.S. military's operations, training, and facilities. The heavy concentration of military installations in Virginia's Hampton Roads region, for example, will mean a high impact on the military of the danger that low-lying region faces as one of the U.S. coastal areas most affected by rising sea levels.

These all are important matters, and it is appropriate for the Department of Defense to focus upon them. A document such as this carries the hazard, however, of suggesting that climate change is a national security issue only insofar as as it impinges on matters most traditionally considered to involve national security, especially matters involving the military. That is an artificially narrow conception of national security, consistent perhaps with some ideas of the past but not reflecting the fundamental meaning of national security.

Central to that meaning is the physical well-being of the nation's citizens. That well-being can be endangered by human action either directly, as with an invasion force or a terrorist group bombing people in the United States, or indirectly, as with the multiple physical effects of global warming. Increasing flooding endangers the security of the citizens of Hampton Roads whether there were any military bases in their neighborhood or not.

The security implications of climate change for Americans entail several causal paths, some more direct than others. They include the risk of being killed by extreme weather events, the impairment of food supplies, the loss of forest resources through northward migration of pests, and much else. But the implications do not even have to depend on these sorts of secondary events. The sheer heating up of the homeland matters, too. The health and attractiveness of the United States, and ultimately its strength, depend greatly on the country's fortunate geographic and climatological circumstances. Any impairment of those circumstances is in a real sense a loss of security, too.

As long as we remember those things then it is good to see a document such as the DoD roadmap, which might help to engage some people who have a narrower concept of national security. We need all the help on this we can get, given the continued prominence of American political figures whose views on climate change sound more in tune with the days when Earth was thought to be flat.

Image: Flickr.                       

 

TopicsClimate Change RegionsUnited States

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