How Do Environmental Issues Contribute to Regional Instability? and Which Regions Will Pose the Greatest Threat to U.S. Security as a Result of Environmental Degradation?   [open pdf - 2MB]

"Environmental Security is a hot topic throughout the world. It has been researched and discussed in papers and articles. However, it has yet to be applied to regional instability beyond discussion within the National Security Strategy. The purpose of this paper is to define 'Environmental Security' and apply the definition to two regions of the world and try to identify the environmental factors that pose the greatest threats to U.S. security. The primary objective of this research is to determine and define how environmental issues contribute to regional political, economic or physical instability and then apply this definition to the regions of the world. Environmental issues are not contained by national boundaries, hence, we will focus on the two contrasting pictures of regional instability as influenced by environmental issues. Competition for natural resources and environmental degradation pose a risk to national security and regional stability in the Middle east. However, in Southeastern Asia environmental crises have instigated regional cooperation and enhanced regional stability. As this paper will demonstrate, the effect of environmental issues on regional security is dependent on the disposition of the players."

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