Because he is a climate change denier, presidential nominee Donald Trump has no inkling of the major threat to our long term national security.
That potentially fatal lack of knowledge is not shared by our current military leaders, whom Trump has disparaged as flunkies of the Obama Administration.
The Pentagon has no illusions about the climate change threat, assigning it the highest priority in relation to national security.
Trump sings a different tune. His strategy for firming up our national security would be to confiscate Iraqi oil to deprive radical Islamic terrorists of a source of revenue. Such plunder would be impractical, not to mention illegal. Moreover, our seizing the resources of an Arab country would only hand Jihadists a powerful propagandistic recruiting tool.
Despite having been dismissed by Trump as inept, our current military leadership has astutely analyzed the big picture. In doing so, they have determined that at the end of the day, climate change is crucially intertwined with the fate of our nation.
In the Defense Department's 2014 Quadrennial Review, military analysts concluded that "the pressure caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, society, and governance institutions around the world. These efforts are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability and social tensions--conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence."
That violence could include local and regional conflicts over declining natural resources. They are conflicts that could trigger global instability and by extension, adversely impact our own national security.
Environmental refugees would materialize in droves, and their mass migration would be a prescription for instability, especially in the locations where they tended to concentrate.
If humanity doesn't act to address climate change, food shortages are bound to arise both at home and abroad, resulting in another source of social unrest and potential military strfe. Climate change-related sea level rise could very well compromise the operational functionality of our coastal military bases. Oceanic incursions could also cause domestic coastal instability that detracts from military preparedness.
Pentagon planners spell out steps to tackle climate change and thereby shore up national security. Emphasis is placed on development of renewable energy in order to avoid dependence on politically volatile and environmentally-unfriendly fossil fuels. There is a sense of urgency not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming. Efforts are also advocated to reverse environmental degradation in developing nations to avert mass emigration of their citizenry and the tensions it will create at their ultimate destinations.
Climate change's significance doesn't seem to be lost on at least one of our major White House candidates. Hillary Clinton is on record declaring that the issue is the major challenge of our times. It is only a verbal expression in the midst of a presidential campaign, but at this juncture, a statement of intent is better than nothing.
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General Election: Nov 3, 2020
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