Green Planet Blues: Environmental Politics from Stockholm to Tyoto

By Ken Conca; Geoffrey D. Dabelko et al. | Go to book overview

DANIEL DEUDNEY


31
The Case Against Linking
Environmental Degradation
and National Security

Introduction

. . . Environmental issues are likely to become an increasingly important dimension of political life at all levels--locally, inside states, as well as internationally. How institutions respond to these emerging constraints is likely to shape politics in a profound manner. Because state and interstate conflict are such central features of both world politics and geopolitical theory, there is a strong tendency for people to think about environmental problems in terms of national security and to assume that environmental conflicts will fit into the established patterns of interstate conflict.

The aim of this essay is to cast doubt upon this tendency to link environmental degradation and national security. Specifically, I make three claims. First, it is analytically misleading to think of environmental degradation as a national security threat, because the traditional focus of national security--interstate violence-- has little in common with either environmental problems or solutions. Second,

____________________
© Millennium: Journal of International Studies. This article first appeared in Millennium 19, no. 3 (Winter 1990):461-476 and is reproduced with the permission of the publisher.

-304-

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