Paul J. Smith
|

Climate Change, Weak States and the "War on Terrorism" in South and Southeast Asia

Contemporary Southeast Asia

Abstract

Climate change is emerging as one of the key security challenges of the 21st century, a challenge that will increasingly have effects in the realm of counter-terrorism. Since January 2002, the United States Government has grounded its counter-terrorism policies within an international/diplomatic framework of well-governed states that have the capacity and willingness to cooperate with the United States. Climate change threatens to undermine this objective. For example, several countries with which the United States hopes to forge long-term counter-terrorism alliances are geographically situated in areas that may be strongly affected by climate change. In Asia, three countries in particular—Indonesia, the Philippines, and Bangladesh—demonstrate the nexus between possible climate change effects and counter-terrorism. In these countries, increased poverty and reduced state capacity, a foreseeable outcome of predicted climate change events, contribute to the creation or sustenance of functional space which may allow terrorist groups to flourish.