Against the backdrop of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the United States Senate is ramping up for debate on energy and climate change legislation. As legislators consider different approaches to forging a new energy policy, they should keep in mind the words of former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John Warner (R-VA) who said that "Climate change, national security and energy dependence are interrelated global challenges." In addition to the environmental disaster spreading across the gulf, there are a multitude of national security concerns that arise from America's fossil fuel dependency and the effects of climate change. Countless bipartisan and nonpartisan military and national security leaders have warned about such circumstances for years. But despite this, opponents of a clean energy future for the United States continue to delay, distract, and undermine attempts to address this issue. In particular, extreme conservative politicians willfully ignore the real challenges posed to American security by climate change, preferring instead to politicize and trivialize the national security impacts of such a future. It is time for the cheap political posturing on this serious national security issue to end, as one retired general clearly put it: "Military leaders know this isn't about polar bears and ice caps, it's about international stability and national security."
Today the National Intelligence Council (NIC) released a new report outlining the global strategic trends of the next twenty years. The report describes a number of disturbing trends, which could greatly increase the complexity of the international system. However, none of these outcomes are foregone conclusions.
This weekend, world leaders will gather in Washington to discuss the financial crisis. After World War II and the great depression the world’s leaders recognized that the international financial system was too complex and interconnected for countries to go it alone and responded by establishing the Bretton Woods institutions. The international financial mechanisms they created helped war-torn economies recover – and set the stage for the US economy to grow and thrive atop the global economy for the half-century that followed.