August 5, 2013  

Climate change and war

Brad Plumer, writing at, rounds up various reactions to last week’s report in Science that sought to quantify the influence of climate on human conflict: “At a basic level, it’s easy to dream up all sorts of ways that hotter temperatures or other climatic disruptions might make conflict more likely. What if more frequent droughts put various groups in conflict for water resources? What if sea-level rise forces, say, millions of refugees from Bangladesh to flee into India? But that hardly means that conflict is inevitable in a warmer world. After all, the 2000s were the warmest decade on record, but they also managed to be “the least conflict-ridden decade since the 1970s.'”

Quartz’s Christopher Mims (@mims) notes that online attacks on SCADA gear and other physical objects — say, taking control of hydroelectric turbines — are the predecessors to much more fine-grained attacks on the coming Internet of Things: “If you think cybercrime is scary now, just wait until hackers can control and monitor every object in your environment.”

R. Nicholas Burns (@Rnicholasburns) recaps John Kerry’s first six months as Secretary of State, which last week saw the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks: “Kerry is putting diplomacy back on the map. He has embraced his role as America’s top diplomat and is reasserting America’s primacy in the two pivotal regions for US security — the Middle East and Asia.”

Warlord’s Quote of the Day

“No one is fool enough to choose war instead of peace; in peace sons bury fathers, but in war fathers bury sons.” Herodotus, Histories (quoting Croesus)

Contributed by Anita Blair, formerly Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower & Reserve Affairs). Blair is a member of the Warlord Loop, a private email forum for national security experts.

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