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RELEASE: The Council on Strategic Risks Offers Recommendations for the Next U.S. Administration on Biological, Climate and Nuclear Threats

Washington, DC, October 20, 2020 – Today, the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) released important new policy recommendations: “Confronting Systemic Security Risks: Proposals for the Next U.S. Administration.” The briefer offers policy ideas for consideration by the national security leaders of the next Presidential Administration, and covers three important areas of global strategic risk: biological threats, climate threats, and nuclear threats. 

“Many of the most serious security threats facing the United States today arise from rapid developments spiraling across a complex and changing globe,” the report states. “Each of these risks will require an integrated approach across the Federal government, pairing the analytic systems of the Pentagon and intelligence community with the early warning capabilities of our diplomatic and development experts. To prevent the worst impacts, a well-rounded U.S. security community must be prepared and responsive as soon as a new strategic threat emerges.”

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Record Floods Threaten Nuclear Power Site in Bangladesh

Ganges River Delta (Balngladesh and India)

By Isabella Caltabiano

Bangladesh has experienced intense flooding covering at least a quarter of the country as it goes through monsoon season. NASA has released a map showing the extent of this year’s flooding from June to the end of July along the Jamuna River, where high danger levels have been reached or surpassed. Reported at the end of July, more than 4.7 million people have been affected and more than half of Bangladesh’s districts are flooded. 

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Emerging Threat: As the Arctic Melts, Russian Plans to Militarize Could Create a Nuclear Hotspot

Russian_arctic_claimBy Jasmine Owens

New opportunities are arising for various countries as climate change devastates the Arctic. However, Russia has already begun to stake its claim by increasing its military presence in the region.

The Arctic is experiencing momentous transformations as climate change wreaks havoc in the region. It is warming at twice the rate than the rest of the world. This is creating a positive feedback loop: as the temperatures rise in the Arctic, the sea ice that used to reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere is melting more, which causes the darker ocean water or land to absorb more light and thus increases the temperatures in the region. Due to the rising temperatures, the Arctic is predicted to be completely ice-free during the summer by 2050, even if significant international action is taken now to reduce carbon emissions. There is also a major concern that over time, the Arctic will lose all ability to produce ice, leaving it ice-free year-round. (more…)

BRIEFER: Converging Risks in South Asia: Is a Disruptive Transition on the Horizon?

SarangShidoreTNBy Sarang Shidore

South Asia spans multiple countries that were formerly either directly or effectively a component of British India. These include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives. The subcontinent has had a traumatic history in modern times. Political partition in the wake of independence from colonial rule in 1947 left enormous death in its wake, particularly in the northwestern part of the region. Major conflicts such as the 1971 India-Pakistan war (which birthed the new state of Bangladesh) and bloody civil wars in Sri Lanka and Nepal added to suffering in the region. In addition, democracy has often been on the defensive in South Asia, with Pakistan experiencing multiple military coups and Bangladesh and India going through shorter authoritarian spells in the 1970s and 80s.

With a population of nearly 1.3 billion, India lies at the geographic and demographic core of South Asia. India’s future, perhaps more than that of any other country in the region, is likely to affect the rest of South Asia. The other countries of the region are also critical for regional security. Pakistan and Bangladesh have a combined population of close to 400 million, but often get less attention, namely because of the presence of their massive neighbor, India. Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, though much smaller, impact the region in more subtle but important ways. As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, the major historical challenges South Asia has faced are being magnified by a complex set of risks. These include earth systems risk (such as climate change and pandemics), economic risk, governance risk, and inter-state conflict risk; the latter also with a dangerous nuclear dimension. Moreover, two external and competing major powers are playing a growing role in South Asia’s future – the United States and China – with complex and uncertain impacts on security.

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, the major historical challenges South Asia has faced are being magnified by a complex set of risks. These include earth systems risk (such as climate change and pandemics), economic risk, governance risk, and inter-state conflict risk; the latter also with a dangerous nuclear dimension. Moreover, two external and competing major powers are playing a growing role in South Asia’s future – the United States and China – with complex and uncertain impacts on security.

Click here for the full briefer.

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