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Watch This Space: A Recovering Thailand and the Rainy Season

The rainy season is approaching in Thailand, yet the country has not yet fully recovered from the devastating floods that inundated the nation last year (the worst in over 50 years). As we highlighted last November, the nexus of climate change, rainfall variability and political stability in Thailand is a fragile one. Though Thailand is not considered one of the nations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, vulnerability can change over time, and recent natural catastrophes have tested its resilience. This is a critical space to watch, not just for Thais, neighboring countries or those concerned about global food prices (Thailand is responsible for 30 percent of global trade in rice), but for U.S. national security planners as well. Given the so-called U.S. strategic “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific, assisting countries like Thailand in their climate adaptation strategies may be a critical component of advancing U.S. national security interests. We talk about this further in our piece “A Marshall Plan to Combat Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific: The Missing Piece of the New U.S. Security Strategy.”

Climate Change Impacts in the Asia-Pacific: The Case of the Australia Defence Force

We have focused a lot on the impact of climate change on U.S. foreign and defense policy. We’ve also looked at how the U.S. “Pacific pivot,” or as the U.S. State Department refers to it, the “Asia-Pacific re-balancing,” presents an opportunity for the U.S. to simultaneously address it’s most critical foreign policy and national security objectives, and the impacts of climate change. This focus on U.S. policy is based on both our location (we’re in Washington, DC) and the simple fact that what the U.S. does, in general, has an enormous impact on the world. (more…)

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