Friday, February 13, 2009

A Century of War Looms

The British government's former chief science advisor, Sir David King, has issued a dark warning - we're heading for a century of resource wars. From The Guardian:

The Iraq war was just the first of this century's "resource wars", in which powerful countries use force to secure valuable commodities, according to the UK government's former chief scientific adviser. Sir David King predicts that with population growth, natural resources dwindling, and seas rising due to climate change, the squeeze on the planet will lead to more conflict.

"Future historians might look back on our particular recent past and see the Iraq war as the first of the conflicts of this kind - the first of the resource wars," he told an audience of 400 in London as he delivered the British Humanist Association's Darwin Day lecture.

Implicitly rejecting the US and British governments' claim they went to war to remove Saddam Hussein and search for weapons of mass destruction, he said the US had in reality been very concerned about
energy security and supply, because of its reliance on foreign oil from unstable states. "Casting its eye around the world - there was Iraq," he said.

This strategy could also be used to find and keep supplies of other essentials, such as minerals,
water and fertile land, he added. "Unless we get to grips with this problem globally, we potentially are going to lead ourselves into a situation where large, powerful nations will secure resources for their own people at the expense of others."

Sir David's warning ought to be a wake up call for all resource-rich, small population nations. Hey, wait a minute!


Beijing York said...

Sudan and other conflicts in Africa should also be assessed as resource wars. Some interesting articles on this:

The Mound of Sound said...

You're absolutely right. When Europe drew the boundaries for Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, they paved the path for endless civil wars by rival ethnic and tribal groups forced together by artificial boundaries.

Iraq - Kurds, Sunni and Shia Arabs. Afghanistan - Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara etc. Rwanda - Hutu & Tutsi. When resources grow scarce these divisions lead to civil wars.

Wars of subsistence are truly ugly things because they're driven by the urge to sustain your own, a motivation that makes acceptable the annihilation of the rival group. In other words, genocide.

Anonymous said...

Yes and we're right next to them. It behooves us to get busy with real peacemaking and green technology.