Which is More Likely: Oil Wars or Water Wars?
Michael T. Klare is the Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies (a joint appointment at Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst), and Director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (PAWSS), a position he has held since 1985. Before assuming his present post, he served as Director of the Program on Militarism and Disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. (1977-84).
Professor Klare has written widely on U.S. defense policy, the arms trade, and world security affairs. He is the author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (Metropolitan Books, 2004), along with many other books. He is also the defense correspondent of The Nation, a Contributing Editor of Current History, and has contrbuted to numerous publications.
Michael Klare serves on the board of directors of the Arms Control Association, and the advisory board of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch; he is also a member of the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Which is more likely: water wars or oil wars?Michael Klare: I think the more likely conflicts will be over water, there will be more frequent, more numerous, more widespread, but the risk of conflict involving the big powers is greater over oil and natural gas and uranium, because the survival of the great powers is at stake. So, I think the risk of conflict is lesser in the case of US, China and Russia. They are going to be much more conscious, so I don’t think the likelihood is very high and percentage terms. I think the risk of conflict over water is 100%, because it is going to become very scarce in many areas of the world and people will become desperate, but I don’t think the US, China and Russia are going to go to war for water, I think that just practically 0% likelihood. However, when we talk about oil, gas, uranium those are essential to the survival of the great powers and there is this not 0% risk that they will stumble into a conflict.
Water wars will be more widespread than wars over oil, which will involve the big geopolitical players.
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