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Energy, Climate and Military Paradox

A powerful paradox lies at the heart of the current oil and gas global rush (Michael Klare, The Race for what’s left, 2012). On the one hand, the energy global demand necessitates to find and exploit oil and gas deposits, while looking for new ones, even in extreme environmental and political situations, as in the Arctic or the Niger river Delta (Al Jazeera, “Who is stealing Nigerian oil?“, 13 Sept. 2014). On the other hand, 97% of climatologists have developed a consensus in establishing that the current uses of oil and gas are changing the Earth climate (IPCC, fifth report, 2014) at such a speed and rate that basic life conditions could be altered for the whole of the human …

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The Russian Arctic, Energy and a Massive Power Shift

A major world power shift is happening in the Arctic. It is due to new massive oil and gas discoveries, combined with the effects of climate change. In effect, on 28 September 2014, Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft, the Russian mammoth oil company, announced the discovery of a giant oil field in the Kara Sea, north of Siberia (Zero Hedge, “Russia discovers massive Arctic oil field which maybe larger than the Gulf of Mexico“, 28 September, 2014). According to the first commentaries, this sub-sea structure called Universitetskaya, potentially, could contain reserves of oil and gas equal or superior to the Gulf of Mexico. As Igor Sechin declared, quoted by Bloomberg (Arkhipov, Chierman and Chilcote, “Russia says Arctic well drilled with Exxon Mobil …

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War, Zombies and Strategy

As we saw previously, the “zombie apocalypse” (Valantin, Invasion Z: zombie wars or resource wars?, 2014) chronicled through various novels, movies, TV and Internet series, video games, comic books, is taken quite seriously by major national security organizations, as the US Strategic Command, or the US Centers for Disease control (CDC), which use the zombie culture as training and warning tools for new kinds of emergency and contingency situations. If these organizations use the contemporary zombie culture as a training tool or a support to advocate a new political position, things may be more profound and important than it would seem at first glance. This comes from the fact that zombie stories are very interesting thought experiments about the coming resource …

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Invasion Z: Zombie Wars or Resource Wars?

What are the numerous movies, novels, TV series and video games declining the implacable struggle between human survivors and proliferating populations of zombies really about? These “chronicles” of the worldwide zombie invasion are so pervasive in our twenty-first century global culture, and they have reached a status of such importance that they have even inspired an actual training plan by the US Department of Defence in 2014, as well as a very real military training session in 2012. What is the strategic issue played out through the very complex zombie charade in our contemporary framework, when socio-environmental changes are also strategic changes? In other terms, what are the existential, political, geopolitical and military dimensions of the zombie invasion? Furthermore, is …

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Arctic: the US Lost Frontier?

As the Arctic is warming, the Chinese and Russian influence in this region is rising (Valantin, Arctic Fusion: Russia and China convergent strategies, 2014). Meanwhile, one can wonder if the US strategic influence is not waning. During the last seven years, China and Russia have developed and deployed powerful Arctic grand strategies, through political, economic, industrial, technological and military means (Ding Ying, “Realizing Chinese and Russian dreams, China and Russia are determined to promote bilateral relationship to make both countries safe, strong and prosperous“, The Beijing Review, March 28, 2013). Since the end of the nineteenth century, the USA has been a prominent Arctic power (Charles Emmerson, The future history of the Arctic, 2010). Is it still the case, and will …

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Arctic Fusion: Russia and China Convergent Strategies

Is the Arctic becoming a Sino-Russian lake? The question must be asked, because of the way these two Eurasian giants are gaining a massive and coordinated influence in the whole Arctic region, taking advantage of the geophysical changes caused by global warming (NASA, Global climate change). For example, following the historic $ 400 billion deal between Russia’s Gazprom and China, through which Russia will supply China with oil and gas for thirty years, it was announced that companies of the two countries were looking forward to explore and develop the Russian Far East, which is part, or is very close to the Arctic and subarctic region (Ding Ying, A Gas bond, energy cooperation will serve as a new link between …

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Arctic China (2) – The Chinese Shaping of the North

Over the last few years China has been multiplying commercial and political relationships with Arctic countries. Reciprocally, these countries have been deepening their Chinese bonds. For example, on 24 April 2014, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark paid a state visit to China, and was received by President Xi Jinping (Global Times, “China, Denmark eye closer relationship“, 2014-4-25). During this visit, a ceremony was held over the signature of several agreements, “involving maritime technology, energy conservation, and poverty elimination among other fields.” (Global Times, ibid). These new political and economic ties between Beijing and Copenhagen are being developed alongside new relations between China and Greenland (Viviane du Castel et Paulo Brito, Groenland, entre independence et recuperation géostratégique?, 2014), which, today, is partly autonomous …

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Arctic China (1) – The Dragon and the Vikings

On 15 March 2013, China and Iceland signed a bilateral free trade agreement (Ministry for foreign affairs, Iceland). This agreement was signed three months before the Republic of China became a “permanent observer”of the Arctic Stephen Blank, “China’s Arctic strategy“, The Diplomat, 20 June 2013), while the “Snow Dragon”, the first Chinese icebreaker, has already made five trips in the Arctic, in 1999, 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2012, at which occasion it sailed the Northern Sea Route. This political and economic move by Beijing reveals a deep evolution of the grand strategy of the People’s Republic of China, as well as the shifting balance of power in the north-Atlantic region and in the Arctic. Over the last twenty-five years, with a …

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Egypt and Climate Security

Since 2008, when massive food riots took place, followed by the “Arab spring revolution” in 2011, Egypt has become a land of political, religious and social conflicts (Krista Mahr, “Bread is life: food and protest in Egypt“, Time Magazine, January 31, 2011; Georges Corm, Le Proche-Orient éclaté, 2012), some of them between armed militant and religious factions on the one hand, the police, the military and the secret services, on the other. Meanwhile the civil society strongly emerges. Beyond spectacular events, the causes of these domestic political and religious conflicts are rooted, among other factors, into international and climate change dynamics. In effect, Egypt’s society and politics are deeply affected by the entanglement of economic, political, environmental and climate change …

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Security and Sustainability: the Future of Egypt?

The new constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt, approved in January 2014, states, in four articles, the rights and duties of the state and of the citizens about the Suez Canal, the environment and natural resources, and the Nile. These articles have a political and strategic meaning in the current domestic security situation, dominated by rising tensions between the military, the Muslim Brotherhood, and a catastrophic economic situation, heightened by the environmental and international context of Egypt and of the Nile riparian countries. To understand the political and strategic situation of Egypt, today and during the twenty years to come we must consider the context of its current national sustainability crisis (Valantin, Egypt, climate change and the long resource …

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