The Arctic Power Race: the New Great Game

This post opens a new series dealing with the Arctic, its environmental change and its evolving geopolitics and security. The Arctic death spiral, or “Melting is coming” Thanks to the widespread rapid melting of Arctic sea ice during the 2013 summer season, a Chinese freighter crossed the famous Northwest passage, shortening its journey from Dalian, China, to Rotterdam, by more than two weeks in August 2013. Between 22 and 26 September, the Nordic Orion, a bulk freighter going from Vancouver, Pacific Canada, to Finland, used the same passageway. It was transporting coal. The opening of this mythical passageway in summer over the last few years is the result of the way global warming is massively impacting the whole Arctic region…. Read More

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Climate of Change on the Red Sea

Since the “Arab spring” in 2011, one has seen a series of old and entrenched dictatorships topple (Georges Corm, Le Proche-Orient éclaté, 2012), from Tunisia to Yemen, or, as in Syria, being replaced by a monstrous civil war. However, the very complex political forces thus unleashed, are not only rooted in the changing social, political and religious Middle-East context. New socio-environmental dynamics have also appeared, which reveal the dire vulnerability of some of these societies, about to lose the very resources upon which they depend. So, they struggle to find new resources, or new ways and means, in a very tense strategic context. These new trends are particularly impressive around the Red Sea, where Middle-East power relations are deeply transformed by… Read More

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The Red (team) Analysis Weekly No97, 25 April 2013

Our own worst enemies – One major lesson that can be learned for the Boston tragedy is that efforts at improving systems and alertness can never stop in times of heightened tension and threats multiplication, at least not as long as problems have not been properly analyzed, causes courageously tackled, and real solutions imagined and… Read More

Beyond Fear of Near-Earth Objects: Mining Resources from Space?

In February 2013, the fall of a meteor in Russia’s Urals (e.g. “Meteorite hits Russian Urals: Fireball explosion wreaks havoc, up to 1,200 injured“, RT, 15 Feb 2013), added to the close fly-by of Asteroid 2012 DA14, and to reports of a meteorite sighted over Cuba, reignited a renewed interest for near-earth objects (NEOs), notably because of the threat they may constitute to the earth and its inhabitants. Yet, NEOs are not only about dangers and Armageddon scenarios, they may also well be an opportunity.  The possibility to use resources from space also exists and may be seen as a major wild card, which could completely upset most scenarios on resources and energy issues, thus constituting a “grey swan,” to use Taleb’s terminology. From dream… Read More

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The Space Resources Sigils

The Space Resources Sigils is part of The Sigils, a series of daily papers scanning the horizon for weak signals related to various issues relevant to the security of societies, polities, nations and citizens. An opening article on the importance of space resources as their use should be a reality in the relatively near future (middle of next… Read More

Extreme Environments Security

In its Global Strategic Trends – Out to 2040, the UK Ministry of Defence, Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC), underlined that “resource and the environment” was one of the major dimensions shaping the future. Notably, the highly likely growing resource scarcity would lead to strengthened interest in what they call “Extreme Environments” – i.e. the… Read More