The Biden administration says climate change drives the military

After reading about the press conference that John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, held on Tuesday, it’s tempting to ask, “Climate change—is there anything it can’t do?” According to Kirby, climate change is a national security issue because it will be a major driver of military strategy world instability, and military development.

American Military News has a straightforward summary of Kirby’s pronouncements on the climate’s effect on America’s national security and the military:

“It’s a driver of actual missions, because climate change creates instability, which creates insecurity in some places. And you can end up — the fighting in Syria started, really, as a result of a drought. And so, there’s — there’s a — it can actually drive military missions and force the military to become involved in places and at times where they wouldn’t have had to otherwise,” Kirby said.

Kirby said climate change impacts the U.S. military’s readiness “because our — our troops, our sailors, our Marines, our airmen, our Coast Guardsmen are being called out for — to respond to natural disasters, which are getting worse because of climate change.”

He also claimed that climate change can “affect our infrastructure,” adding that military bases like Norfolk Naval Base have invested “millions of dollars to try to improve their infrastructure because of rising sea levels.”

“So it has an impact on our infrastructure. It has an impact on our readiness, because you — and you’re seeing it now, even in the wildfires, where so many National Guardsmen are being called out,” Kirby said. “And — and God love them for that, but they’re — those are important tasks and missions, but it takes away from other tasks and missions when it comes to defending the United States.”

If that all sounds a bit silly to you that’s because it is. Climate change has become such a ubiquitous driver of everything that it’s meaningless. But meaningless doesn’t mean that it’s not worrisome. As a friend of mine is wont to say, if you can regulate CO2, you can regulate everything, because CO2 is involved in every aspect of life on this planet.

In the same way, once you call “climate change” out as a military driver, there’s nothing you cannot do in terms of expenditure and action. And indeed, there remains the distinct possibility that the administration will find a domestic enemy connected to climate change that requires the U.S. military to be activated on American soil, with its weapons aimed at American citizens.

Image of a Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper from the Department of Defense.

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