State Strategies to Combat Resource Scarcity
SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES, AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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States have historically faced resource scarcities that impeded accomplishment of their policy goals. They have applied disparate strategies in response and have achieved varying levels of success. This study examines historical instances of these scarcities, or ends-means disconnects, by analyzing Germany, Israel, and Iceland as case studies. The author assesses the importance of resource scarcity to state policy, and introduces a methodological framework by which to compare the three. World War II Germany attempted to counter its perceived scarcities of land, petroleum, and metals by acquiring more land this approach is consistent with a strategy based primarily on means. Israel decided to combat its perceived scarcity of water by using water more efficiently and by securing the headwaters of critical freshwater sources. According to the studys methodology, Israels strategy was both ways-centric and means-centric. Iceland worked to counter its perceived fish scarcity by obtaining exclusive access to fishing areas and by pursuing conservation measures. These actions also reflect a strategy based on both means and ways. The thesis concludes by assessing emergent themes common to the three cases and by answering the question, how should states respond to resource scarcity The concepts of vital interests, self-sufficiency, unforeseen consequences, technology, environmental control, and public diplomacy were the primary shared ideas among the case studies. The author argues that states should adopt multifaceted strategies in terms of ends, ways, and means and should carefully evaluate whether or not a dearth of the resource in question poses an existential threat. Furthermore, states should respond to scarcities cautiously and incrementally, due to the inevitability of second-and-third-order effects. They should also pursue flexible strategies with which they can quickly adapt to changing circumstances.