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Caspian Sea Environmental Security Game: 16-17 November 1998

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Research paper

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The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water bordered by five countries, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan, all but one of which Iran constituted part of the former Soviet Union. Though they differ markedly in size, population, ethnic composition, and political ideology, they share the common interest of maximizing the substantial energy wealth of the Caspian Basin, and dealing successfully with the environmental issues that affect the explorations for, production, refining, and transport of energy resources. The production of energy, particularly oil, is important to a world market seeking non-Middle Eastern sources of supply, and to the national security interests of the United States, which seeks to promote the independence of the new crescent of states juxtaposed between powerful Russia and China, and the revolutionary states of Iran and Afghanistan. Geographically isolated from world energy markets, the oil and natural gas products of the Caspian must be transported across the territories of non-Caspian states. As the cases of Dagestan and Chechnya demonstrate, the politics and the attitudes of transit states are a significant variable in the Caspian energy equation. Because environmental issues figure prominently in the Caspian oil equation, examining the nexus of energy and environmental issues offers the opportunity to broaden our understanding of the concept of environmental security and to understand the actual petroleum contributions the Caspian Basin is likely to provide. Environmental issues become security issues when they affect the national security interests of a state. The exponential increase in the world population is felt most heavily in the developing world where it places heavy demands on the political system of newly democratic states.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Environmental Health and Safety

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