Freshwater Choices in China: Options That Will Impact South and Southeast Asia
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Freshwater needed to sustain all forms of life on earth is a finite resource of which there is no substitute. China is the upper riparian state controlling freshwater flows emanating from the Tibetan Plateau Asias largest source of freshwater. Lower riparian nation-states have expressed concern China is constructing hydro-engineering infrastructure upstream on shared international river basins within its borders, and will be able to effectively use the threat of restricting freshwater flows as a political weapon to compel favorable behavior from nations throughout South and Southeast Asia. Water scarcity resulting from Chinas restriction of freshwater flows necessary to sustain international rivers throughout Asia, could result in intrastate political and social upheaval, or possible interstate conflicts involving China and its lower riparian neighbors including India, Thailand, Burma, and Vietnam. This monograph examines four policy options China could pursue regarding freshwater resources involving its lower riparian nations including 1 Regional Realism exploiting its position as the upper riparian to obtain favorable political outcomes 2 Global Realism or self-help taking advantage of new freshwater desalinization and purifications techniques 3 Regional Liberal Institutionalism by agreeing to negotiations and formal treaties to reduce tensions involving freshwater disputes and 4 Global Liberal Institutionalism by being part of a future system where freshwater is traded on international markets using virtual water trade. Finally, this monograph will examine policy options the United States could pursue to influence Chinas policies regarding freshwater resources in order to prevent or mitigate interstate conflicts including 1 ContainmentConfrontation 2 Engagement 3 Business Promotion and 4 Trade ProtectionHuman Rights Advocacy.
- Government and Political Science
- Water Pollution and Control