American Humanitarianism

The Unique Opportunity for US Military Policy in a World Increasingly Confronted with the Realities of Climate Change


  • Bennett Hawley University of St. Andrews


The foreign policy of the United States is at a point of inflection. Policymakers are confronted by the arrival of climate change, intensifying US-China great power competition, damaged American creditability, faltering US global health leadership, and the lack of American grand strategy. Most pressingly, the window for completely preventing climate change has passed as increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, and more frequent and devesting natural disasters effect populations worldwide. In order to develop an effective response to these challenges, we should learn from previous humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations (HADR) which have been shown to significantly change a country’s perception abroad, deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation, improve the readiness of a country’s military, while also building resilience and providing aid during times of need. As such, this paper specifically recommends policymakers consider increasing reactive HADR missions, improving HADR mission readiness, increasing proactive HA missions, increasing funding for HADR and HADR-capable assets, and reforming the combatant command structure.






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