Century of “resource wars” predicted

The war in Iraq was just the first of this century's "resource wars", in which powerful countries use force to secure valuable commodities, according to the British government's former chief scientific adviser, David King, the Guardian reported. Demands on the planet – stemming from population growth, a dwindling of natural resources and rising seas – will lead to more conflict, King said.


"Future historians might look back on our particular recent past and see the Iraq war as the first of the conflicts of this kind — the first of the resource wars," he said in a British Humanist Association lecture marking the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. (With his 19th-century theory of natural selection, Darwin, an English naturalist, laid the foundations of modern evolutionary thinking.)


In going to war in Iraq, King said, the United States had been concerned about its energy security and supply, as it is reliant on foreign oil from unstable states. A similar geopolitical strategy, he added, could be used by strong nations to find and acquire supplies of other essential resources, including minerals, water and fertile land.


"Unless we get to grips with this problem globally," said King, "we potentially are going to lead ourselves into a situation where large, powerful nations will secure resources for their own people at the expense of others." King is now director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, and a member of chinadialogue’s editorial advisory board.


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