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A Marshall Plan for the 21st century: Addressing climate change in the Asia-Pacific through diplomacy, development, and defense

Adam M. Rollins, Monique Wheeler, MS, Tim Frazier, PhD


The inevitable climate challenges facing the Asia-Pacific territory require a massive whole-of-government approach comparable to the Marshall Plan of 1948. While many political leaders have called for such a plan, no policy currently exists for this region or purpose. With nearly eight trillion dollars in trade revenue passing through crucially strategic straits daily, seven of the 10 largest militaries in the world (five of which are nuclear capable) operating throughout this territory, and a forecast for nearly exponential population growth, the geopolitical provenance of the United States (US), ties inextricably to this portion of the globe. A document analysis assessing existing diplomatic, developmental, and defensive policies concludes that a modern-day Marshall Plan for the 21st century Asia-Pacific is achievable by realigning lines of effort within current frameworks. As long as the US continues to deny climate change, other nation-state actors within the area will rise to fill the void. The US must commit to the funding, development, and proliferation of clean and sustainable energy solutions, which evolve past current fossil-fuel reliant technologies and, most importantly, be opensource in description and shared with other large polluters throughout the world. Finally, the nations of the Asian-Pacific realm should contemplate a theater-specific treaty organization. As climate change threatens to destabilize the region, a unified force intent on providing stabilization efforts, preventing internal conflict and escalation, and enforcing international law deserves consideration and deliberation.


Marshall Plan, climate change, Asia- Pacific, diplomacy, development, defense

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