Non-Renewable Security: Analyzing Contemporary Authoritarianism’s Effect on Environmental Security
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This thesis examines contemporary authoritarianism and how it affects environmental security efforts with specific focus on the United States. It underscores the role democratic decay plays in the ascendancy of this type of authoritarianism and how this allows for these authoritarian leaders to disregard environmental security issues for economic growth and retention of power over the short-term. Contemporary authoritarianism approaches environmental security in a fundamentally short-term manner where short-term economic growth and state stability are emphasized over a long-term environmental security strategy that would likely result in long-term economic and state stability. Opting for short-term economic growth and stability serves a purpose for authoritarians. These leaders are interested in retaining power. After all, in contemporary authoritarian states there are democratic elections and these authoritarians can – despite the difficulty of doing so – be voted out of power. Thus, maintaining the economy and overall stability of the state over making the difficult governing decisions common in democracy allows for authoritarians to hold power. As a result, not establishing a long-term environmental security strategy is endemic to contemporary authoritarianism as it is beneficial to the state to disregard environmental concerns.