Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


International Affairs

First Advisor

Dr. Douglas J. Snyder

Second Advisor

Dr. David Zierler

Third Advisor

Dr. Lucy Chester


Developing countries such as Pakistan are particularly susceptible to the negative implications of changing climates as they face regional and in-country terrorism and violence, as well as infrastructure and government institutions that are still evolving. This thesis examines the intersection of climate change and national security through an analysis of shifting monsoon patterns and the subsequent impacts on vulnerable and displaced populations in northern Pakistan.

Over the past decade, the United States has chosen to act through two primary foreign policy methods: a military oriented approach focused on drone strikes and a humanitarian approach focused on foreign aid and development. While both serve specific purposes, this thesis argues that in the case of Pakistan, a multilateral humanitarian approach concentrated on the sustainable development and growth of Pakistan’s institutions, infrastructure, and communities will best serve U.S. interests and security in the long-term.

It is crucial for global stability to understand the ways in which changing climates impact the security interests of the United States and the international community as a whole when developing policy aimed at protecting and advancing those interests. This thesis identifies the ways in which changing climates serve as threat multipliers, exacerbating already existing fragilities and conflicts that put the security and interests of the United States at risk. By doing so, this thesis demonstrates the critical importance of examining foreign policy and national security through a climate lens.