Table of Contents

Handbook of the Politics of the Arctic

Handbook of the Politics of the Arctic

Edited by Leif Christian Jensen and Geir Hønneland

The Arctic has again become one of the leading issues on the international foreign policy agenda, in a manner unseen since the Cold War. Drawing on the perspectives of geo-politics and international law, this Handbook offers fresh insights and perspectives on the most pressing issues, grouped under the headings of political ascendancy, climate and environmental issues, resources and energy, and the response and policies of affected countries.

Chapter 28: Where East and West converge: the US embrace of collaborative security for the Arctic

Barry Scott Zellen

Subjects: environment, environmental law, environmental politics and policy, law - academic, environmental law, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, international politics

Extract

Over the centuries, interest in the Arctic and the commercial and strategic potentials of its sea lanes and natural resources has been persistent, from the fur-trading empires of Rupert’s Land and Russian America to our own times. However, climatic conditions have prevented the region’s full potential from being achieved, holding back its development and limiting its contribution to the world economy, making it neither a rimland or a heartland but something more closely resembling what geopolitical theorist Mackinder called ‘Lenaland’ – after the isolated Lena River valley in Russia which captured the unique geostrategic insularity of the Far North, making it possible for the Cold War’s two armed and often hostile superpowers to come face-to-face along their long ice curtain with very little risk of war, in great contrast to the Central Front in the once-divided Germany where a million men stood armed and ready for war for a generation. This long isolation dates back before the dawn of mankind and accounts for the region’s unique fauna, like the polar bear and beluga whale, blending into an environment defined by ice and snow for millennia.

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