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Wednesday, 09 January 2019 21:15

The Arctic in 2035: from confrontation to cooperation

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We offer you an essay of candidate of political Sciences, associate Professor of international studies Of the Institute of foreign Philology and regional studies of NEFU. M. K. Ammosov, N. S. Canada Division of the Institute of USA and Canada studies Maximova Dariani Dmitrievna. Essay was specially written for the Round table "the World in 2035: a view of youth", which was organized by IMEMO is the name of Yevgeny Primakov Russian Academy of Sciences, Centre of foreign policy cooperation name of Yevgeny Primakov and the Fund of support of public diplomacy name A. M. Gorchakov. First of all, this text is devoted to forecasting the development of international relations in the Arctic region in the coming decades.

 

The Arctic in 2035: from confrontation to cooperation

Predicting what will happen in 18 years is not the easiest task in the light of today's multifaceted agenda on the world stage. But we can already say that international relations are developing in a regional context. At the same time, regionalization, the further, the more associated with globalization. In the future, these processes will remain the main trends. Regionalism has already become an important factor in the formation of foreign and domestic policy, which takes into account the geopolitical, geo-economic and socio-cultural features of the territory. And globalization will remain for a long time the main process of world development, in which the internationalization of all spheres of society will be present. By 2035, the predominant trend will be to focus the attention of the world community on certain regions of the world that have prospects for the development of relations at the interstate, interregional level, as well as causing interest among transnational corporations.

Among these regions can be called the Arctic, which is devoted to this essay.

The relevance of the chosen topic is due to the increasing importance of Arctic problems in international relations. Already today, the Arctic region is showing signs of regionalization and is involved in the processes of globalization. The Arctic is the future of international relations not only for the eight circumpolar countries (Russia, the USA, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden), but also for the non-Arctic States that are increasingly interested in developing their strategy for the development of this coldest and most inaccessible region on the planet. As noted by the academician A. A. Dynkin, the potential of the Arctic region today "is not yet included in the processes of global economic growth and development", but at the same time "the Arctic vector can become the most important in the formation of a new energy world order, which will determine the nature and main parameters of socio-economic development of the world for many decades"[1]. 

The global importance of the regions of the North and the Arctic is determined, first, by their role in climate formation; secondly, by the presence of huge reserves of natural resources, in particular, hydrocarbons in the underwater fields of the Arctic; thirdly, by the military-strategic and transport-communicative importance of the region.

So, significant changes are expected here. According to the intergovernmental panel on climate change during the twentieth century temperatures in the Arctic have increased by 5 From[2]. By 2080, it is expected to increase by 4.0-7.5 C in summer and 2.5-14 C in winter compared to today's figures[3]. The most noticeable warming will occur in the autumn-winter period over the ice-free areas of the polar oceans. Over the land area are projected to be smaller seasonal variations in temperature. Recent studies predict a decrease in the average long-term area of floating ice distribution in the Arctic by 2080-2100 by 22-33%[4]. According to the working group on climate change of the US Navy, "somewhere between 2035 and 2040, it is very likely that the Arctic ocean will be mostly free of ice for about a month"[5].

Of course, such forecasts contribute to the growth of interest in the region. The situation in the Arctic could be a Prime example of how climate change affects international relations. A record low of ice in the region during the thirty years of satellite observations was achieved for the first time in 2007.in the same year, the tension on the future expansion of the Northern continental shelves in the Arctic and the North pole reached its climax. The reason for this was the Russian expedition "Arctic-2007" to the North pole and the installation of a memorial sign in the form of the flag of Russia on the bottom of the Arctic ocean. Immediately followed by a reaction from the Northern neighbors of Russia. Also, this event has become a kind of catalyst for the development of Arctic strategies of the main players in the region. Thus, at present, the state policy of the States interested in the Arctic is undergoing changes due to the increasing importance of the Arctic region in the world agenda, and this trend will continue. Today, the problem of global warming is perceived not only as an environmental problem, but also as a problem whose consequences can be economically beneficial. Thus, in the near future, the development of the Arctic region can become a very promising enterprise. 

In this regard, there are all the prerequisites that by 2035 the Arctic can become one of the local centers of international relations. The key question here is: will the Arctic be a territory of confrontation or cooperation?

Today, the processes of militarization are precautionary. Rather, the Arctic States are preparing for the need to respond quickly to emergencies than confrontation. Nevertheless, many already see the contours of the beginning arms race in the region – the harbingers of the future "battle for the Arctic"[6].

The thesis of growing conflict is accompanied by the expectation of an arms race in the region. Signs of militarization or "remilitarization" of the Arctic experts (M. Byers, D. Varhol, A. V. Zagorskiy, V. N. Konyshev, A. Sergunin, etc.) provide a number of features. In particular, we are talking about increasing the military presence of coastal countries in the region, the modernization of their armed forces (or plans for such modernization), including the purchase of new military equipment, the regular conduct of military exercises and the expansion of military cooperation between the countries of the region with each other and with non-Arctic States.

Experts talk about the prospects of involvement in future Arctic disputes of the North Atlantic Alliance (four of the five Arctic countries are its members: the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway), and also talk about the formation of "mini-NATO" in a narrower composition, the strategic goal of this regional organization experts call the limitation of Russia's military influence in the Arctic. NATO's military activity in the Arctic has increased markedly since 2006 (cold response exercises, Right arrow). There are grounds to assume that the activity of the Alliance in the Arctic region will continue to grow.

Russian Navy and air force intensified in the Arctic. In addition to the tasks of maintaining global parity, the modernization of the Russian Navy is dictated by the special role of the fleet in ensuring national economic interests in the energy-rich Arctic, where Russia seeks to increase its exclusive zone of economic rights. Today, except for the Russian Northern fleet, none of the Arctic States have deployed naval forces. Russia continues to rely on the air force as an important element of the demonstration of force. In 2007, for the first time after the collapse of the USSR, Tu-95MS strategic bombers flew to the Arctic zone. Work began on the restoration of the air force base "Temp" on the island of Kotelny. In varying degrees of operational readiness are other air force bases in the Arctic zone. To ensure Russia's comprehensive military security in the region, it is planned to restore the Arctic infrastructure. It cannot be ruled out that by 2035 unresolved disputes in the Arctic could become a stumbling block in Canada's relations with Denmark and the United States. To date, border disputes between these countries (the territorial dispute around the island of Hans (since 1973); the delimitation of the Beaufort sea (since the 1970s) are considered unresolved. Another controversial issue is still the status of the Northwest passage along Canada. Of course, a direct military clash should not be expected, but Canadians can strengthen their contingent in the North of the country to "demonstrate" their sovereignty in the region.

Today, Canada is probably one of the most unprepared powers to defend its Northern borders, despite the fact that it regularly conducts military exercises in the Arctic. In 2002, after a long break since 1989, Canada was one of the first Arctic States to initiate them. Since 2007, every year in August, the operation Nanook (Nanook). It is planned to build a military training center in Resolute, six to eight patrol vessels ice-class coast guard. Permanent military presence in the canadian Arctic will be provided by canadian Rangers in the amount of 5 thousand people. and the company Yellowknife reserve unit in the Northwest territories. In addition, Canada is the closest neighbor and ally of the United States. Today, as well as during the cold war, canadian-American cooperation is actively conducted to ensure continental security within the command of the aerospace defense Of North America (NORAD).

At first glance, the United States has not shown any serious interest in the militarization of the Arctic since the end of the cold war, however, units of American troops are present in Alaska, but it should be noted that they are not intended for operations in the Arctic. Thus, to prove the militarization of the Arctic, experts most often refer to the frequent military exercises and plans for the modernization of the armed forces of the Arctic States[7], but the analysis of the military potential of the coastal countries allows us to state that the coastal States are not preparing for an armed conflict. "Military threats in the Arctic are assessed by coastal States as relatively low" [8]. Moreover, over the past twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the scale of military activity of Russia and the USA in the Arctic has decreased significantly[9].

Of course, the Arctic region will become especially important for countries that have access to the Arctic ocean. These are Norway, Denmark (Greenland), USA (Alaska), Canada and Russia. All these countries may finally decide on the limits of the Northern continental shelf. According to the UN Convention on the law of the sea 1982, (hereinafter – the Convention) the countries of the "Arctic five" have the right to extension of the continental shelf in the region. To date, Russia (2001, supplemented in 2015), Denmark (2015) and Norway (2006) have already filed their claims on the shelf. Canada is likely to complete its application by 2035 (2013). Only the US has not yet ratified the Convention. Whether they do or not is hard to say. In the US, there are both supporters of ratification and opponents of it. In case of ratification of the USA by the specified year will already submit the application to the UN Commission on limits of the continental shelf (further – the Commission).

But the work with the application is only the first stage, since the Commission's decision is purely Advisory in nature, the Arctic five countries will need to further agree with each other on what principle to draw the dividing lines. Thus, by 2035 the question of who will own the North pole will become really relevant. There are the following potential solutions to the problem of ownership of the Arctic shelves: 1) on the principle of sectoral division of the Arctic, which, in particular, has been used since the 1920s. The USSR and Canada, but it was not spelled out in any international document; 2) the definition of boundaries along the median line, which is understood equidistant from all coasts; 3) the creation in the center of the Arctic ocean international seabed area, where natural resources will be defined as "the common heritage of mankind"; 4) the Arctic as a free sea zone open to international oil companies; 5) the international Treaty on the Arctic, establishing an international regime of management by analogy with the Antarctic Treaty (Antarctic Treaty).

By 2035 the Convention will continue to be the main instrument establishing an international legal regime in the Arctic region. It will become a kind of basic law ("Constitution") of the Arctic. No new regime will be formed in the region, despite the proposals to conclude an agreement on the analogy of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the provisions and additional protocols of which prohibit military activities and mining. This can be assured, because the Arctic countries will not allow infringement of their sovereign rights.

Denmark (Greenland) will insist that the basis for the Northern demarcation of the continental shelf was based on the principle of the median line. In this case, it will become the" rightholder " of the North pole. 

The United States is not satisfied with any of the options for determining the boundaries of the Northern continental shelf. In the case of the section of the Arctic on the Arctic sector or in the midline of the United States will get a small area of shelf less than 10%. Therefore, it should be expected that the United States will not ratify the Convention and will insist on the condominium, that is, the General management of resources. Ideally, the Americans would prefer to develop Arctic deposits of natural resources on the terms of a direct bilateral agreement with the government of the state, on the shelf of which natural resources are found.

In turn, this behavior of the United States will worsen their relations with the nearest neighbor and ally Canada. With the melting of ice in the Arctic and the emergence of new transport routes, their relations may deteriorate in the long-running dispute over the status of the Northwest passage (NWP), which began in 1969.to date, the United States claims that the Northwest passage is the international Strait, Canada believes that it is its internal waters. The current impasse over this dispute is not the worst case scenario, because the main problem is Canada's ability to control the FFP. In the future, in protecting their sovereignty in the NWP, Canadians can find support from Russia, which similarly considers the Northern sea route its internal waters.

In addition, it is already known that Canada, like Russia, is for the sectoral principle of the division of borders in the Arctic. As for the North pole, all the applicant States will have access to it when dividing into the Arctic sectors. Thus, Canada may be able to find an ally in Russia by 2035. Finally, in the North and in the Arctic, Canada and Russia have the most common national interests related to the development of resources, preservation of the environment and climate, maintaining the viability and culture of the indigenous population of the Northern regions of the planet. The development of Russian-canadian cooperation, both at the interstate and interregional levels, seems promising. However, the prospects for inter-regional cooperation largely depend on the state of inter-state relations, in the dynamic development of which both Russia and Canada will be interested by 2035. The problems of development of the North and the Arctic can become a platform for such interaction.

With the melting of the ice cover of the Arctic ocean by 2035, Russia can open very favorable prospects for the development of the Northern sea route. Thanks to this, our country can become a major Maritime power. To the indicated year in this way will go to court without icebreaker assistance during the summer period. As you know, through the Northern sea route and the North-Western passage can significantly reduce the time of passage from Europe to Asia and back. The development of the Northern sea route will have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of coastal areas and Northern residents. Merchant ships accompanied by icebreakers can start to walk through the North pole. But in order to build all the logistics, as well as to provide opportunities for rapid response in case of emergencies, and in General to support the growth of commercial activity in the region, it is necessary to increase the scale of cooperation[10]. Icebreaking wiring will be provided by unique Russian nuclear-powered ships, which will still be the key to Russia's development of the Arctic. Other Arctic countries neither now nor in the coming years will be able to compete with our country in the quantity and quality of icebreaking resources. By 2020, Russia will have five nuclear-powered ships, three of them of a new generation[11]. It is worth noting that Russia has the largest marine sector in the Arctic. Therefore, opening access to the Arctic sea routes could allow Russia to develop as a Maritime power. In General, the development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation will be a priority. For this purpose, a special Ministry for the Arctic and Northern territories will be created, which will deal with the sustainable development of the Northern regions of our country. Finally, international cooperation on the regions of the North and the Arctic will develop successfully. The most important and influential institution will be the Arctic Council, which will bring together all actors interested in the development of the region (polar countries, indigenous peoples, non-regional countries, non-profit organizations, transnational corporations). Its status can be defined as a kind of "Arctic UN" or "Arctic government". There is also the potential for the successful development of the international non-governmental organization "the Northern forum". This organization, whose Secretariat is currently located in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), will unite almost all the Northern regions of the eight polar countries. At the same time, Russia will remain the leader of the Northern forum. A special place in international cooperation will be taken by the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. China and South Korea will take part in the restoration and modern development of the Northern sea route.

In the Arctic cooperation, special attention will be paid to global problems such as poverty and social inequality, demographic, environmental, energy and raw materials problems. There will be a new problem for the Arctic, among others, of international crime and terrorism in connection with the development of transport mobility in the region by that time. Thus, the future of the Arctic is international cooperation that will unite the efforts of the circumpolar States in the sustainable development of the region.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that the Arctic has a huge spatial resource. This region is a reserve of "free" spaces. The Arctic occupies about one-sixth of the Earth's surface, two-thirds of which is the Arctic ocean. Today, a large part of the surface of the ocean during the whole year covered by ice and unnavigable, but it could change for the period under review. Another comparable in size similar region is Antarctica, but in contrast the Arctic is inhabited by permanent residents here and is located next to the most developed countries in Europe and North America. In addition, the world in 2035, when it comes to the Arctic, will be perceived from the North pole. Today, in a sense, we are "victims" of the "Mercator type of thinking", when we represent the world by the standard of a flat world from East to West, based on the Mercator projection. But if you look at the map of the world from above from the Arctic, it is in the center, and the polar countries become each other's neighbors across the Arctic ocean.

[1] International cooperation in the Arctic: risks and opportunities. Report of academician of the RussianAcademy of Sciences. 2015. Vol. 85. № 5-6. P. 404.

[2] Intergovernmental panel on climate change. Climate change, 2001: Mitigation. Summary for policy makers and Technical summary of the report of working group III. (http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/climate-changes-2001/mitigation/mitigation-spm-ts-ru.pdf).

[3] C. Earner, Ogden A. E. To Climate Change in the Circumpolar North: The Role of The Northern Climate Exchange // Circumpolar Connections: 8th Annual Circumpolar Universities Cooperation Conference. Whitehorse, November 7-10, 2003. P. 1.

[4] See: Svechnikov, A. L. Environmental problems of the Arctic region. "the Arctic region: problems of international cooperation". Vol.2. M., 2013. P. 250-251. 

[5] Ward A. Arctic sea lane could open by 2035 / / Financial Times. 25.01.2011. URL: https://www.ft.com/content/730ef8fe-27e1-11e0-8abc-00144feab49a#axzz1C2MKAboq%20 

[6] O. R. Young. The Arctic in the future: an arena of conflict or a zone of peace? // Westn. Mosk. UN-TA. Ser. 25. International relations and world politics. 2011. No. 2. P. 244-255; M. Byers, Who Owns the Arctic? Understanding Sovereignty Disputes in the North. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 2009. 179 p.; D. Fairhall, Cold Front: Conflict Ahead in Arctic Waters. L.; N.Y.: I. B. Tauris, 2010. 220 p.; V. N. Konyshev, A. Sergunin. The Arctic in international politics: cooperation or competition? Moscow: RISI, 2011; Zagorsky A. the militarization of the Arctic: the devil is not so terrible as he is painted. URL: http://russiancouncil.ru/analytics-and-comments/analytics/militarizatsiya-arktiki-ne-tak-strashen-chert-kak-ego-malyuyu/ 

[7] Gubin, Russia's military capabilities in the Arctic. URL: http://russiancouncil.ru/analytics-and-comments/analytics/voennye-vozmozhnosti-rossii-v-arktike/; Fenenko, Moscow and Washington in the Arctic. URL: http://russiancouncil.ru/analytics-and-comments/analytics/moskva-i-vashington-v-arkticheskom-prostranstve/; Saparov A. NATO and the new agenda in the Arctic. URL: http://russiancouncil.ru/analytics-and-comments/analytics/nato-i-novaya-povestka-dnya-v-arktike/

[8] International cooperation in the Arctic: risks and opportunities. Report of academician of the RussianAcademy of Sciences. 2015. Vol. 85. № 5-6. P. 407.

[9] See. read more: Khramchikhin A. A. Military-political situation in the Arctic and scenarios of possible conflicts // RIAC anthology "the Arctic region: problems of international cooperation", Vol. 1 (Section 3. Security and strategic stability in the Arctic). M., 2013. P. 327-343.

[10] Ward A. Arctic sea lane could open by 2035 // Financial Times. 25.01.2011. URL: https://www.ft.com/content/730ef8fe-27e1-11e0-8abc-00144feab49a#axzz1C2MKAboq%20

[11] Todorov, A. A. Icebreaker fleet of Russia breaks the way to the top of the Arctic region // Russian Institute for strategic studies. 01.08.2016. https://riss.ru/analitycs/32948/

Author: Daryana Maksimova, associate Professor of international studies of NEFU, N. S. ISKRAN


 

Source: http://russiancouncil.ru/blogs/svfu-experts/arktika-v-2035-godu-ot-konfrontatsii-k-sotrudnichestvu/

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