The Arctic: Peaceful After All?

Foreign Policy magazine has an interesting article by Lawson Brigham, who I recently wrote about in my blog after his visit to UCLA. It’s entitled, “The Arctic: Everyone wants a piece of the thawing far north. But that doesn’t mean anarchy will reign at the top of the world.”

In the article, Brigham contends with six generally held beliefs about the Arctic. Below is a summary of the six assumptions, followed by Brigham’s answers.

  1. “The Arctic Is Experiencing a 21st-Century Gold Rush.” – Wrong.
  2. “Climate Change Is Driving the Transformation of the Arctic.” – Not entirely.
  3. “The Arctic Is a Vast Storehouse of Natural Resources.” – True.
  4. “The Arctic Will Become a Shipping Superhighway.” – Not so fast.
  5. “We Need a New Treaty to Govern the Arctic.” – Not really.
  6. “Conflict Is Inevitable in the Arctic.”  – No, it isn’t.

Brigham concludes, “The lesson is clear enough: The world has plenty of regions where serious conflict is a way of life already. Let’s worry about them first.”

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