Polar Geopolitics

Polar Geopolitics

A podcast on the Arctic and Antarctica

Episodes

November 25, 2022 24 min

Although the Arctic Council has remained on pause since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, multilateral interactions and diplomatic activity among senior Arctic officials (excluding representatives of Russia) has by no means come to a complete stop. Meanwhile, some stakeholders, particularly the Permanent Participant indigenous peoples’ organizations in the Arctic Council, see the current pause, even if well justified, as a relative los...

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With energy and strategic raw materials increasingly at the center of geopolitics, the European Union’s first Arctic ambassador argues that Europe should look to certain areas of the Arctic in implementing its Green New Deal and transition towards renewables. Ambassador Marie-Anne Coninsx, senior associate fellow at the Egmont Institute in Brussels, joins the podcast to discuss a new Egmont report she co-authored with Karen van Loo...

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In this moment of crisis, Prof. Oran Young shares insights accumulated across four decades, a time during which he laid the foundation for analyzing Arctic politics, and actively promoted governance initiatives in the circumpolar North. He also reflects on the legacy of Mikael Gorbachev, who was instrumental in establishing the idea of the Arctic as a “Zone of Peace”. This episode of the Polar Geopolitics podcast commemorates the 3...

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Facing the most serious crisis since its founding in 1996, the future of the Arctic Council—currently on pause due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—has become fraught with uncertainty. What role, if any, can Russia possibly play in polar governance institutions if and when the conflict it started eventually subsides? Evan T. Bloom, a Senior Fellow at the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute who was instrumental in the Council’s establish...

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Arctic and Russia expert Caroline Kennedy-Pipe, Professor of War Studies at Loughborough University, joins the podcast for a wide-ranging discussion on the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Arctic and Baltic security, Eurasian geopolitics and the liberal international order, as well as the threat of nuclear escalation and the possibility that great power competition between the United States, Russia and China could re...

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Klaus Dodds, professor of geopolitics at Royal Holloway University of London and author of the recent book Border Wars: The Conflicts that will Define our Future, joins the podcast to discuss the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the Arctic Council and Antarctic Treaty System, on Baltic security and UNCLOS processes, and the ways in which the war has deeply disrupted the liberal international order, and potentially usher...
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The tensions in Arctic relations that began after the 2014 Crimea crisis will in all likelihood be greatly exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Could the new security situation in Europe, together with the increased military activity in the High North in recent years, lead to an Arctic arms race? Russia and Arctic expert Mathieu Boulègue, a research fellow at the Russia and Eurasia programme at Chatham House, joins the p...

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Camp Century, a 1960s US Army base embedded in the Greenland ice sheet, was not only a High Arctic test site for advanced technologies—including a modular nuclear reactor—and secret military schemes at the height of the Cold War, but also a seminal location for the extraction of ice cores that would become an important baseline for modern climate science. Associate professor Kristian H. Nielsen of Aarhus University, who-coauthored ...

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The European Union updated its Arctic policy in October with a communication that took a strong stand on climate change—calling for hydrocarbons to be left in the ground—and pronounced its status as an Arctic geopolitical actor that would assert its interests across the circumpolar North. Ambassador Michael Mann, the EU Special Envoy for Arctic Matters, joins the Polar Geopolitics podcast for an in-depth discussion on the multiple ...

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Despite asserting itself as a regional and global power, Brazil has traditionally taken a back seat to Chile and Argentina in terms of the Antarctic geopolitics of South America. Why has this been the case, and will Brazil continue its somewhat limited engagement relative to the extensive Antarctic programs of its neighbors? Ignacio Javier Cardone, author of the new book "The Antarctic Politics of Brazil: Where the Tropic meets...

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Australia’s plans to build a 2.7 km airstrip and other infrastructure in the ice-free Vestfold Hills near its Davis Station in East Antarctica have been heavily criticized, primarily on environmental grounds. The aerodrome, which Australia contends would improve scientific access to the continent and facilitate search and rescue operations, could also have an array of geopolitical implications. Antarctic legal expert Jeffrey McGee,...

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Hosting scientific facilities representing 12 countries, the Ny-Ålesund Research Station in Svalbard is perhaps the most international location in the Arctic. The former coalmining community, which Norway has over the past 30 years transformed into a leading center of Arctic research, also serves a geopolitical function for many of the states represented there. Associate Prof. Maarten Loonen from the Arctic Center at the University...

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Could the incident of the Ever Given running aground in the Suez Canal, disrupting global trade for six days, be a turning point that leads to an expansion of container shipping along the Northern Sea Route and other Arctic passages? Or will the risks and costs associated with Arctic shipping, even when taking climate change and geopolitics into consideration, continue to exceed those of established Europe-Asia routes for decades t...
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On this episode, Prof. Caroline Kennedy-Pipe—an Arctic, Russia and Cold War expert at Loughborough University in England—analyses the emerging great power competition in the Arctic by providing a longer-term perspective on the geopolitical dynamics and developments in the circumpolar North over the past forty years. This period encompasses the close of the Cold War, the rise of international cooperation in the Arctic, and key shift...

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Dr. Mike Sfraga, director of the Polar Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C., joins the podcast to discuss the various ways he sees the Biden administration altering American policies and geopolitical positioning in the polar regions. From global issues like climate change and great power competition, to regional and local issues such as renewed U.S. engagement with the Arctic Council, the key role of Greenland, and inf...

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The rise of great power competition in the Arctic, the disruption of Antarctic governance due to COVID-19, and the impact of the coronavirus on vulnerable Arctic communities were some of the notable polar topics covered on this podcast during the course of the pandemic year of 2020. In this year-end review, Klaus Dodds, professor of geopolitics at Royal Holloway University, discusses what he sees as some of the most significant geo...

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Science is to a large extent the currency of governance and geopolitics in Antarctica, giving countries that conduct scientific research there a seat at the Antarctic Treaty System table. But should countries—often from the global South—that bear the brunt of the effects of climate-induced geophysical changes in Antarctica be given a greater voice in the ATS, even if they lack the resources to conduct costly research in the souther...

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China’s increasingly ambitious polar activities have to date largely centered on exerting physical presence in the Arctic and Antarctic, according to Dr. Nengye Liu, an associate professor of international law at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. In a recent online presentation for China’s polar elite, Dr. Liu recommended that China should abandon such 19th century thinking, which causes anxiety among other stakeholders, a...

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The admission of China, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea as observers to the Arctic Council in 2013 seemed a turning point in contemporary Arctic history, with the rapidly increasing engagement of Asian states appearing to signal the arrival of globalization as well as a new era of geopolitics in the High North. But how has it so far played out on the ground and on the ice? To analyze the evolving strategies and activities o...

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The opening of a US Consulate in Nuuk, Greenland represents the latest in a series of moves that signal a deepening geopolitical engagement in the Arctic by the United States in response to Russian and Chinese advances in the region. To explain the current U.S. policy and strategic outlook on the Arctic, including an in-depth discussion on Greenland, this episode of the podcast features an interview with one of the top American off...

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