The Huffington Post published an article online titled, “Russia, the Arctic, and the Consequence of Failure.” The article reads in part as follows;
“This year, the United States turned over the two-year chairmanship term of the Arctic Council to Finland. The Council is the representative group of nations with direct connection to the circumpolar Arctic region, augmented by observer nations and organizations with interest but no contiguous geographical connection. The US had proposed a very ambitious agenda, moderate in its focus on balance between economic development and sustainability. Despite such good intentions and the strong support of the Obama administration, the chairmanship achieved only modest progress. Under the Trump administration there has yet been no clarification of the U.S. position.
The Finland Ambassador to the Arctic recently gave a first interview that suggested continuity of concern, restriction and regulation, sustainability, and commitment to the indigenous people of the Arctic as has been the past pattern, however deliberate over time.
Russia has the longest Arctic coastline—from the north Atlantic to the north Pacific, across the top of the European continent. With the impact of temperature rise and melting polar ice, that lengthy water passage has become of immense interest for east-west transportation and access to resources on land and sea in the high north. The Russians are well aware of this value and have moved with speed to take advantage of the many opportunities now available.
Russia has long been aware of this strategic advantage and has wisely invested in the infrastructure and service elements required. Ports have been expanded and refurbished; the Russians have the largest fleet of icebreakers and ice-rated vessels available now at the moment when the rest of the world begins to study or take first steps to ship via the northern sea route, the number of vessels making that passage rising exponentially over the past few years. Quietly, even within the context of Arctic Council policies and determinations, Russia has positioned itself to derive maximum benefit of the changing circumstances resulting from a changing climate.”