Is There a Dark Side to Arctic Cooperation?

World Policy Blog published an article titled, “Is There a Dark Side to Arctic Cooperation?” The article reads in part as follows;

“The changing seascape in the Arctic has considerable implications for human activity in the region. While efforts are underway to develop new frameworks, particularly in terms of shipping and transit, some of these policies might also create challenges and sources of discord.

In the first week of September news broke of an ice-free Arctic passage along the Russian Arctic coast, referred to as the Northeast Passage or Northern Sea Route (NSR). This news spread as reports emerged that a tanker had successfully travelled the route without an accompanying icebreaker. Both events are newsworthy for a number of reasons. First, they exemplify the impact of a changing climate on the region. Second, they indicate what could lie ahead. If the NSR opens permanently—as opposed to only being accessible during the summer months—it could reshape global trade relations. The passage could eventually serve as a shorter or alternative shipping route to ones that rely on the Suez Canal, the Cape of Good Hope, or the Chinese Silk Road initiative.

This could also impact regions far from the Arctic. In response to the rise in piracy over the past 15 years, major Western-led initiatives have been launched to secure trade in the Indian Ocean. The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, Regional Maritime Rescue Centers, and a number of other forums designed for knowledge exchange have been developed in cooperation with states in the global South, including those bordering the Indian Ocean. If the Arctic becomes an alternative to the Indian Ocean, it’s uncertain whether Western states will commit to maintaining this infrastructure.”

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