Foreign Policy Blogs

Arctic

Arctic Frontiers: A Critical Cartography

Arctic Frontiers: A Critical Cartography

“Maps are ideology,” Christopher Connery, a professor of world literature and cultural studies, once wrote. If that is the case, then the map produced for the 2013 Arctic Frontiers conference by Reibo, an agency in Tromsø, Norway, is certainly an interesting case study. The colorful, stylized, and cartoonish map is not divided into countries, but rather into […]

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Arctic Frontiers: Day One

Arctic Frontiers: Day One

I’m currently in Tromsø, Norway where the Arctic Frontiers conference is taking place all week at the local university. Today’s program featured several high-level politicians, including the foreign minsters of Norway and Sweden, the Canadian Minister of Health and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, the Deputy Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, and the Lieutenant […]

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Northern Sea Route headquarters to open in Moscow

Northern Sea Route headquarters to open in Moscow

The new headquarters for the Northern Sea Route (NSR) will open in Moscow on January 28. The new, state-owned enterprise will have a budget of 35 million rubles (about $1.1 million) and will set forth tariffs and regulations regarding “navigation safety and the prevention, reduction, and control of pollution in the marine environment,” according to a […]

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Medvedev establishes environmental buffer zone around Wrangel Island

Medvedev establishes environmental buffer zone around Wrangel Island

On December 27, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree creating a new buffer zone around Wrangel Island in the Arctic. Wrangel Island and nearby Herald Island have enjoyed environmental protection since 1976, when the USSR declared them to be state nature reserves (zapovednik, in Russian). Wrangel and Herald Islands are the only parts […]

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More trouble for Shell in Alaska as oil rig runs aground

More trouble for Shell in Alaska as oil rig runs aground

2013 has not gotten off to an auspicious start for Shell. Its oil rig, the Kulluk, has run aground with hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel and oil on board. On Monday night, two of Shell’s ships, the Aiviq and the Alert, were towing the Kulluk near the coast of Kodiak Island in southern Alaska […]

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From one frontier to the next: the Arctic and space

From one frontier to the next: the Arctic and space

A brief update on happenings in the Arctic from the road. Spaceport Sweden is planning to develop a launchpad in the northern city of Kiruna to send sub-orbital flights into space. The five-minute flights, which would obtain an altitude of 60 miles, would be for tourism and research. According to Discovery News, Kiruna’s location is […]

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Vacation

Readers, I’ll be away on vacation for the next three weeks. I hope to be able to post occasionally, but my internet access will be sporadic. I’ll post again at the beginning of the new year. Until then, happy holidays!

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LNG tanker from Norway to arrive in Japan today

LNG tanker from Norway to arrive in Japan today

An LNG tanker sailing from Hammerfest, Norway to Tobata, Japan is due to arrive today. This is the first time that a ship carrying LNG has transited the Northern Sea Route. Developments in shipping LNG in the Arctic have picked up pace lately. Only recently did Norwegian company Knutsen OAS Shipping receive permission from Russian […]

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Putin shutters Russian indigenous peoples’ organization

Putin shutters Russian indigenous peoples’ organization

In Russia, indigenous peoples have encountered a major setback. The Ministry of Justice has ordered the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East (RAIPON) closed until next April because their charter and operations ostensibly conflict with federal law. RAIPON, one of the six indigenous organizations that is a Permanent Participant of the […]

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CIA-commissioned report on climate change released

CIA-commissioned report on climate change released

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Research Council (NRC) have released a report commissioned by the CIA and various other American intelligence agencies on the security threats posed by climate change. The report’s goal is to inform intelligence agencies as to how to best carry out monitoring to anticipate climate-related disasters, help prevent […]

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Study finds increase in litter on Arctic seafloor

Study finds increase in litter on Arctic seafloor

Carbon dioxide, black soot, and nuclear waste are all commonly discussed pollutants in the Arctic. The potential risk of contamination from oil spills is also another pollutant that receives a sizable amount of attention both in the media and in academia. Yet a new study in Marine Pollution Bulletin discusses a pollutant that is quite […]

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U.S. to lease land in Alaska for oil and gas development

U.S. to lease land in Alaska for oil and gas development

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently announced that the Bureau of Land Management will issue leases for 4.5 million acres of land in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska for oil and gas development. The November 7 lease sale will add to the 3 million acres offered up in the same area last December. […]

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The Natural and Technological Sublime in the Arctic

The Natural and Technological Sublime in the Arctic

Today, I will explore the linkages between two concepts of the sublime – the natural and the technological – and the Arctic. In the book, “American Technological Sublime,” author David Nye explores how the U.S. has established its national character through the use of the technological sublime. Readers may be familiar with the work of […]

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Arctic Council close to reaching agreement on marine oil pollution preparedness

Arctic Council close to reaching agreement on marine oil pollution preparedness

At the last Arctic Council meeting in Nuuk, Greenland in May 2011, the eight member states decided to form a task force to write an agreement on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response. This past week in Reykjavik, Iceland, delegates from the eight Arctic Council member states met again for a fifth round of […]

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Iceland: Geopolitical Triangulation

Iceland: Geopolitical Triangulation

Iceland sits right on the divide between the North American and Eurasian continental plates. A little hotspot of volcanic activity in the North Atlantic, it has tried to rediscover its geopolitical identity several times over the past century. I recently read Klaus Dodds and Valur Ingimundarson’s article in the Polar Journal, “Territorial nationalism and Arctic […]

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