While most of us probably just think of the Arctic as an extremely cold place very distant from the rest of the world, there is increasing concern around the globe for the political ramifications of the region. With increased military action coming to light in the Arctic region, the United States is getting set to appoint an ambassador for the Arctic, to make sure that nothing untoward happens in regard to global exchanges between the eight countries that are part of the Arctic region itself. This Ambassador-at-Large position will guide US policy in this area.
Despite the fact that this is the northern polar region, it is a pivotal area and could be very impactful to future negotiations between the countries. This comes after NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russia was threatening in northern regions, as he also worried that China was within reach as well.
According to BBC News,“The new US ambassador will engage with the seven other Arctic nations -Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia -as well as indigenous groups and other stakeholders”, said State Department spokesman Vedant Patel. Peace and stability in the region are of “critical strategic importance”to the US and a priority for Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he added.
The Senate must approve the ambassador who will soon be named by Blinken. Because China has been building Arctic research stations and Russia has enhanced their presence in the region, the United States feels that this is necessary, and are anxious to appoint someone to keep an eye on the area.
Stoltenberg asserted that “the challenges include the reopening of hundreds of new and former Soviet-era Arctic military sites and Russia’s use of the high north as a testbed for the most advanced weapons including hypersonic missiles.” China is also knocking on the Arctic’s door, exploring possibilities for shipping and resources.
“Beijing and Moscow have also pledged to intensify practical operation in the Arctic. This forms part of the deepening strategic partnership that challenges our values and our interests,” Stotenberg said.
Because of climate change, the area is becoming increasingly accessible, and one could expect that the Arctic would be more of a pawn for political moves as the months progress. The United States has been the only Arctic nation that has not been represented with an ambassador, and it is time to make the change.
Previously the United States had an Arctic Coordinator named Jim DeHart, who was a career diplomat.
When the new ambassador gets appointed, he or she can watch out for the best interests of the United States when it comes to the northernmost area of the globe. With Russia and China creeping close, someone definitely needs to keep a watchful eye.