Articles and analysis

feldtphCVjhntmXbwFEwQK1BwIYgJ-ljmMuDYoRFSt9TfLG4Introduction

Recent unexpectedly rapid melting of Arctic Ocean sea ice has captured the public imagination and created the impression of a „Race for the Arctic" with some countries scrambling for access to new trade routes, fishing grounds, energy and other seabed resources that could disturb the current geopolitical balance, writes Lutz Feldt. Others are concerned by the consequences of indiscriminate exploitation for the environment and indigenous peoples and fear possible conflict in the region.

Beneath the heightened political rhetoric, national posturing and media hype about unresolved territorial claims, huge hydrocarbon resources and disappearing polar bears, lies a complex and dynamic picture of disputed science, with inadequate data and unreliable predictions and increasing volatility in the energy market that is not conducive to long term investment and which may affect stability.

In such a fluid situation there is clearly scope for opportunism and miscalculation to lead to friction, which if mishandled could develop into military inter-state conflict.

Tim Reillytbr22The Arctic is becoming the cockpit of the world for three central reasons, writes Tim Reilly:
1. The epicentre of the fastest rate of physical state change in the earth's climate and weather. Interest in the Arctic is now global.
2. A region in which the world's most powerful countries will compete in C21 for strategic dominance, control of the Northern Sea Route (NSR), and access to vast hydrocarbon, fish, and rare-earth mineral reserves.
3. An arena in which two philosophically contrary governance frameworks exist to date in harmony, namely Sovereignty (geopolitical and strategic concerns - held by NATO/Arctic states), and Sovereign Rights (International Law, Human Rights, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), etc), is the governance framework of the Arctic Council (AC). For all these reasons the AC is a highly successful international relations forum in which consideration may be given in due course, to Confidence Building Measures between the U.S. and Russia. In the meantime, it is the essential governance framework for maintaining stability and predictability in the region.

olivier2On 30 November 2019, a just-released jihadist Usman Khan, attending a "Learning Together" seminar in London, wearing a fake suicide vest, murdered two members of the organisation before running to London Bridge to stab more people, writes Olivier Guitta. He was subsequently killed by police and when details of his case emerged, the public was outraged. Khan had been convicted for trying to attack the London Stock Exchange and was sentenced to 16 years in jail. After serving half of his sentence, he was automatically released. The judicial system in Britain had miserably failed but this is happening throughout Europe when it comes to dealing with terrorism cases.

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