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Unformatted text preview: 204 Elizabeth L. Chalecki 10 Elizabeth L. Chalecki is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Fletcher School of Law &amp; Diplomacy, Tufts University (firstname.lastname@example.org). H E W HO W OULD R ULE : C LIMATE C HANGE IN THE A RCTIC AND ITS I MPLICATIONS FOR U.S. N ATIONAL S ECURITY Elizabeth L. Chalecki Anthropogenic climate change will have its greatest effect on the Arctic, which will experience impacts ranging from increas- ing ambient air temperature to glacier and sea ice melting to permafrost thaw. This altered environment will result in new national security concerns for circumpolar nations such as the United States, including increased Arctic access by Russia and other nations; competition over newly accessible fossil fuel resources; and loss of Arctic military facilities resulting from permafrost thaw and land subsidence. Although these effects will be felt cumulatively over the coming decades, the United States must make the necessary strategic changes now in order to prevail in this new security environment. The United States should retrain and re-equip military forces for greater Arctic operability, work toward a clear legal understanding of open sea access in newly ice-free waters, and consider implementing a joint circumpolar security apparatus to facilitate adaptation to this new globally-warmed Arctic. I NTRODUCTION The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. Confucius 205 He Who Would Rule: Climate Change in the Arctic and its Implications for U.S. National Security Hidden on the roof of the earth, far away from the din and tendentious- ness of the trafficked world, lies an area with a unique ecosystem and a unique mythology. From legends of Valhalla to the Canadian poet Robert Service to the television hit Northern Exposure , the Arctic has been a cold and quiet place of mystery. It is the home of fur-clad indigenous peoples, charismatic megafauna like polar bears and caribou, and a wealth of natu- ral resources. It has been referred to as the Mediterranean of the Future (Theutenberg 1988, 303) to reflect the many nations learning to cooperate around one body of water. Ever since the development of the long-range bomber and interconti- nental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Arctic has also been regarded as a place of Cold War strategic importance (Jalonen 1988, 157ff; see also Palosaari and Mller 2004, and Young 1985). At that time, Distant Early Warning Line radar stations were placed along the sixty-sixth parallel to warn the United States and Canada of an incoming Soviet nuclear attack. In ad- dition to its nuclear dimension, political strategists in the 1980s advised that the Arctic take a place of greater prominence in security affairs due to its fossil fuel energy resources (Young 1985, 165-166). In 1983, during the height of the Cold War, the Reagan administration issued National Security Decision Directive 90 : United States Arctic Policy. It states that, The United States has unique and critical interests in the Arctic region,...
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.
- Fall '11