Page 70 - yearbook pdf

This is a SEO version of yearbook pdf. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »
Arctic Yearbook 2012
National Defense & Military Security
France is a maritime (nuclear) power that looks at the Arctic because of its past and
emerging strategic significance in domestic and international defense affairs. Arctic states’
military-related discourses and policies have captioned the attention of media over the last 10
years, hence increasing the strategic profile and value of that region among third party states
(non-Arctic and non-coastal states like France). Arctic expert and professor at the University
of Calgary, Rob Huebert, has an interesting description of this unprecedented amplified
attention on Arctic affairs:
It is impossible to pick up a magazine or a newspaper, or turn on a TV without
seeing some mention of the changing Arctic. From concern about the survival
of polar bears to the promise of vast new resources including diamonds, oil and
gas, the world has new appreciation of the region. Media reports have focused
on the fear that a ‘race for resources’ may be developing in the region, with
many reports discussing the emergence of a new ‘Cold War.’ The main thrust of
most of these reports has been the development and interaction of three major
forces: climate change; resource development; and boundary creation. The
intersection of a melting ice cover, the promise of vast resource wealth, and the
need for new maritime boundaries has resulted in unprecedented interest in the
Arctic. At the heart of almost all of these stories is the concern over the security
of the region. Concerns run from issues surrounding environmental security
regarding the impact of climate change, to economic security for northerners as
new economic opportunities and challenges arise, and ultimately, to political and
military security for all of the Arctic states (Huebert, 2010: 23).
Huebert suggests that these mediatized events began to surface around 2005, a period when
Arctic states (first Norway) started to make public “a series of foreign and defense policy
statements regarding Arctic security” (Hubert, 2010: 4). These documents clearly designate
the Arctic (national or international space) as part of each Arctic states’ national interest (see
Heininen’s article in this volume). During that time, these actors also announced their
intentions to increase their naval military capabilities/mobility in the region as a way to
defend their own national security where such infrastructures had been neglected in the past.
It is therefore possible to imply that for the first time since the end of the Cold War, military
related events in the Arctic have pushed world powers to look at
include this
geographical space within their own strategic military calculus for defense and security
purposes. French military observers and agenda setters have recently engaged in this
discursive strategic planning process. Some examples are presented below.