For many of human historical past, the very prime of the world has remained out of play: too chilly, too distant, and too hazardous for the extraordinary exploitations which have reshaped different areas. Nevertheless, immediately, the Arctic is warming sooner than some other place, and its protecting sea ice barrier, which had as soon as stored financial and navy actions in verify, is melting away. NASA (2020) research found that the area loses 13.1% of its ice mass each decade. 2020 has proven the second-lowest sea ice extent since information started (cf. Ramsayer 2020), and up to date projections emphasize that the Arctic Ocean could also be ice-free as early as 2035 (cf. Guarino et al. 2020). Certainly, an ocean is opening up in entrance of us, and the world above 66° latitude could change into the brand new frontier for world competitors, with doubtlessly huge pure sources and the prospect of drastically shortened delivery routes.

The Arctic is open for enterprise. And plenty of wish to take part on this Twenty first-century gold rush. A number of circumpolar states are already struggling to entry the area’s wealthy shops of gasoline, oil, fish, and treasured minerals. Even nations with out Arctic borders are striving for his or her share. America, by most measures, has lagged far behind others, together with Russia and even China, on this race. Which may be about to vary.

This paper evaluates the conduct of Arctic states in an period of newly rising alternatives and threats. The aim is to investigate whether or not energy politics are the dominant driver behind Arctic disputes, and due to this fact if and the way neorealism can clarify the occasions shaping Arctic worldwide relations. I check the speculation’s validity by analyzing a case examine on Arctic state conduct based mostly on 4 hypotheses: 1) the opening Arctic will end in states pursuing financial growth based mostly on the area’s riches, boosting their latent energy; 2) this may enhance human exercise and safety threats within the area, resulting in better navy exercise; 3) weaker Arctic states are then anticipated to pursue safety by searching for alliances; 4) states will ignore or break established guidelines of regional regimes and establishments when it fits their pursuits. 

The Idea of Neorealism

The self-discipline of worldwide relations (IR) offers a number of theories that search to clarify state conduct within the worldwide surroundings (cf. Schieder & Spindler 2010). Amongst these, realism is likely one of the most influential (cf. Schörning 2010; Jacobs 2010). Realist theories have a practical method, intending to clarify the world “as it’s, not because it should be” (Jørgensen 2010, p. 78). Nevertheless, supporters of different influential IR theories have constantly questioned realism’s explanatory capability within the gentle of world political occasions (cf. Jacobs 2010, p. 57).

Nonetheless, the phenomenon of a melting Arctic gives a chance to be analyzed utilizing realist idea. Realism, nonetheless, is a broad idea — starting from classical realism as conceptualized by Hans J. Morgenthau (1948) to the neorealism of Kenneth N. Waltz (1979). This paper explores the neorealistic explanations of the occasions shaping the Arctic. Chapter I’ll due to this fact focus on the theoretical background to offer a foundation for additional evaluation.

The Worldwide Construction

In his 1979 guide, Concept of Worldwide Politics, Waltz responded to the liberal problem to realism and sought to treatment the shortcomings of classical realism (e.g., Jacobs 2010, pp. 54-58; Hyperlink 1965; Waltz 1979, p. 62 et seq.) together with his extra scientific method, generally known as structural or “neo” realism.

The neorealists’ ordering precept of the worldwide system is anarchy (cf. Crawford 2000) its models are states (cf. Schweller 1996; Waltz 1979, pp. 93-94). Whereas Waltz acknowledges the presence of non-state actors, he opposes them as comparatively unimportant:

States set the scene through which they, together with non-state actors, stage their dramas or stick with it their humdrum affairs. Although they could select to intervene little within the affairs of non-state actors for lengthy intervals of time, states nonetheless set the phrases of the intercourse

(Waltz 1979, p. 94).

Furthermore, since all states wish to survive, anarchy presupposes a ‘self-help system’ through which every state should maintain itself (cf. ibid., pp. 111 & 118). There isn’t any division of labor or practical differentiation between states. Even when functionally related (all models are perceived as sovereign[1]), they’re nonetheless distinguished by their relative functionality (the facility represented by every of them) to carry out the identical process (cf. ibid., pp. 96-97).

Though the distribution of capabilities between states can change, the worldwide system’s ordering construction (anarchy) stays the identical. On this framework, Waltz (1979, p. 105 et seq.) discusses two explanation why collaboration amongst states is restricted: insecurity and unequal advantages (relative features). Every state is unsure about different states’ intentions and thus fears that the potential advantages ensuing from cooperation could profit different states greater than themselves, resulting in their dependence on others. “States don’t willingly place themselves in conditions of elevated dependence. In a self-help system, concerns of safety subordinate financial acquire to political curiosity.” (ibid., p. 107)

Like classical realists, Waltz (1979, p. 88) believes that, in contrast to in nation-state programs, there isn’t any hierarchy in worldwide politics. Therefore, energy stays the first variable. It’s, nonetheless, not an finish in itself however an indispensable technique of guaranteeing the states’ fundamental want: safety (cf. ibid., p. 91).

The Battle for Energy

John Mearsheimer (1995, p. 91) summarizes the standard view of how energy is interpreted throughout the realist perspective: “Realists imagine that state behaviour is essentially formed by the fabric construction of the worldwide system.” Certainly, Morgenthau and Waltz each see the worldwide surroundings as a aggressive space the place energy is the principle forex. Nevertheless, whereas Morgenthau rooted his idea within the battle for energy, which he attributed to human nature (cf. Morgenthau 1948, p. 13 et seq.), Waltz tried to keep away from any philosophical debate and as an alternative constructed an IR idea much like microeconomics:

Worldwide-political programs, like financial markets, are individualist in origin, spontaneously generated, and unintended. In each programs, buildings are fashioned by the coaction of their models. Whether or not these models reside, prosper, or die will depend on their very own efforts. Each programs are fashioned and maintained on a precept of self-help that applies to the models

(Waltz 1979, p. 91)

He argues that states within the worldwide system are like corporations within the home financial system (cf. ibid., p. 89 et seq.) and have the identical elementary curiosity: to outlive; “In anarchy, safety is the very best finish.” (ibid., p. 126) Survival is a prerequisite for attaining any targets that states could have. It’s the basis of actions in an surroundings the place security isn’t assured (cf. ibid., p. 92). To beat what Waltz regards as insufficiencies in Morgenthau’s work (cf. Waltz 1959, pp. 28 & 166; 1979, pp. 65 & 74), he makes an attempt to find causation on the systemic fairly than the person stage. In line with Waltz, states are subjected to the dictates of a global system to outlive in an order with no world leviathan (cf. Hobbes, 1984) to supply them safety (cf. Waltz 1979, p. 87).

Consequently, Waltz considers energy and state conduct otherwise than classical realists. For Morgenthau, energy was each a way and an finish, and states have been understood to behave moderately when their conduct amassed most energy (cf. Morgenthau 1948). Neorealists, nonetheless, imagine {that a} state’s elementary curiosity is safety. They therefore deal with the distribution, not the buildup, of energy (cf. Waltz 1979, p. 117 et seq.). Thus, every state will behave in such a method that it believes will finest serve its aims. When power is used or supposed for use by one state, different states’ choices are both to make use of power or to be ready to make use of it (cf. ibid., p. 113).

Neorealists interpret energy beneath two classes: navy and latent financial energy (cf. Keohane 1984, p. 55). As probably the most easy indicator of a state’s energy, navy energy could be measured within the navy’s tangible property. Latent energy, then again, is “associated to the socio-economic substances that go into constructing navy energy; it’s largely based mostly on a state’s wealth and the general measurement of its inhabitants.” (ibid.) Whereas the previous is the essential consider realist phrases, the latter is critical too, because it exhibits the extent of latent reserves it might draw from to launch conflict.

Empirically, these concerns end result within the idea of the balance-of-power: “If there may be any distinctively political idea of worldwide politics, balance-of-power idea is it.” (Waltz 1979, p. 117) Inside the idea, states are considered as unitary actors who, at the least, search their very own preservation and, at most, search to dominate all different states. They, therefore, attempt to use the means at their disposal to realize their targets. These means fall into two classes: ‘inner efforts’, i.e., strikes to extend financial capability, navy energy, and many others. –logically, nonetheless, there are limits to those efforts– and ‘exterior efforts’, i.e., strikes to strengthen and enlarge one’s alliance or to weaken and shrink one other. For this course of sample to carry true, two necessities have to be met: (1) the order have to be anarchic and (2) it have to be populated by models wishing to outlive (cf. ibid., p. 121).

The speculation explains the constraints that emerge from the construction generated by inner and exterior efforts, and it exhibits the anticipated end result: specifically, the creation of energy balances. On this context, Waltz once more attracts from financial idea and makes an attempt to make parallel deductions: “Steadiness-of-power idea is micro idea exactly within the economist’s sense.” (ibid., p. 118) In economics, revenue maximization is believed to be the elemental incentive of any market participant; in response to Waltz, states goal for self-preservation in the identical method. Simply as market individuals try for cash, a state strives for ‘safety models’ (cf. Vogt 1999, p. 50).

Regional Energy and Alliances

The construction of the worldwide system doesn’t dictate state conduct, in response to Waltz’s idea, but it leaves them with little freedom of motion. Nonetheless, elements reminiscent of a state’s geographical place, the standard of its armed forces, and, above all, the results of anarchy on the notion of its surroundings can result in differing state conduct (cf. Masala 2017). Consequently, relying on how these variables are weighted by way of their results on state motion, states could act very otherwise beneath in any other case related circumstances (cf. Jervis 1985). Schweller (1996), for example, assumes that, alongside the standing quo-oriented state (as conceived by Waltz), there are additionally revisionist states within the worldwide system, i.e., states whose goal is to not keep their place however to increase their energy.

John J. Mearsheimer took up this idea. In line with him, a normal rule applies, suggesting that “states within the worldwide system goal to maximise their relative energy place over different states. The reason being easy: the better the navy benefit one state has over different states, the safer it’s.” (Mearsheimer 1994, pp. 11–12) This idea known as ‘offensive realism’ and it means that “states search to not keep away from gaps in features favoring companions however as an alternative to maximise gaps of their favor.” (Grieco 2002, p. 70) Therefore, offensive realism’s principal argument is that states maximize their energy to enhance their relative place over others.

Moreover to the estimation of latent and navy state energy, the geographical distribution of energy is essential. Mearsheimer (2001, p. 13) locations excessive significance on the facility relation between them to clarify interstate conduct. When arguing that states pursue energy so as to survive, he attracts from Waltz. But, Mearsheimer prolonged Waltz’s speculation, indicating that states that acquire appreciable affect are “strongly inclined to hunt regional hegemony.” (ibid., p. 232) Different states could then favor constructing alliances (cf. ibid. , p. 344).

Energy is an important however not crucial consider selecting allies. As a substitute, in response to Stephen M. Walt (1987, pp. 21-22), it’s the consciousness of hazard that dictates what a state does. Due to this fact, energy elements work together with elements of “geographic proximity, offensive energy, and aggressive intentions.” (ibid., p. 22) Threats don’t all the time need to be specific. The navy functionality of a regional energy alone might be sufficient to generate worry in weaker states. Consequently, construction and state conduct can gasoline menace notion. On this case, weaker states have two alternate options, to ‘steadiness’ or ‘bandwagon’. Whereas balancing occurs when states ally with different smaller forces to counter a better regional energy, bandwagoning refers to a regional alliance between a weaker state and a better energy that’s extra threatening (cf. ibid., pp. 178–179).

On this chapter, I’ve offered the theoretical background for a neorealist evaluation of a gap Arctic. Chapter II will deal with the Arctic construction, the implications of the exponentially fastening Arctic soften, and attainable safety points throughout the area.

Arctic Background and Governance

The Arctic is geologically complicated, unexplored, and filled with conflicting sovereignty claims. States with territorial borders are Canada, Denmark (by way of Greenland), Norway (by way of Svalbard), Russia, and the USA, generally known as the ‘Arctic 5’. Whereas Finland, Iceland, and Sweden don’t have any direct borders on the Arctic Ocean, they’re normally thought of Arctic states, too (cf. AC 2021a). Nevertheless, as evidenced by the variety of signatories to the Svalbard and Spitsbergen Treaties[2], nations on each continent have a longstanding curiosity within the area; amongst them, some that declare it ought to stay open to all nations as a ‘Widespread Heritage of Mankind’[3] (e.g., Gautam 2011; Rainwater 2013).

With elevated human exercise, the Arctic is going through a large number of administration and sovereignty challenges. Whereas tourism is rising (cf. D’Aprile 2018), strengthened authorized and regulatory buildings might be important to draw worldwide funding and growth (cf. Ebinger & Zambetakis 2009). The dialogue on future Arctic governance focuses on establishing new multinational frameworks or counting on current ones. Whereas a number of organizations play some position within the area, I’ll deal with the 2 mostly thought of probably the most related (cf. Wegge 2010): The United Nations Conference on the Legislation of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Arctic Council (AC).

The United Nations Conference on the Legislation of the Sea

UNCLOS was created in 1982. It outlines territorial limits although zones, outlined as inner, territorial, and contiguous waters, unique financial zones (EEZs), and continental cabinets:

  • Inside waters are all waterways inside a state. States could regulate and use any useful resource inside their inner waters. Overseas vessels don’t have the fitting to move by these waters with out permission (cf. UN 1982, Artwork. 2; Artwork. 8; Artwork. 25; Artwork. 111).
  • Territorial waters prolong 12 nautical miles (nm) from a state’s shoreline. The coastal state can set legal guidelines, laws and exploit sources inside this space (cf. ibid., Artwork. 3; Artwork. 21; Artwork. 24). But, overseas ships have the fitting of ‘harmless passage’[4] (cf. ibid., Artwork. 17–19).
  • Contiguous waters prolong 24 nm from a state’s baseline. Inside them, states can implement legal guidelines relating to customs, immigration, air pollution, and taxation (cf. ibid. Artwork. 33).
  • EEZs prolong 200 nm from a state’s shoreline. Inside this zone, a state has the only exploitation rights over pure sources (cf. ibid., p. 43 et seq.).[5]
  • Lastly, continental cabinets are pure extensions of the seabed to the continental margin. Any UNCLOS signatory that may scientifically show that the undersea continental ridge is an extension of its territory past 200 nm from its shoreline is routinely entitled to authorized rights permitting it to increase its EEZ and, therefore, to use pure sources in that zone (cf. ibid., Artwork. 77). Given the troublesome and assorted geology of overlapping claims, the method is extremely complicated, expensive, and time-consuming (cf. Ebinger & Zambetakis 2009). Extensions have to be claimed inside 10 years of the signing of the Conference (cf. UN 1982, p. 146, Artwork. 4) and are restricted to a most of 350 nm (cf. ibid., Artwork. 76).

The potential for territorial extensions led to overlapping claims throughout the Arctic Ocean. The difficulty is exacerbated by the truth that the US has not but ratified UNCLOS (cf. UN DOALS, 2020). As a non-signatory, it has little credibility in any dialogue on Arctic sovereignty and can’t declare rights over sources past its EEZ off its Alaskan coast. Whereas the US is decided to acquire vital territories by ratification, a handful of politicians are immune to doing so, afraid of ceding an excessive amount of energy to a global regime (cf. Ebinger & Zambetakis 2009). Accordingly, the US depends on customary worldwide regulation to control its Arctic operations, which, as codified within the Vienna Conference on the Legislation of Treaties, derives from constant normal state practices out of a way of authorized obligation (cf. UN 2005). Different opponents of UNCLOS have cited the dearth of readability, the obscure language of Article 76, leaving unclear the essential meanings of particular phrases, in addition to the completely different timetables for territorial extension purposes (cf. Ebinger & Zambetakis 2009).

The Arctic Council

Shaped in 1996 by the Ottawa Declaration, the AC isn’t a global treaty-based physique with a agency authorized constitution however an intergovernmental discussion board engaged on a consensus foundation to facilitate cooperation and collaboration on Arctic considerations (cf. Arctic Council, 2021b).[6]  It focuses on points regarding sustainable growth and environmental conservation. Explicitly, its mandate excludes navy safety (cf. DoS 2021). Because the AC is constructed on consensus-based decision-making, particular person actors can block clauses they oppose. For a number of causes, virtually all members are objected to establishing a brand new framework, increasing the Council’s mandate, or ceding sovereignty over the area to a global regime (cf. Ebinger & Zambetakis 2009).

Whereas the US affirmed its dedication to the AC, claiming to “strengthen the Arctic Council as a consensus constructing discussion board” (AESC 2016, p. 27), it regularly emphasizes its opposition to any extension of the Council’s restricted mandate. Ultimately, the 2008 Ilulissat Declaration, signed by the Arctic 5, stresses that UNCLOS (though not ratified by the US) is a group-wide dedication and, therefore, that no new worldwide authorized regime is required (cf. Ilulissat Declaration 2008).

Local weather Change and the Problem of Arctic Soften

This paper doesn’t focus on particular debates relating to local weather change however acknowledges that the Arctic is warming and, therefore, continues to change into extra accessible to human exercise. This place is predicated on the solutions of the 2018 IPCC World Warming Report (cf. IPCC 2018) and probably the most not too long ago printed UN Setting Programme (cf. UNEP 2021) on the probably progress and implications of world local weather change. The research element normal tendencies in rising world temperatures, rising sea ranges, and declining ocean oxygen ranges. They additional state that some areas are “[w]arming better than the worldwide annual common […], together with two to a few occasions larger within the Arctic.” (IPCC 2018, p. 6) Whereas forecasts for ice-free Arctic summers differ broadly, there may be multidisciplinary consensus on the truth of Arctic soften.  Furthermore, current information present that the thaw occurs far faster than anticipated and freezing appears to happen later yearly (cf. The Economist 2017; 2020). Over the previous 4 a long time, Arctic sea ice extent has greater than halved.

The Arctic is a quickly altering area with vital financial and safety pursuits for the states that encompass it:

World local weather change has catapulted the Arctic into the centre of geopolitics, as melting Arctic ice transforms the area from one in all primarily scientific curiosity right into a maelstrom of competing business, nationwide safety and environmental considerations, with profound implications for the worldwide authorized and political system

Ebinger & Zambetakis 2009, p. 1215

Levy (1995, p. 43) contends that “[f]or any environmental menace to be a safety menace, there have to be some demonstrable connection to some important nationwide curiosity.” As a result of world warming, the Arctic will change into extra accessible, resulting in elevated human exercise, inflicting ice cap greying. The normally reflective floor will, then, soak up extra daylight, soften, and heat the water, thereby accelerating additional enlargement of darkish areas (cf. Marshall 2018; The Economist 2019a). Melting Arctic permafrost could then expose “giant portions of methane […] in addition to pollution reminiscent of mercury” (The White Home 2013, p. 5), additional accelerating the soften. A so-called positive-feedback loop — or on this case: a vicious circle.

Since 1951, the Arctic has warmed almost twice as a lot as the worldwide common. In that point, the temperature in Greenland elevated by 1.5°C, in comparison with round 0.7°C globally (cf. The Economist 2012a). Probably the most well-known consequence of this course of is rising sea ranges. Though melting sea ice doesn’t increase water ranges, Greenland’s melting ice sheet does (cf. The Economist 2019a). This has important penalties: saltwater contamination from rising sea ranges has already reached groundwater sources in Israel and Thailand in addition to Island states and river deltas all over the world (cf. Treverton et al. 2012). Since water can’t be substituted (cf. Postel & Wolf 2009), “[t]he most blatant […] results which may pose nationwide safety points are these pushed by water shortage” (Treverton et al. 2012, p. 4).

Nevertheless, the decline in sea ice gives extra alternatives for nations to extract hydrocarbons and minerals and permits better entry to business delivery and fishing. The Northwest Passage (NWP), alongside Canada’s coasts, for example, has been navigable for greater than two weeks in current summers. Related ice shifts have been noticed alongside Russia’s northern coast and the Northern Sea Route (NSR), giving Moscow better entry to its huge Siberian reserves.

Certainly, the area has already opened as much as world commerce (cf. German Arctic Workplace 2019).  In comparison with standard routes main by way of the Panama or Suez Canal[7], the elevated utilization of trans-Arctic sea routes is predicated on significantly shorter distances and journey occasions. The NSR offers a 30–40% shortening of the space between Northwest Europe and East Asia, in response to the German Arctic Workplace (2019). Moreover, the route from Asia to the US might be shortened by 8,000km (cf. Ebinger & Zambetakis 2009). These are apparent financial advantages, however the rise in visitors may even pose safety challenges for Arctic states.

Ultimately, “[t]he Arctic is [..] house to essential bio-marine sources. Cod within the Barents Sea and pollock within the Russian Far East […] signify roughly 25% of the worldwide catch of whitefish.” (Kefferpütz 2010, p. 5) Such useful resource alternatives, along with the chance of improved delivery economies, make it troublesome to disregard the Arctic’s significance to circumpolar states. Nevertheless, as ice melts and waters heat, fish migrate ever additional north, ignoring nationwide borders, making fisheries administration more and more difficult. Furthermore, animals such because the walrus are seeing protein sources vanish as fish journey north — affecting human communities too: Inuit tribes report large declines in walrus and seal populations, two important commodities for their very own livelihoods (cf. Krupnik 2018).

Inside the area, environmental modifications have a major impact on indigenous peoples. On the one hand, melting ice might be to their drawback regarding their conventional lifestyle, based mostly on looking and fishing. On the opposite, a extra open Arctic that’s extra accessible to worthwhile actions reminiscent of fossil gasoline exploitation and fishing will essentially appeal to better governmental consideration that might profit the Arctic inhabitants (cf. Ebinger & Zambetakis 2009). Moreover, tundra warming would enable considerably extra plant development and allow agriculture to flourish, making it simpler for native populations to seek out new meals sources (cf. Marshall 2018).

Arctic Administration and State Safety Points

Because the Arctic is a semi-enclosed sea surrounded by coastal states, most issues lie in overlapping territorial extension claims and maritime boundary delimitations.

Titley (2011, p. 35) claims: “What stops the Arctic from being the Wild West? Because it seems, there may be an internationally agreed governance regime for a way we work on the oceans.” His assertion, referring to UNCLOS, is legitimate to a level, however given the varied unresolved sovereignty conflicts within the area, it might be an over-simplification. Though UNCLOS is the idea of worldwide cooperation within the Arctic, one mustn’t overlook that the US stays a non-signatory. In spite of everything, assuming that the Conference can present the one wanted framework to resolve the complicated and evolving problems with a gap Arctic appears daring. Energy politics and the battle for cooperation and competencies of our bodies just like the AC could properly play a vital position.

As an illustration, acknowledged prolonged territory is taken into account important for Russia relating to power safety within the Atlantic or, beneath the worst attainable case, for a strategic nuclear offensive on the American east coast. Ebinger and Zambetakis (2009, p. 1228) argue that “Moscow’s worst worry is that NATO[[8]] may bottle its fleet up, severely affecting the steadiness of energy in a significant battle.” They additional state that Russia has remained nervous that listening platforms might be mounted on offshore drilling platforms, offering NATO with substantial capabilities to trace its business and strategic operations.

Conflicting claims by Russia, Denmark, and Canada over the Lomonosov Ridge make up one of the delicate territorial extensions beneath UNCLOS Article 76 (cf. The Economist 2014; Lanteigne 2019). Every nation claims that its territory is a pure prolongation and collects geological information to show its claims.

Though Russia has up to now adhered to the area’s guidelines, it’s commonly testing its limits. In 2007, two nuclear-powered Russian icebreakers set off on a analysis expedition containing two submarines to map the ocean ground. As soon as the subs reached the Arctic seabed, they planted a Russian titanium flag on the backside of the North Pole and beamed movies and images of the occurring all over the world (cf. The Economist 2012b).

In 2009, Moscow introduced plans to enhance its Arctic navy capabilities to guard its regional pursuits, anticipating the Arctic to be a vital supplier of future power sources (cf. Parfitt, 2009). Talking to the Russian Safety Council, former president Medvedev even trumpeted that his nation’s “greatest process [..] is to show the Arctic into Russia’s useful resource base for the twenty-first century.” Figuring out Russia’s “principal subject is […] reliably defending its nationwide pursuits within the area.” (Medvedev 2008)

Given the 2009 United States Geological Survey (USGS) postulate, these claims are cheap. Geologists assume that the Arctic incorporates as much as 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30% of its undiscovered pure gasoline (Chook et al. 2008). A bitter diplomatic row could in some unspecified time in the future get away amongst nations who wish to increase their territorial claims, those that argue that a few of the Arctic belongs to nobody and will due to this fact have limitless entry, and people who imagine that, given its weak and distinctive nature, the area ought to come beneath worldwide jurisdiction as a Widespread Heritage of Mankind.

Nevertheless, though the Arctic could have immense potential in the long run, its short-term contribution to power provides shouldn’t be overestimated, contemplating that different areas are cheaper, much less difficult, and fewer technologically complicated to use. Pure gasoline additionally requires expensive and sophisticated infrastructure. Arctic seasons (e.g., polar nights) and climate circumstances (e.g., mega waves) are one other impediment (cf. Depledge 2016; Marshall 2018). Regardless of low costs for drilling land, power firms regard these dangers as not price taking but (cf. World Finance 2014; Lanteigne 2019; The Economist 2015; 2021). Furthermore, since a lot of the geology that helps the existence of hydrocarbons is discovered already throughout the Arctic coastal states’ EEZs[9], a continental shelf enlargement could not essentially yield far more oil and gasoline. Nevertheless, the only notion of strategic discoveries and sovereign rights could also be sufficient to encourage battle over territory.

Arctic delivery routes are one other supply of battle with nations aside from the Arctic states concerned too.[10] As acknowledged earlier, two other ways by the Arctic Ocean could be thought of reasonable abbreviations for future world commerce: the NWP, by the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and the NSR, alongside Russia’s northern coast.

Though Canada is a powerful ally of the US, there are disputes between the 2 nations over the Canadian Archipelago waters that Canada claims inner waters and never topic to the fitting of harmless passage. The US, nonetheless, regards them as a global strait by which ships ought to have the ability to move with out Canadian authorities’ intervention. Former US Secretary of State Pompeo (2019), chatting with the AC, not too long ago acknowledged that Canada’s sovereignty claims over the NWP are thought of “illegitimate.” This place is predicated on the Corfu Channel case, which divides the coast of Albania from the Greek island of Corfu. The Worldwide Court docket of Justice dominated that as a result of it was an “worldwide freeway”, Albania couldn’t declare the channel as territorial waters (The Worldwide Court docket of Justice 1949, p. 29). There are related conflicts between Iran and Oman over the Hormuz Strait, Yemen and Djibouti over the Bab al-Mandab Strait, and components of the South China Sea (cf. The Economist 2019b).

In 1988, Canada and the US settled their dissent with a political fairly than authorized resolution (cf. Authorities of Canada 1988). America agreed to hunt Canada’s consent for any transit by waters it has claimed. But, it didn’t grant Canada’s claims legitimacy, as this might set a precedent for China to assert the South China Sea, Iran to assert the Hormuz Strait, and Russia to assert the NSR as inner waters (cf. Huebert 2009). The most recent assertion by Mr. Pompeo additional signifies that America is now not glad with its 1988 deal now that the Arctic is opening as much as extra delivery. Furthermore, it stays “involved about Russia’s declare over the worldwide waters of the Northern Sea Route, together with its newly introduced plans to attach it with China’s Maritime Silk Highway.” (Pompeo 2019)

In contrast to the Arctic states, China has no territorial sovereignty and associated rights to useful resource extraction within the Arctic. Nonetheless, to emphasize its rising Arctic pursuits, it has developed a self-defined Northern id as a ‘near-Arctic state’ and purchased observer standing within the AC (cf. Grieger 2018). China’s first white paper on Arctic coverage seeks to justify its ambitions by its historical past of Arctic analysis and the alternatives fast local weather change presents. Its pursuits are a part of a brand new China-led cooperation initiative to construct a ‘Polar Silk Highway’ connecting it with Europe by the Arctic (cf. Xinhua 2018). To attain this, China is deepening its ties with Russia (cf. Sørensen & Klimenko 2017), shifting the regional steadiness of energy. Whereas the US brazenly denies it the standing of an Arctic state (cf. Pompeo 2019), Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, even corrected an interviewer to emphasize that China belongs to the Arctic as properly (cf. Putin 2019).

The Case of Russia and the USA

A gap Arctic will deliver dormant and unresolved issues to the fore as states compete for delivery routes and entry to giant useful resource deposits. This chapter will check the neorealist idea, as outlined in Chapter I, towards the occasions shaping Arctic worldwide relations. I’m due to this fact conducting a case examine of Russian and American actions within the Excessive North. The expectations of state conduct in neorealism are clear: states will search to maximise their safety by enhancing their place. Due to this fact, they use navy energy, conducting a number of methods, together with military growth and power projection, rising nationwide energy by financial means, and searching for alliances. Thus, a number of predictions come up for this case examine: first, a gap Arctic would end in states pursuing the area’s sources to spice up their energy by financial growth. Second, this race will enhance human motion and safety threats to the area, resulting in larger navy exercise. Third, based mostly on the regional construction, weaker Arctic states would then pursue safety by an alliance with the US. Lastly, states could ignore or break the foundations set by worldwide regimes (e.g., UNCLOS, AC) when it fits their pursuits.

Arctic Coverage I: The Russian Federation

Of all states, Russia has by far probably the most vital intrinsic pursuits within the Arctic. The Russian North accounts for “20 % of [its GDP] and 22 % of the overall Russian export […]. The area’s financial promise lies primarily in its wealthy pure sources and its potential as a sexy maritime transit passageway” (Zysk 2010, p. 105), making Arctic sources a matter of strategic significance. Its Arctic shoreline is 24,140km lengthy, stocked with a number of giant cities, and inhabited by two million Russians. Canada and the US have mixed Arctic populations equal to lower than 1 / 4 of that quantity (cf. Shea 2019a).

In its Arctic Technique By 2035, the Russian authorities emphasizes the necessity to guarantee navy safety, protection, and safety of its state borders and highlights the significance of the Arctic as Russia’s useful resource base (cf. Kluge & Paul 2020).

General, the Arctic is of excellent significance for Russia […] economically and strategically with the huge hydrocarbon sources discovered and anticipated to be discovered, in addition to ideologically, given […] its ambition to revive Russia’s political standing internationally

Keil 2014, p. 170

Russia will more and more look to the Arctic for useful resource growth as present provides shrink. Its pursuits lie in claiming doubtlessly resource-rich territory. Whereas UNCLOS already offers Russia a major maritime presence within the area, it’s but claiming continental cabinets to increase its sphere of affect (cf. Howard 2010). In addition to, by way of sources, the Russian Safety Technique states that “it might’t be dominated out that navy power might be used for resolving rising issues,” naming the Arctic a brand new space of potential battle, since “[t]he current steadiness of forces close to the borders of the Russian Federation […] could be violated.” (Harding 2009)

One other principal curiosity lies within the anticipated enhance in visitors and exercise in waters Russia claims inner. Very similar to Canada and the NWP, the Russians declare authorized authority over the NSR and contest America’s interpretation of it as a global waterway (cf. Zysk 2010). “Within the Northern Sea Route, Moscow already illegally calls for different nations request permission to move […] and threatens to make use of navy power to sink any that fail to adjust to their calls for.” (Pompeo 2019)

Scopelliti and Conde Pérez (2016), with a specific emphasis on Arctic navy dynamics, define the unconventional modifications that occurred following the Russian flag-planting in 2007. Though the occasion was thought of a political gesture with no authorized impact, it aroused the Arctic states’ concern for regional safety, inflicting anxiousness over Russian conduct particularly. To revive its standing of nice energy, Moscow adopted an more and more assertive posture by navy presence within the area (cf. Murray & Nuttall 2014). Extra exactly, it has began to modernize its Northern Fleet and arrange a brand new Arctic Brigade close to the Finnish border (cf. Klimenko 2014). Along with an 8.1% enhance on the whole navy spending, Moscow has printed a brand new navy doctrine indicating US and NATO enlargements as a significant menace to its safety (cf. Perlo-Freeman & Wezeman 2015).

Russia is decided to extend its presence within the Arctic to guard its nationwide pursuits and safety whereas on the similar time adhering to the ideas of worldwide regulation and cooperation. This creates a battle that Rowe (2009) described as the stress between the ‘open’ and ‘closed’ North, which means that Russian Northern Insurance policies typically embody each extra exterior inclinations, exemplified by cooperation, in addition to a bent to extend securitization and protection of nationwide pursuits. This pressure is clear within the fossil gasoline sector, the place Moscow commonly should steadiness the market and strategic considerations (cf. Keil 2014).

Russia, beneath Putin, goals to develop the Arctic to spice up its financial system, which, within the aftermath of Crimea’s annexation, is feeling the brunt of Western sanctions and financial isolation. This has proven that Russia can be searching for to guard Arctic property in ways in which have begun to draw the US and Northern European consideration (cf. Lanteigne 2019). Whereas the Russian Federation postulates that its enlargement into the Arctic is only financial, the truth of navy {hardware} within the area tells in any other case.

A key impediment to Arctic entry stays expertise. Icebreakers are essential for presence and energy projection. So are functioning naval bases. Nevertheless, it’s a heavy funding to construct icebreakers, with manufacturing occasions of 8–10 years, costing about $1 billion every (cf. Ebinger & Zambetakis 2009). The assorted Arctic nations have broadly divergent capabilities. Markowitz describes the yr of the Russian flag-planting, 2007, as ‘the shock’, measuring vital behavioral modifications by Arctic nation-states since then. Earlier than the shock, Russia had by far the biggest Arctic fleet. But, since 2007, it has constructed extra icebreakers than some other state, therefore accumulating energy. At this time, it has a fleet of 61 commissioned ships, with an additional ten beneath development. It’s also the one nation to function nuclear-powered icebreakers (cf. Markowitz 2020). President Putin, on the Worldwide Arctic Discussion board, acknowledged:

[Russia] will proceed to replace [its] icebreaker fleet and to enhance the manufacturing of ice-class vessels. Three new nuclear-powered icebreakers […] are being constructed right here in St Petersburg

Putin, 2019

This distinctive functionality permits Russia to undertaking energy year-round within the Arctic Ocean. To place its ice-capable fleet in perspective, Canada, second solely to Russia in Arctic territory, has eight lively vessels (cf. Canadian Coast Guard 2021), whereas the US has just one practical icebreaker (cf. The Related Press 2020).

Moreover, Moscow is dashing to reopen Soviet navy, air, and radar bases on Arctic islands and to construct new ones. Frequently releasing photographs of troop coaching within the Excessive North (cf. Osborn 2017), Russia has constructed 4 new bases for the reason that shock and reopened an extra 13. It had an astonishing 27 lively bases above the Arctic Circle in 2017. In addition to, it has invested extra in constructing infrastructure and services that enable bigger troops, extra provides, and superior weapons programs to be stationed (cf. Markowitz 2020). By comparability, the US solely maintains one navy base above the Arctic Circle, on borrowed land in Greenland (cf. Cook dinner 2020) and Canada has solely three (cf. Shea 2019b).

Russia has, by most measures, change into the dominant energy within the Arctic. It has the world’s largest fleet, able to working in excessive northern waters all year long and maintains dozens of navy bases within the area. Furthermore, it has stationed new troops, elevated submarine exercise, and returned warplanes to the Arctic skies, the place NATO airspace is now routinely being buzzed (cf. Shea 2019a). Nevertheless, Russia’s build-up and swaggering, echoing strikes in Crimea and Kaliningrad, has been seen in Washington.

Arctic Coverage II: America of America

Washington’s curiosity within the Arctic has declined for the reason that finish of the Chilly Conflict, resulting in the US being known as the ‘reluctant Arctic energy’ (c.f. Huebert 2009). Its absence from UNCLOS, and due to this fact its lack of means to make use of Article 76, is one regularly talked about working example. Nonetheless, the publication of a brand new Nationwide Safety Presidential Directive in 2009, together with a suggestion to the Senate to ratify UNCLOS, was a post-shock signal of rising Arctic curiosity, stating that “[t]he United States has broad and elementary nationwide safety pursuits within the Arctic area and is ready […] to safeguard these pursuits.” (The White Home 2009, p. 2)

The US Division of Protection (DoD) printed a subsequent report in 2016, emphasizing the development of US Arctic power capabilities. It highlights Arctic safety as important for homeland protection. One of many principal supporting targets to realize that is “working at the side of like-minded nations when attainable and independently if essential” (DoD 2016, p. 2). Moreover, the report stresses potential financial features by fishing, commerce, useful resource extraction, and worldwide waterway entry (cf. DoD 2016).

In 2019, the DoD up to date its Arctic Technique, reiterating the challenges that China and Russia current to safety within the area, together with considerations that, by its financial energy, Beijing could search to affect Arctic governance. The paper confirmed that the US ought to increase consciousness of the Arctic challenges, strengthen regional operations, together with workouts and cold-weather coaching, and reinforcing “the rules-based order within the Arctic.” (cf. DoD 2019, p. 8)

But, Keil (2014) argues that, in comparison with different areas, the US has comparatively little Arctic pursuits. Given how militarily lively it’s just about in all places else, this lack of American presence within the Arctic is especially hanging. It’s cheap to conclude that if Washington didn’t undertaking energy within the Arctic, it was not as a result of it lacked financial or navy capabilities however as a result of it didn’t wish to achieve this (cf. Markowitz 2020). Nevertheless, that could be about to vary.

As talked about above, the US has fewer icebreakers than some other Arctic state. Moreover, it has not constructed new naval bases and thus has just one above the Arctic Circle: a radar station at Thule, Greenland. It operates two different bases in southern Alaska, properly beneath the Arctic Circle and virtually 1,500km south of its Arctic Ocean coast (cf. Markowitz 2020). Recalling that America is by far probably the most highly effective actor within the Arctic in just about each dimension (cf. ibid.) and the truth that it’s largely absent as a result of the Arctic ranks comparatively low in comparison with different US pursuits (cf. Keil 2014), we are able to assume a regional energy vacuum is arising. Accordingly, Russia has considerably elevated its Arctic navy presence and projected energy to areas beneath dispute.

This uneven funding between Russia and the US has led to some pressure and uncertainty in regards to the area’s future, additional heightened by current large-scale navy workouts. In October 2018, NATO performed its largest coaching train for the reason that finish of the Chilly Conflict, known as ‘Trident Juncture’. The operation, involving 50,000 troops from 31 nations, took two weeks and was held in Norway (cf. NATO 2018). The train concerned an imaginary state of affairs through which Northern Norway, sharing land borders with Russia, was invaded, and its NATO allies got here to its protection. Some observers fear that disputes over fishing or exploitation rights between Russia and Norway may pull NATO right into a battle for which it isn’t ready (cf. Shea 2019b). But, NATO claimed the coaching “will present the world that NATO is related, united, and able to defend itself on this Article 5 situation[[11]]

NATO’s coaching could be considered as a response to Russia’s Arctic exercise. A month earlier than NATO, Moscow organized conflict video games of its personal. ‘Vostok 2018’ was a large navy train of 297,000 troops held in Russia’s far east. Furthermore, Chinese language forces participated within the train, underlining the nations’ sturdy Arctic relationship (cf. Hecimovic, 2018). Beijing has additionally made vital investments in Arctic oil and pure gasoline infrastructure, exhibiting rising curiosity within the area (cf. Cook dinner 2020).

Tackling the reopening of Russian navy stations and common incursions into or close to NATO territory by Russian plane and submarines, the US has responded on many fronts. This contains growing the means to function extra visibly within the Arctic, reopening the Keflavik (Iceland) Naval Air Station, and finalizing plans to construct new icebreakers to exchange growing old US Coast Guard vessels (cf. Lanteigne 2019). Arctic NATO-nations are additionally slowly increasing their navy cold-weather infrastructure. For instance, Canada is constructing a naval refueling base on Baffin Island. Concurrently, the US has introduced plans to re-establish its Navy Second Fleet to counter Russia’s North Atlantic actions (cf. Shea 2019b).

In his 2019 speech, Mike Pompeo pointed to some Arctic actors as navy threats, stressing that “the area has change into an enviornment for energy and for competitors” (Pompeo 2019). His remarks contrasted sharply with the Trump Administration’s earlier insurance policies, investing little in Arctic safety. Furthermore, beneath Trump, local weather change and world warming have change into unmentionable, and Pompeo used neither time period in his speech (cf. Shea 2019a).

America’s rise in Arctic curiosity could be traced again to elevated Russian (and Chinese language) affect and energy projections within the area. Though Pompeo mentioned he welcomed collaboration with each, he warned them towards provocative motion and criticized Russia’s navy build-up as “destabilizing”. He additionally warned that each nations’ Arctic actions might be judged by their conduct elsewhere. Specifically, he talked about Russia’s “aggressive motion in Ukraine” and China’s territorial claims within the South China Sea (cf. Pompeo 2019). Whereas his speech centered on melting ice, permitting for elevated delivery, navy operations, and new bases, he not often talked about indigenous considerations, wildlife, or local weather disruptions which may comply with.

The Steadiness of Arctic Powers

Neorealism, as mentioned, predicts that states will try to maximise safety by utilizing navy energy. Due to this fact, they could pursue a number of methods, together with energy projection, rising financial capabilities, and searching for alliances. To pursue safety in a self-help system, Moscow and Washington ought to enhance navy and latent energy to, finally, attain regional hegemony. The transient case examine exhibits that, following the biggest retreat of sea ice in 2007 (‘the shock’), Russia started rising its Arctic exercise by claiming resource-rich (e.g., Lomonosov ridge) and strategically vital (e.g., the NSR) territory to spice up its nationwide energy. In addition to, it elevated its partnership with China and centered on infrastructure growth to boost financial efficiency.

As famous in Chapter I, Mearsheimer believes that each one nice powers try to build up energy over rivals, with the last word purpose of hegemony (cf. Mearsheimer 2001, p. 40). Whereas the US is probably the most highly effective state within the system, it can’t dominate the world. As a result of its minor position within the Arctic, it motivates different states to extend their energy to safe their place within the system. With Washington largely absent from the Arctic, Russia expanded its financial funding and navy exercise, turning into the regional hegemon as outlined by Mearsheimer (2001, p. 232).

Neorealism differentiates latent and navy energy (cf. Keohane 1984, p. 55). When calculated in each phrases, the steadiness of energy between Russia and different Arctic states drastically favors Russia. With the biggest Arctic territory and inhabitants, it generates a major quantity of its latent energy on this resource-rich space. This enables it to function the biggest fleet of icebreakers, Arctic navy bases, and troops. In these quantitative phrases, the facility construction within the Arctic is evident: Russia is a good energy within the Excessive North, and the US, with just one functioning icebreaker and never a single impartial Arctic navy base, isn’t.

This has substantial implications for the Arctic area. Mearsheimer states that if the construction is multi-polar and unbalanced, it will likely be far more susceptible to battle since regional powers search dominance. Different states could then search alliances (cf. Mearsheimer 2001, p. 344). That is the place Walt’s steadiness of menace method turns into a helpful analytical instrument. In predicting the formation of alliances between states, Walt (1987, pp. 21-22) defines menace notion as a vital determinant. The menace –on this construction– comes from Moscow. As a response to Russian energy projections and navy build-up, neorealism would count on smaller powers to pursue safety by bandwagoning with Washington.

This may be noticed in a number of collaborations: whereas Canada, Denmark, and Norway have collectively elevated their Arctic navy exercise in partnership with the US by NATO, Finland and Sweden are conducting common Arctic navy coaching with Norway and the US (cf. Hultqvist 2020). Ultimately, Denmark and Iceland grant US navy presence on their territories in Keflavik and Thule.

Lastly, though the Arctic is formed by cross-national cooperation by boards and regimes (e.g., UNCLOS, AC), we are able to discover proof that states ignore or break the foundations established by such establishments: whereas President Putin formally claimed that “[a]ll selections by the Arctic Council are nothing greater than suggestions” (Putin 2019), Canada and the US boycotted an AC assembly following Russia’s intervention in Ukraine (cf. Rahbek-Clemmensen 2017). Furthermore, NATO issued a normal ban on cooperation with Russia and, resulting from conflicting pursuits, a complete of 15 bilateral occasions between Oslo and Moscow have been canceled (cf. ibid.). Though giving lip service to Arctic cooperation, Russia elevated flights, violated NATO-states’ border sovereignty, and performed unauthorized intercontinental ballistic missile exams within the area (cf. ibid.). Lastly, as a result of denial of local weather change by the previous US authorities, the AC was unable to launch an official declaration after their assembly in 2019 (cf. Lanteigne 2019).


Though neorealism has been a lot criticized for its revisionist character and lack of ability to clarify change (cf. Korab-Karpowicz 2017, Ch. 3.2), it has offered applicable assumptions in a gap Arctic. The examine discovered that thawing ice caps led the Arctic states to pursue sources to spice up their financial and navy energy. Furthermore, this pursuit of financial growth has elevated human exercise and safety threats within the area, resulting in an enlargement in Arctic navy functionality by each Russia since 2007 and, extra not too long ago, the US. Moreover, the paper investigated Arctic energy buildings and located that Russia’s regional geographic, financial, and demographic domination resulted in weaker Arctic states’ bandwagoning conduct. This was primarily observable in navy cooperation by NATO and the reopening and growth of US bases on Icelandic and Greenlandic territories. Lastly, as neorealism would count on states to disregard the foundations established by worldwide regimes when it’s of their curiosity to take action, the unlawful penetration of NATO airspace, the boycott of AC conferences, and the refusal to make joint declarations offered some grounds.

Nonetheless, one ought to be aware that collaboration isn’t not possible for neorealists. A realist would help, for instance, a local weather treaty with necessary greenhouse gasoline emission limits, if nationwide pursuits are higher served (cf. Khan 2016). In a system of anarchy, no association routinely protects pure sources from exhaustion, permitting for the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ (cf. Hardin, 1968) to happen, which means that everybody who has entry to a standard good is exploiting it to realize as many sources as attainable earlier than it’s depleted. The Arctic is such a very good — and local weather change understood as “probably the most severe long-term threat to worldwide safety” (Sofer 2015), poses a major menace to the area and nations all over the world. Recognizing that safety is of utmost significance in neorealism, one could argue that state safety consists of world environmental safety as, within the wake of accelerating environmental considerations, nations have extra to lose than ever (cf. Levy 1995). Thus, the advantages of cooperation outweigh the potential hole between cooperating nations in relative features, making environmental cooperation –even for neorealists– one of the best different. Therefore, to beat the specter of world warming, all Arctic states could be higher off tackling it collectively as “an alliance towards local weather change” (Sofer 2015).


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[1] Waltz (1979, p. 96) clarifies that “to say that states are sovereign is to not say that they will do as they please […]. To say {that a} state is sovereign implies that it decides for itself the way it will address its inner and exterior issues, together with whether or not or to not search help from others […].”

[2] The Spitsbergen Treaty of 1920 acknowledged Norwegian sovereignty over Svalbard whereas giving mineral rights to varied nations. The 1925 Svalbard Act made Svalbard a part of the Kingdom of Norway (cf. Royal Norwegian Ministry of Justice 1988).

[3] The worldwide seabed, i.e., the seabed past the bounds of nationwide jurisdiction, isn’t topic to nationwide appropriation and has been designated a Widespread Heritage of Mankind by the Declaration of Ideas Governing the Seabed and the Ocean Flooring (UN Normal Meeting 1970, p. 24).

[4] Passage is harmless so long as it isn’t detrimental to the peace, good order, or safety of a coastal state, which means that passing ships will not be allowed to train or observe weapons of any sort; to assemble info; to launch, land, or ship any plane or navy gear; to load or unload any items, forex, or individuals that are opposite to legal guidelines of the coastal state; to pollute; to conduct fishing actions; and many others. (cf. UN 1982, Artwork. 19).

[5] States have sovereign rights however not full sovereignty of their EEZs. Overseas states have the liberty of navigation and overflight. When EEZs overlap, states concerned should delineate their maritime boundary by bilateral/multilateral agreements (cf. United Nations 1982, p. 43 et seq.).

[6] Its members are Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (incl. Greenland and the Faroe Islands), the Republic of Finland, Iceland, the Kingdom of Norway, the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of Sweden, and the USA of America. Moreover, the AC consists of Everlasting Contributors, largely indigenous teams, and Observers reminiscent of China, Germany, India, the UN, and the WWF.

[7] At the moment crucial delivery abbreviations and alternate options to the in any other case hundreds of miles of maritime routes across the African or Latin American capes (cf. The Geography of Transport Techniques 2021).

[8] Canada, Denmark, Norway, and the USA are NATO member states (cf. NATO 2020) = 4 out of the Arctic 5.

[9] Certainly, estimates counsel that Russia already owns greater than half of the Arctic’s sources; the US rating 2nd, adopted by Norway, Denmark, and Canada — from most to least (cf. Keil 2014, p. 168).

[10] These embody China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore — but in addition the EU (cf. Lanteigne 2019).

[11] Artwork. 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty defines collective defence: “The Events agree that an armed assault towards a number of of them in Europe or North America shall be thought of an assault towards all of them and consequently they agree that […] every of them […] will help the Occasion or Events so attacked by taking […] such motion because it deems essential, together with using armed power, to revive and keep the safety of the North Atlantic space.” (NATO 1949)

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