Polar Geopolitics analyzes the local and global implications of rapid climate change and rising international interest in the Arctic and Antarctica. The podcast is centered around in-depth discussions with experts on a wide array of topics relevant to the northern and southern polar regions, including governance and international relations; geo-economics and resource exploitation; environmental preservation and sustainable development; scientific research and science diplomacy; infrastructural expansion; and social and societal issues in high latitude locations.
China’s polar strategy at a crossroads: Pursue paradigms of the 19th century past, or envision a sustainable future
China’s increasingly ambitious polar activities have to date largely centered on exerting physical presence in the Arctic and Antarctic, according to Dr. Nengye Liu, an associate professor of international law at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. In a recent online presentation for China’s polar elite, Dr. Liu recommended that China should abandon such 19th century thinking, which causes anxiety among other stakeholders, and instead embrace a future in which China plays a leading role in combating global environmental change. In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Liu discusses his theoretical framework that could, he asserts, underpin a potential Chinese polar strategy 2.0 to replace current policies for the polar regions.
Asian engagement in the Arctic: Evolving strategies and activities of Asian Arctic Council observer states
The admission of China, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea as observers to the Arctic Council in 2013 seemed a turning point in contemporary Arctic history, with the rapidly increasing engagement of Asian states appearing to signal the arrival of globalization as well as a new era of geopolitics in the High North. But how has it so far played out on the ground and on the ice? To analyze the evolving strategies and activities of the five Asian observer states over the past seven years, Polar Geopolitics is joined by Dr. Mia Bennett, associate professor at the University of Hong Kong and founder of the Cryopolitics blog. Dr. Bennett is an expert on Asian activity in the Arctic, and is a co-author of the newly-published edited volume “Observing the Arctic: Asia in the Arctic Council and Beyond” (Edward Elgar, 2020).
The return of great power competition: American geopolitical engagement in the Arctic, with D.A.S. Michael J. Murphy of the U.S. State Department
The opening of a US Consulate in Nuuk, Greenland represents the latest in a series of moves that signal a deepening geopolitical engagement in the Arctic by the United States in response to Russian and Chinese advances in the region. To explain the current U.S. policy and strategic outlook on the Arctic, including an in-depth discussion on Greenland, this episode of the podcast features an interview with one of the top American officials on Arctic issues: Michael J. Murphy, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nordic, Baltic, and Arctic Security Affairs at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State.
Governance disrupted: Pandemic impacts on Antarctica
Although Antarctica is the only continent without a case of COVID-19, the pandemic has already caused a great deal of disruption to the ATS governance regime, as well as to scientific research and the tourism industry. Some even foresee a shift in Antarctic geopolitics as a result of the coronavirus crisis. To analyze the range of potential impacts of COVID-19 on Antarctica in the short, medium and long term, this episode of Polar Geopolitics features Associate Professor Alan Hemmings, an expert on Antarctic governance and geopolitics at the Gateway Antarctica Centre for Antarctic Studies and Research at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Barents Sea and Svalbard: Norway-Russia relations in an Arctic geopolitical hotspot
Russian and Norwegian interests intersect and occasionally collide in the Barents Sea and Svalbard, an Arctic geopolitical hotspot where lucrative fisheries, extensive energy resources and strategic nuclear forces exist in relatively close proximity. To analyze why simmering tensions between Norway and Russia in the Barents-Svalbard region have once again risen to the surface, Polar Geopolitics is joined by Dr. Andreas Østhagen, a senior research fellow at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute and an expert on Arctic geopolitics and the Barents Sea.
Crisis as opportunity: China and coronavirus diplomacy in the Arctic
Prof. Ilan Kelman explains how the coronavirus crisis provides an opportunity for actors inside and outside the Arctic to influence policy agendas and reshape the geopolitics of the region.