USNWC war game found U.S. non-ratification of UNCLOS risks U.S. being replaced by Russia as the leader in Arctic
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Players in the Arctic groups identified the need for building Arctic partnerships and focusing on a “whole of government” approach in order to build Arctic Domain Awareness (ADA), with an emphasis on the vastness of the maritime passages and respond to crises. Players in the Arctic groups asserted that the United States should take an active leadership role in Arctic policies, issues, and development. Players further asserted that UNCLOS ratification would facilitate establishing the U.S. as a leader in Arctic issues including ADA. Conversely, continued non- ratification of UNCLOS could result in Russia emerging as the dominant power in the region, potentially claiming sovereignty of half the Arctic basin, and assuming a leadership role concerning Arctic issues (Schlauder, 2007). Overall, the United States role in the Arctic could be marginalized if actions, policies, and investments fail to keep pace with economic development in the Arctic.
Tension between Russia and other Arctic nations will remain high as they continue to compete for Arctic territory. Maintaining UNCLOS as a viable legal framework for settling Arctic territorial claims should help avert potential confrontations between Russia and other UNCLOS members.