Without consensus on legal framework for Arctic, territorial disputes could result in military conflict between US and Russia
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Without a solid legal foundation in place, current Arctic territorial disputes could possibly result in military conflicts, particularly with Russia. Tomorrow's future can be predicted by looking at Russia's current natural gas economic blackmail of Europe.211 Such blackmail has been described as "undermining European security."212 Some scholars have noted that, "Russia has not ceased its efforts to use energy as a weapon," and predict "Russia is likely to use its energy muscle to impose its geopolitical agenda on its neighbors, today and in the future."
In fact, Russia's new national security strategy, released in May 2009, raises the prospect of military conflict over energy reserves in the Arctic. Russia's Security Council created the strategy to evaluate potential security threats to Russia over the next decade. With tension mounting among Russia and other Arctic nations, the strategy provocatively explains, "'[w]ith the ongoing competition for [Arctic] resources, attempts to use military force to solve emerging problems cannot be excluded- and this might destroy the balance of forces on Russia's and its allies' borders."' A recently released Kremlin document on Arctic policy also "refers to the deployment of armed forces in the Arctic zone which are 'capable of ensuring security under various military and political circumstances."
"Who Gets the Oil?: Arctic Energy Exploration in Uncertain Waters and the Need for Universal Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
." Houston Journal of International Law
. Vol. 32, No. 2 (2009-2010): 505-544. [ More (7 quotes) ]
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.