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The Maastricht Diplomat

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  • Alodia Heijmans

[EurACTIV] Militarization of the Arctic: Is the USA an obsolete Diplomatic Actor?

The militarization of the Arctic presents economic, security and environmental issues which have become crucial for the delegates attending the fourth session of day 2 of EuroMUN. Debates are heated, discussions seem endless and the United States might push China overboard at the boat party tonight. Or the other way around.

In a room filled with passionate voices, the topic of the militarization of the Arctic takes place. Representatives from various nations express their views on the matter, highlighting their position and their possible solution(s) to concede cooperation, sustainability and security interests for all.

On one side of the room, representatives claim a focus on security and sustainability concerns and how to tune them along with the Arctic Council. The United Arab Emirates emphasizes the significance of sustainable development and peace facilities for a prosperous future. This view is shared by China which also emphasizes that environmental concerns should be a collective responsibility. These views appear as generally surprising for the delegates as these two countries are largely known for their backsliding sustainability stands.

On the other side of the room, Denmark, stresses the importance of avoiding the use of nuclear power and also emphasizes the implementation of sustainable measures. After the suggestion of Switzerland to hold a summit in order to talk further on the topic, Canada expressed reservations as they acknowledged the need for reshaping the Arctic Council and increasing dialogue. Their perspectives diverge and representatives debate until it gets stifled by the increasing participation of China, Russia and the United States.

Indeed, shortly after the beginning of the session, the fracture of this debate came with the disagreement between the U.S versus China and Russia. The United States, known for its strong Arctic presence, emphasized the importance of strengthening the position of the Arctic Council, emphasizing that peace and security can only be achieved through collective efforts. This stance was supported by the Arctic Council itself. However, this statement has not satisfied some of their fellow representatives, namely China and Russia.

After being briefed by the chair of the negotiations, about the escalating tensions between China and the United States. It is evident that it will be hard for the U.S. and China to find common ground concerning the security issues of the arctic, or just in general. On its part, Russia claims that “All of this is pointless, let’s start working on concrete things' ' and does not seem to want to communicate and comprehend the U.S. as they blame the latest for being undiplomatic, refuse to answer their question and thinking they are “the center of the world”. Russia and China do not mince their words towards the U.S., fair, after being named “random country” in a previous negotiation. The U.S. pretends first to apologize, flatly, and gets offensive once more in qualifying its fellow representatives of “School boys” arguments and situation, mainly on the behalf of China. Although the U.S. seemed to be rather diplomatic in the beginning of the negotiations, they completely lost credibility in referring to French as the “new” language of diplomacy and expanding their knowledge of the French language as reminded that China is a feminine noun, therefore the U.S.A should then better call them “School girls''. These words leave a silence in the room, interspersed with nervous laughter.

The following negotiations remain very unclear, confusing but more than anything else, tense, looking at the situation between the U.S. with China and Russia. It looks far from being fruitful anytime soon. Will China and Russia really veto all proposals? Will the U.S. regain its diplomatic prestige? Or remain undiplomatically childish? After hearing the delegate of China accusing the U.S. of having “dissociative mental health disorder”, it is very unlikely that these two, or these three, will find common ground, unless they debate in the playground of a kindergarten. For the time being, it seems that China and Russia will not participate in more discussions on the topic.

Alodia Heijmans - Reporter for EurACTIV

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