US Appoints Arctic Region Goodwill Ambassador – Eye on the Arctic
The United States is considering appointing a goodwill ambassador for the Arctic region, the State Department announced Friday.
This will be the first time that the country will have an Arctic Ambassador post and will replace the post of US Coordinator for the Arctic region.
“The Arctic Region Goodwill Ambassador will advance U.S. Arctic policy, engage with counterparts in Arctic and non-Arctic countries as well as Indigenous groups, and work closely with national stakeholders, including state, local, and tribal governments, businesses, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, other federal government agencies, and Congress,” the State Department said in a press release.
“The United States remains committed to constructive cooperation in the Arctic, first and foremost through the Arctic Council, and the Goodwill Ambassador will work closely with the senior U.S. Arctic official, the scientific community Arctic Federation and the Arctic Executive Steering Committee.”
The announcement comes as some 30 years of international cooperation in the North has been upset by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and many projects involving collaboration between Russia and the West have been affected.
China has are also becoming increasingly active in the Arctic at the same time this country has become growing concern for Washingtonand other Arctic states like Finland and Norway.
“The appointment of an Ambassador at Large signals that the Arctic is growing in importance to the United States and comes at a time when the stability and level of cooperation we have enjoyed in the Arctic has certainly changed,” he said. -he adds. Troy Bouffard, the ddirector of the Center for Arctic Security and Resilience at the University of Alaska FairbanksTold Looking at the Arctic in a telephone interview.
“We’re likely to see a lot more competition now across all sectors, including geopolitics.”
“Everybody on the bridge”
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, a prominent advocate for the creation of the Arctic ambassador role, says it’s been a long time coming and sends an important signal to the international community.
“EThe United States was the only Arctic country that did not have dedicated diplomatic representation for the Arctic region at the level of ambassador or higher,” she said in a statement after the announcement.
“By establishing this role, America will solidify its dedication, commitment and leadership in this strategically important region and have greater opportunities to drive the diplomacy needed to preserve a peaceful and prosperous Arctic. This announcement, which coincides with the recent opening of the new Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies– sends a strong signal to our allies and adversaries that America is on the bridge in the Arctic.
Bouffard said the new role will also help raise the profile of northern issues at all levels.
“One of the most obvious benefits of having a U.S. Arctic Ambassador is that they instantly elevate the importance of any topic discussed or event they attend,” he said. -he declares.
“Not having an ambassador sends a different signal, especially with our competitors like Russia, and that always throws us off balance a bit. The creation of a roving ambassador for the region takes care of that quite well.
The Arctic amid US global interests
The new ambassador has not yet been named.
Once an Ambassador has been chosen, the nomination will be sent to the Senate for confirmation.
Bouffard says that given the great complexity of US foreign policy and the country’s interests in the region, he expects someone high-level, with extensive experience and knowledge of the North.
“A lot of people forget that when you look at Arctic nations, you have small states where the Arctic is their whole world, and then you have middle powers like Canada where the Arctic is important, but for the United States, and to some extent Russia, the Arctic is just a part of the rest of the whole world that they juggle and manage,” he said. “It can be difficult for people to keep that in its context.
“It is important that anyone in this position understands very well the U.S. national security priorities generally, and know how to manage Arctic issues within the broader context and full scope of U.S. global interests.
“It is certainly quite intimidating.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
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