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Until recently, the northern US border was secured by a continent-size piece of ice; however, as climate change opens up the Arctic to further exploitation and access, geopolitical uncertainties over regional dominance will arise and regional tensions will heighten. As such, the United States is gearing up to increase military presence in the Arctic. The use of a FONOP is a tool the U.S. can use to signal readiness to engage in the region. FONOPs have been used by the U.S. around the world to assert the rights of American ships to operate freely in disputed territories and to discourage illegitimate/excessive claims (examples of this can be seen throughout the South China Sea.)
Why This Matters? It has been predicted that by 2035 the Arctic will be completely free of ice in the summer; when the Arctic melts (becoming just another ocean,) geopolitical tensions will rise as Arctic nations struggle for dominance of the region. While the United States has a vested interest in asserting its right to operate its military freely in the Arctic and ensure freedom of movement for commercial vessels, a FONOP may be an aggressive display. Any military action taken in the Arctic needs to be strategic and well-thought out.
The LA Times’ Susanne Rust reported on a brewing controversy surrounding China’s notorious “distant water” fishing fleet — it’s 17,000 vessels strong and has conducted dubious fishing operations off the coasts of West Africa, Argentina, and Japan.
Teresa Ish is a Senior Program Officer at the Walton Family Foundation, where she oversees the foundation’s work conserving oceans and fisheries in the U.S. and through changing market practices to improve sustainability. Here are some of the highlights of the interview: On Persuading Businesses to Be More Sustainable: “If you run a seafood business […]
By David Helvarg & Jason Scorse Like millions of Americans, Delaware’s Vice President Joe Biden and his family love the coast. They spend their summers visiting their family beach house in a typical Delaware shore town with a boardwalk, small shops, bars, and restaurants. Its expansive beaches attract countless families, the adjacent state park is […]
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