The economic development of the northern regions of the USSR, United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark (Greenland) is examined with reference to the possible sources and timing of development in each state. The conclusion is that economic development for these Arctic littoral states is extraordinarily dependent upon the development of non-renewable natural resources - especially petroleum hydrocarbons — and, to a lesser extent, certain renewable resources. In addition, current world prices for the relevant resources are sufficiently low that development activity in each state ranges from moderate to modest: as long as prices remain at these levels, the current timing and pace of development is not likely to increase.
A complex mix of factors is involved in estimating the international importance of such economic development, but the current moderate or modest levels of development activity provide a « breathing space » for interstate relations among the Arctic littoral states. This is the opportunity to explore and develop cooperative institutions and mechanisms for further economic development in the face of pressures that might otherwise promote conflict.
The Arctic lends a special dimension to Canadian foreign and defence policies because it is the most harsh and the least populated part of Canada, it is where American security interests impinge most insistently and it is the ham in the superpower sandwich. Moreover, the Arctic is being drawn increasingly into the international System, with important policy implications: Canada cannot expect to develop effective policies to deal with its own Arctic in isolation from other countries; and Canada's ability to carry such policies out will depend on the extent to which it can exercise effective control over its vast territory. These implications are of particular importance to Canada's relations with the United States, with whom we must strike a balance between the advantages of cooperation and the need to protect Canadian interests. This task promises to become more complex as the forward air and sea defence of the United States pushes further north, while the move toward space-based warning and surveillance Systems reduces American reliance on Canadian territory and Canadian access to American information. Traditionally Canada has dealt bilaterally with the United States on such matters but the time has come to supplement the bilateral channels with multilateral approaches wherever possible, in order to emphasize the point that the defence of North America is an integral part of the defence of the North Atlantic Treaty area. In accordance with this concept, various measures should be considered to reinforce the strategic unity of NATO, to ensure that defence measures in the Arctic are consistent with strategic stability and with arms control policies, and to establish in the Arctic a regime of mutual security, bolstered by a concerted program of circumpolar cooperation.
The development through the past two decades has shown increasing military and political tensions in, and a corresponding military structuralization of the Arctic, partly because of the fact that Arctic waters of both super-powers are geographically adjacent in this region, and partly because new warfare technology, notably with nuclear powered and armed submarines, has facilitated advanced missile launching opportunities in Arctic waters. The article outlines the legal and political structure of the Greenland Home Rule and argues that the Home Rule should have a decisive say in security policy matters, since this may draw further attention towards the global environmental risks and disaster following from nuclear or chemical contamination and increase the pressure for a peaceful future in the Arctic.
In his speech at Murmansk on October 1, 1987, General Secretary Gorbachev presented a programme to radically lower the level of military confrontation in the Arctic and proposed a number of confidence-building measures. The Murmansk initiative followed numerous previous proposals along the same line, going back to the nineteen fifties. The political and military aspects of the initiative are linked to the Soviet concept of international security. There are three main elements to this concept: first, the impossibility, to-day, of insuring a country's security by military means alone; second, security must be mutual between the Soviet Union and the United States and it must be universal in the rest of the world; third, security must be comprehensive and must include the military, political, economic and humanitarian dimensions.
Specifically on northern security, it must be noted that the Soviet Union is quite vulnerable in the Arctic, with about half of its total land mass north of the 60th parallel. Also, the Arctic offers the shortest route for ICBMS, SLBMs and strategic bombers. Consequently, international security in the Arctic dictates confidence-building measures. The Murmansk initiative represents a significant contribution to the whole process of confidence-building by proposing, in particular: to limit the number of large exercises by naval and air forces in the Northern seas; to invite observers to such exercises; to include Barents Sea, along with other Northern seas, in a zone of peace; to ban anti-submarine activities in agreed areas of the Northern and Western Atlantic; to include the reduction of military activities in the Arctic on the agenda of the second stage of the Conference on CBM and Disarmement in Europe; to reduce naval activities in international straits; and to pursue the establishment of a Nordic nuclear weapon-free zone for which the Soviet Union would act as guarantor.
Developments in many fields, and especially in technology and economies, in international politics and in military strategy, have combined to give the Arctic a more important role in international affairs. By geographical location, with its mainland and islands stretching far to the North and framing the maritime link between the Atlantic and the Arctic, Norway has a strategic position at the main gateway to and from the Arctic Basin.
Historically, these European northern waters have been explored and exploited as an international commons and legally the Svalbard Treaty of 1920 which recognized Norway's sovereignty over the islands also secured permanent rights of access for foreign nationals and equal right to engage in research and to participate in commercial operations on the islands. In addition to the economic provisions, the Treaty served a strategic purpose by prohibiting the establishment of naval bases and fortifications on the islands and disallowing any use of them for « warlike purposes -».
With the Soviet Union emerging as the major military power in Europe at the end of the Second World War and concentrating its new and global naval forces in northern bases on the Kola Peninsula, the northern waters between Norway's coasts have become a strategic core area for any contest for maritime control of Atlantic supply lines, as well as for the strategic nuclear balance between the two superpowers and for a new nuclear threat against Europe.
In sum, the broad developments in the Arctic and the specific strategic interests in Arctic relations now focusing on the Norwegian Arctic, the Norwegian North has been turned into a center stage of international political and military interest and concern.
The Arctic is emerging today as an international region whose importance in political, economic, and environmental terms rivals that of the world's other major regions. What remains in doubt, at this juncture, is how the Arctic states -not to mention others — will respond to this development in policy terms. Are these states likely to upgrade their capacity to handle Arctic issues by adding substantial Arctic expertise to their policy planning staffs; creating bureaux of Arctic or northern affairs in their foreign ministries; establishing effective interagency coordinating mechanisms to handle complex Arctic issues, or devising new Arctic policies to replace the policies of benign neglect they have long relied on in dealing with Arctic matters ? These are serious concerns whose resolution will take time and may differ from state to state. Just as the recognition of the Arctic as a distinctive international region has been a major development of the 1980s, the formulation of appropriate public responses to this development seems likely to become a central Arctic concern of the 1990s.
The driving force behind Inuit interest in international affairs has been the determination to solve the problems of under-development, environmental damage, social injustice, inadequate legal recognition and limited or non-existent self-government. To assist in the solution of these problems, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) was founded in 1977. The Conference, which is presently headed by a Canadian Inuit (Mary Simon), holds a general assembly every three years and serves as the vehicle for overall Inuit identity and interests in the world. This identity has been developed in spite of international boundaries and East-West conflicts. Thus, the next general assembly, to be held in Sisimiut (Green-land) in 1989, will be the first where Soviet Inuit will join their kin from Alaska, Canada and Greenland. They will continue to address such fundamental issues as: the development of an overall Arctic policy ; the protection of the environment; sustainable development; international aboriginal rights; and the ongoing militarization of the Arctic, which is a cause of great concern to all Inuit.
The territorial sovereignty over Alaska, the Arctic islands of the Soviet Union, Svalbard, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago poses no problem, but the continental shelf off those territories and islands has yet to be delimited between the five Arctic States: Alaska, the Soviet Union, Norway, Denmark and Canada. Beyond the continental shelf, the mineral resources of the deep sea-bed should normally form part of the common heritage of mankind, but their presence has not yet been determined. The Arctic Ocean, in spite of the permanent presence of ice, is subject to the freedoms of the seas. The straits of the Northeast Passage are internal waters of the Soviet Union, at least since the establishment of straight baselines in 1985 (presumably, under the Territorial Sea Convention to which the USSR is a Party) and, possibly before, by way of historic title. Under the Convention, a right of innocent passage would exist but not if they are historic waters. The waters of the Northwest Passage are internal waters of Canada since their enclosure by straight baselines in 1985, under customary international law, and no right of passage exists. The sovereignty of Arctic States extends to the air space above their territory, internal waters and territorial sea. There is no right of over flight above those areas, outside of the I.C.A.O. Conventions. The Arctic Ocean being a semi-enclosed sea, bordering States should cooperate under the new Law of the Sea Convention in the exploitation of the living resources, the protection of the marine environment and the conduct of scientific research. This cooperation could best be attained by the creation of an Arctic Basin Council composed of all Arctic States and, possibly, the Nordic countries.
Chronique des relations extérieures du Canada et du Québec