Arctic Circle Roundup: Three Subtexts

Posted on the RHULGeopolitics blog, following my return from the Arctic Circle meeting in Iceland.


I’m just back from Iceland, having attended the first Arctic Circle conference in Reykjavik and the affiliated Sixth Annual Polar Law Symposium in Akureyri. As conference planning proceeded, the latter sessions of the Polar Law Symposium got moved to Reykjavik and folded into the larger Arctic Circle meeting. And as things proceeded further, one of the joint sessions (to be precise, the one on the Law of the Sea, in which I was presenting) got rebranded as a plenary. So, I ended up presenting a fairly technical paper on the legal status of the Northwest Passage, designed for a small audience of 20-30 polar law experts, to an amalgamation of almost 1,000 industrialists, diplomats, and journalists. It was a strange session, made all the stranger by flag-planter extraordinaire Artur Chilingarov, realist Arctic analyst Scott Borgerson, and U.S. Ambassador to Iceland Luis Arreaga all staring me down from the front row…

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