The United States announced Friday the creation of an ambassador post in charge of the Arctic, in the face of competition from Russia and China, and in the midst of a climate crisis.
“An Arctic region that is peaceful, stable, prosperous and cooperative is of strategic importance to the United States” in particular to “combat climate change”, assures the deputy spokesperson of the US State Department , Vedant Patel, in a statement announcing the creation of this position, which will have to be submitted to the Senate for approval.
Currently, a career diplomat, Jim DeHart, is the US Arctic coordinator. A more or less similar position also exists in France. Since December 2020, Olivier Poivre d’Arvor has held the position of ambassador for the clusters and maritime issues. It is responsible for defining a national polar strategy, in order to further strengthen the place occupied by France on the spot.
A highly strategic area
This announcement comes as a meeting of the Arctic Circle International Forum dedicated to Greenland is due to begin on Saturday. Earlier this year, seven of the eight member countries of the Arctic Council, including the United States, had suspended their participation when Russia took over the rotating presidency, in the midst of the war in Ukraine.
The receding sea ice in the Arctic opens up significant economic and military opportunities thanks in particular to new maritime routes. The Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the rest of the planet over the past 40 years, according to a recent study.
Russia has also recently published a new naval doctrine in which it says it wants to strengthen its positions in the Arctic, both economically and militarily.