Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 389

389 Arctic Yearbook 2014   fear of its militaristic connotations: but British attitudes to the military are sufficiently different to make that explanation implausible.) Drawing on Dodds’ hypothesis, the general signal sent by the UK document may be analyzed at two levels – identity definition, and the politics of participation. Several authors have noted how the strategy documents of AC members all stress their owners’ identity as ‘Arctic nations’: even the Faroes make the claim (far-fetched in strict terms of physical geography) to be ‘a nation in the Arctic’.42 Clearly, a country lying beyond even the most widely-drawn depictions of the Arctic proper43 cannot take this line, but must choose between justifying its interest on the basis of global implications, practical links of cause and effect with Arctic developments, and/or shared institutional responsibility. The UK document indeed presses all these buttons, albeit limiting the institutional references to NATO and UN agencies: but it also (already in its title) defines a distinct category of Arctic ‘neighbour’. On the one hand this is a strong, simple claim that other larger EU members would find it hard to match;44 on the other it accepts clear differentiation from the Arctic states proper, making a name weaker than ‘strategy’ for the policy paper appropriate. At the level of institutional politics, Dodds is clearly also right in seeing the UK as trying to frame itself as a ‘model’ AC observer. The publicity and controversy surrounding the six wouldbe observer nations45 who were eventually admitted at Kiruna in May 2013 (see above) also impacted upon existing holders of that status. The new rules framed in 2011 made clear that observership was not ‘permanent’ but conditional, and might be called in question if a nation failed to demonstrate its practical interest in the Arctic (e.g. by contributions to AC work) or to respect the jurisdictions and rights of full AC members. It can be no coincidence that, five months after Kiruna, the UK policy document went out of its way to meet both these points by its massive stress on British scientific inputs (including those to AC working groups), and its almost comically frequent assurances of ‘respect’46. Indeed the whole timing of the paper’s appearance makes most sense if it was held back – in fac