Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 402

402 Arctic Yearbook 2014 among other thing), tourism, and a general easier access to Arctic settlements. The Russian planting of a titanium flag on the Arctic seabed in 2007 and a general renewed interest in Arctic matters in the international press also caught the attention of policymakers and analysts in Copenhagen. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was already aware that rising temperatures would have an impact on Greenland and the political relations between the Arctic states (Home Rule of Greenland & Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2008: 4). In general, Copenhagen prefers to preserve Arctic cooperation. A militarization of the Arctic would mean that small states, like Denmark, risk being caught between the great powers. Denmark’s position is especially precarious, because of the undetermined status of Greenland. Tensions between the Inuit population of Greenland and Denmark proper would be more difficult to manage in an Arctic in flux, where other great powers – most notably the United States – would try to solidify their geopolitical interests in Greenland. Simply put, Copenhagen risks that Washington decides to cut out the middle-man and supports Greenlandic independence. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs moved quickly to help create better relations between the Arctic nations. The Ilulissat Declaration, the result of a meeting held in Greenland between high-level representatives of the five Arctic costal states in May 2008, helped establish these five states as the key players in the region. The hope was that interstate cooperation could prevent an Arctic great game for resources and territory. Danish strategic thinking about the Arctic was grounded in policy documents and academic studies. The first academic studies of the impact of climate change for defense planning were soon conducted (Jørgensen & Rahbek-Clemmensen, 2009; Petersen, 2009). These studies focused on the strategic aspects of the changing Arctic and they plugged into the nascent strategic debate about the future of the Arctic that had already been going on within the halls of government. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs co-published an Arctic strategy draft together with the Greenlandic Home Rule in 2008 (Home Rule of Greenland & Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2008). The 2008 defense commission placed the Arctic among the fix points for future defense planning (Defense Commission of 2008, 2009). Finally, in 2011, the Danish government published an official Arctic strategy for the period running through 2020 (Government of Denmark, Government of Greenland, & Government of the Faroe Islands, 2011). These strategic publications marked a shift away from seeing the Arctic as a pristine area that should be conserved – a nature reservation in the High North, so to speak – to a region ripe with commercial opportunities (Home Rule of Greenland & Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2008: 7). Though conservation of the environment still played a role in Danish planning, the focus was now on facilitating commercial opportunities. Denmark should focus on facilitating and supporting regional cooperation, while ensuring that the Danish and Greenlandic authorities were ready to handle changes in the commercial set-up in Greenland. However, as is the case with most public strategies, the Danish Arctic strategy papers remain mum when it comes to certain politically sensitive issues. There are two significant omissions. First, the strategy papers do not discuss what Denmark gets out of its Arctic presence or how Denmark could maximize Greenland’s value as a bargaining chip. Why does Denmark spend significant resources on a remote Arctic island? How does Denmark get the most out of its Greenland’s strategic position in Washington? How does Denmark intend to engage with other Rahbek-Clemmensen