Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 436

Arctic Yearbook 2014 436 fleets (Wezeman 2012a: 8 ff.), the discussions on arms control in the Arctic mainly focused on a possible establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) (see e.g. Prawitz 2011). Nevertheless, as average temperatures in the region are rising, conventional weapon systems will have an easier time operating in the area, an aspect which has so far remained scientifically and politically mainly unaddressed. In order to contribute to the closure of this gap, this article will primarily concentrate on a policy-orientated investigation of the subject and also try to establish an understanding of CSBMs as a structural tool of conflict prevention based on their impact on James D. Fearon’s ‘Rationalist Explanations for War’ (1995). This article will thus not only provide suggestions for a possible CSBM regime in the Arctic Region, but also contribute to the theoretical discussion on conflict prevention. In order to achieve these goals, this article will first briefly summarize the current political situation in the Arctic, before presenting the theoretical background which forms the foundation of the argument why the implementation of CSBMs would have a positive effect on the manifestation of the existing strong co-operation in the area, before the article concludes with practical implications and proposals on the issue. The Absence of Conflict? – The Arctic’s Political Status Quo With its still expected, nearly unexploited great fields of petroleum and gas, the Arctic, today, is considered to be one of the resource richest areas in the world (Bird et al. 2008: 1 ff.). This natural wealth has raised conflicting territorial claims by nearly all Arctic littoral states, but mainly Canada and the Russian Federation (UN DOALOS 2013) and a slowly but constantly increasing military presence in the area can be recorded (Wezeman 2012b: 1). As Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation stated: “Obviously military efforts safeguard economic ambitions. It would be strange for Russia, which has an enormous Arctic coastline, not to begin energetic, firm action for exploiting the region. [...] This is not an economic task, it's a geopolitical one. It's a question of national defence“ (RIA Novosti 2013). Besides the national interests of the eight Arctic states, the national energy security and economical interest of additional players such as China might hold an additional source of potential future conflict (e.g. Jakobson 2010; Xing & Bertelsen 2013). Regardless, currently, researchers and diplomats alike consider any form of military escalation in the Arctic to be very unlikely (Lind 2014; Bergh 2014; Wezeman 2014), an evaluation which is primarily based on three different aspects: First of all, within the 2008 ‘Ilulissat Declaration’ all five Arctic border states committed themselves to abide by international law in order to settle their conflicting territorial claims on the Arctic continental shelves (Arctic Ocean Conference 2008) and reiterated this commitment in 2013 in the context of the Arctic Council’s ‘Vision for the Arctic’: “The further development of the Arctic region as a zone of peace and stability is at the heart of our efforts. We are confident that there is no problem that we cannot solve together through our cooperative relationships on the basis of Confidence- & Security-Building Measures in the Arctic