Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 302

302 Arctic Yearbook 2015 “the Commission should be prepared to pursue the opening of international negotiations designed to lead to the adoption of an international treaty for the protection of the Arctic, having as its inspiration the Antarctic Treaty…” (European Parliament 2008). The calls for an Arctic Treaty were situated within the context of the 2007 Russian North Pole flag planting; domestic political conditions within the European Union demanded a firm response to Russia’s overstepping. The EP’s suggestion was not well received by the US; similar to UNCLOS, the US objects on the basis of sovereignty infringement. Feedback from the epistemic community3 of Arctic observers also conveyed a lack of enthusiasm for an Arctic Treaty. Rather than issuing a wholesale dismissal of the idea, Oran Young crafted a comprehensive response where he argued “legally binding agreements are attractive to the extent that they generate a greater normative pull than more informal arrangements affecting the actions of those expected to comply with their provisions” (Young 2010: 181). What his comment brings to the fore is that Arctic governing arrangements, as situated around the Arctic Council, do offer a considerable “normative pull” as evidenced by recent declarations passed and actors hoping to join as observers. Rather than using valuable political capital to pass what will be a dead-on-arrival Arctic Treaty, “we should make every effort to maintain and even enhance the effectiveness of the Arctic Council” (Young 2010: 184). But to achieve this, the conversation needs to shift. The challenges confronting Arctic states are largely viewed as domestic issues. This is problematic because the Arctic ice retreat, overlapping territorial claims, natural resources, and other topics are not confined to one state. And while domestic political discussions matter, the conversation needs to change to one defined by foreign policy articulation and implementation. This is where the analytical value of considering a regional analogue, such as ASEAN, can be found. Successful regional institutions, such as ASEAN, leave the domestic political escape hatch open; once international cooperation has been exhausted, states are not constrained in retreating from multilateral discussions. The concept of subsidiarity best illustrates the capacity of a state to pull back from an issue area, being approached by a variety of states and actors, and instead confront the topic alone (Van Kersbergen 2007). Having the ability to step away from the table in an area where a state has a comparative advantage, while simultaneously being engaged at the multilateral level in various other issue areas, is a powerful position for a state to be in. Having two feet firmly planted across issue thresholds is how cooperation can be reconciled with control. The ASEAN analogue In exploring how best to expand the governing capabilities of states and regimes in the Circumpolar North, Southeast Asia may seem a strange place to look for an analogue. But today’s hyper-globalized world forces us to consider other regional perspectives, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) stands as a worthy analytical frame through which potential Arctic governing realignments can be considered. Despite “differing histories, cultural traditions, resource bases, and political-economic systems,” ASEAN has succeeded in integrating Southeast Asia into a “coherent whole” (Dayley et al. 2013: 3). Not only can the Arctic Council learn from ASEAN’s creation of a highly-functioning regional organization, but Arctic states stand to benefit from closer interaction with Toward an Arctic Way