Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 331

331 Arctic Yearbook 2015 boundaries. Control of territory ultimately depends on state recognition and protest would show that the protesting state does not recognize the claims as legitimate (Byers 2014: 125–26). In sum, international law provides the states with rules and processes that allow them to transfer information in an orderly fashion. The states can disrupt the process, but UNCLOS and CLCS are both considered to be legitimate and unpartisan institutions and doing so thus comes at the loss of reputation for states (Mercer 1996; Downs and Jones 2002; Brooks & Wohlforth 2005: 514–17). The key question is if states’ interests in disturbing the process outweigh these political costs. One cannot understand the delimitation process without considering why states have a geopolitical interest in a peaceful settlement of the Arctic delimitation question. Geopolitics makes states adhere to international law Geopolitics link the geographical features of a specific area with economics and international and domestic politics to understand state behavior within that area. Understanding the Arctic’s importance entails understanding its material production value, its military and symbolic importance, and existing domestic and international political dynamics. At Ilulissat, the coastal states agreed to follow international law when dividing up Arctic territories and to cooperate through regional institutions (Ilulissat Declaration 2008). Of course, declarations are but mere words and it would count for little were it not for the fact that it rests on a foundation of shared state interests. As the following sections will show, even when viewed from a purely Realpolitik point of view, the states have much to gain from adhering to the UNCLOS set-up and this has so far kept the process on track. Basically, the geopolitical logic behind this support consists of geoeconomic, grand-strategic, and domestic dynamics. In the following, each of these dynamics is analyzed separately to show that the states have an incentive to divide the territory peacefully, but that domestic politics may disrupt the process. Arctic geo-economics There is no established consensus about the meaning of the term “geo-economics” and definitions include the economic effect of geopolitics, the geopolitical effects of economic phenomena, and the geographical distribution of economic activity (Luttwak 1990; Dicken 1998; Baru 2012). In this piece, I define the term narrowly as the subset of geopolitics concerned with the economic potential of geographical features, including transport routes, minerals, energy resources, and animal stocks. That is, geo-economics tells us how certain territories enable the production of wealth. The geo-economics of the Arctic indicate that the UNCLOS process should be relatively unproblematic, as the undistributed areas are unlikely to contain significant resources and even if they do so, they will be very difficult to exploit. As mentioned above, the process does not give states rights over some of the most important Arctic resources, such as fish stocks or sea lanes. Instead, a geoeconomical analysis should focus on resources found on the seabed or in the subsoil beneath, the most important of which are oil and gas. Any analysis of the resources in the undistributed areas will be based on estimates based on sparse data, but available analyses indicate that the vast majority of Arctic hydrocarbons are located along the coasts, within the existing boundaries of the High North Carving Up the Arctic