Frosty Foreign Relations: U.S. Arctic Ambassador Position is Underway, State Department Announced

There will soon be an Arctic ambassador, the State Department announced on Friday.

Due to the rapid deterioration of the Arctic region from melting ice caps, the United States will appoint an ambassador-at-large–an upgrade to the current position of Arctic coordinator–to oversee the national security and environmental issues at play.

The State Department said that President Joe Biden “plans to elevate the Arctic Coordinator position by appointing an Ambassador-at-Large for the Arctic Region, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate,” in a statement.

The Arctic has become a sought-after territory for the United States–as well as Russia and China. Recently, Russia expanded its military presence in the region, including submarines and jet fighters, while China plans to spend billions on infrastructure, energy and research there, and called itself a “near-Arctic state.”

The Arctic has been warming at a pace four times faster than the global average. Strangely, this significant decline has created opportunities; melted ice has led to waterways, which may become usable for commercial and military vessels. 

Last year, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said: “The Arctic as a region for strategic competition has seized the world’s attention, but the Arctic is more than a strategically or economically significant region. It’s home to our people. Its hallmark has been and must remain peaceful cooperation. It’s our responsibility to protect that peaceful cooperation and to build on it as neighbors and as partners.”

The battle over the Arctic intensifies existing iciness between the United States and Russia amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The State Department’s statement also said the ambassador will “engage with counterparts in Arctic and non-Arctic nations as well as Indigenous groups, and work closely with domestic stakeholders, including state, local, and tribal governments, businesses, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, other federal government agencies and Congress.”

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