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Cold, dark, and dangerous: international cooperation in the arctic and space

  • Michael Byers (a1)

Abstract

This article compares Russian–Western cooperation in the Arctic and Space, with a focus on why cooperation continued after the 2014 annexation of Crimea. On the basis of this comparative approach, continued cooperation is linked to the following factors: (1) the Arctic and Space are remote and extreme environments; (2) they are militarised but not substantially weaponised; (3) they both suffer from ‘tragedies of the commons’; (4) Arctic and Space-faring states engage in risk management through international law-making; (5) Arctic and Space relations rely on consensus decision-making; (6) Arctic and Space relations rely on soft law; (7) Arctic states and Space-faring states interact within a situation of ‘complex interdependence’; (8) Russia and the United States are resisting greater Chinese involvement in these regions. The article concludes with the following contribution to international relations theory: The more that states need to cooperate in a particular region or issue-area, and the more they become accustomed to doing so, the more resilient that cooperation will become to tensions and breakdowns in other regions and issue-areas. This phenomenon can be termed ‘complex and resilient interdependence’, to signify that complex independence is more than a description. It can, sometimes, affect the course of state-to-state relations.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Michael Byers, Email: michael.byers@ubc.ca

References

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Keywords

Cold, dark, and dangerous: international cooperation in the arctic and space

  • Michael Byers (a1)

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