America Must Act on the North and South Poles

September 11, 2018 Topic: Security Region: Americas Tags: ArcticAntarcticaGlobal WarmingHeavy IcebreakerRussia

America Must Act on the North and South Poles

Washington's influence on security, research, trade, and the environment is weakening.

Congress, after the mid-term elections, should hold hearings to consider how America can maintain its leadership in both polar regions, raise awareness of the importance of both to U.S. interests, and examine the effects of climate change in both regions on Americans and the rest of the world.

The Administration should fill the critical leadership positions in the State Department and in other agencies so the United States can engage at appropriate levels with its partners who are planning polar policy.

Congress and the Administration should work together to increase U.S. capacity to conduct scientific research in both polar regions.

Also, despite serious tensions with Russia on other matters, America must maintain a constructive dialogue and practical cooperation with Russia in the Arctic.

In short, regardless of current political divisions, Americans must find common ground here at home to address the profound challenges and opportunities that lie at the two ends of our planet.


David Balton is a Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative.

Ross Virginia is the Myers Family Professor of Environmental Science and Director of the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College.

Kenneth Yalowitz is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, former U.S. Ambassador to Belarus and Georgia and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University.

Image: Reuters