Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On Thin Ice: The Inuit, the State, and the Challenge of Arctic Sovereignty -- by Barry Zellen

Announcing The Publication of

On Thin Ice: The Inuit, the State, and the Challenge of Arctic Sovereignty

(from Lexington Books, November 28, 2009)

On Thin Ice: The Inuit, the State and the Challenge of Arctic Sovereignty, the sequel to Breaking the Ice: From Land Claims to Tribal Sovereignty in the Arctic, is now available from Lexington Books. This is the third volume in the Arctic Security Project book series.

On Thin Ice explores the relationship between the Inuit and the modern state in the vast but lightly populated North American Arctic. It chronicles the aspiration of the Inuit to participate in the formation and implementation of diplomatic and national security policies across the Arctic region and to contribute toward the post-Cold War re-conceptualization of Arctic security.

With the warming of the polar regions, the Arctic rim states have paid increasing attention to the commercial opportunities, strategic challenges, and environmental risks of Arctic climate change. As the millennial isolation of the region comes to an end, the Inuit who are indigenous to the region are showing tremendous diplomatic and political skills as they continue to directly engage the more populous and powerful nation-states that assert sovereign control over the Arctic, in their ongoing effort to mutually assert joint sovereignty across the region, and to ensure that Inuit values are incorporated into the national and global policy equation.

Published on the 50th anniversary of Kenneth Waltz’s classic work of international relations theory, Man, the State, and War, Zellen’s On Thin Ice is at once a tribute to Waltz’s pivotal elucidation of the three levels of analysis as well as an enhancement of his famous “Three Images” with the addition of a new “Fourth Image” to describe a tribal level of analysis. This model remains salient in not only the Arctic where modern state sovereignty remains limited, but in many other conflict zones the world over where tribal peoples retain many attributes of their indigenous sovereignty.

University of Calgary political scientist Rob Huebert, and long-time Edmonton Journal journalist Ed Struzik, have contributed to On Thin Ice: Professor Huebert has authored a guest foreword to the work, introducing the topic of Arctic sovereignty to the readers and framing the analysis that follows; and Ed Struzik, himself a prolific author on the Arctic and one of the first who predicted the “End of the Arctic” more than a generation ago, has authored the afterword to On Thin Ice, sharing his reflections on Arctic sovereignty, the topic of his next book. Their contributions not only help to frame Zellen’s discussion of Arctic sovereignty and its challenges, but present a snapshot of their own fascinating work in this area.

Table of Contents

· Foreword: Inuit Endurance and the Arctic Transformation, by Prof. Rob Huebert - vi

· Preface: Beyond the Ice Fog - The Ambiguities of Arctic Sovereignty - xi

· 1: Northern Perspectives on Arctic Sovereignty and Security - 1

· 2: Southern Perspectives on Arctic Sovereignty and Security - 63

· 3: Toward a Synthesis of Tribe and State: Foundation of a Stable Arctic - 125

· Afterword: Next Chapter in Arctic History Must Be Co-Authored by Northern Peoples, by Journalist Ed Struzik - 181

· Notes - 185

· Bibliography - 213

· Index - 243

· About the Author - 252


“Barry Zellen’s unique background in Arctic national security and sovereignty issues makes On Thin Ice a stimulating and indispensable read for strategists, policymakers, and students of Arctic political and security studies. His exhaustive analysis of the role that the Inuit people should and will play as the current Arctic security debate unfolds is both unique and timely, offering a practical application of the oft-forgotten tribal level of classic Waltzian analysis.”
—Margaret D. Stock, Associate Professor, US Military Academy & Lieutenant Colonel, US Army Reserve

“Barry Zellen has written an intriguing and challenging book on the place of the Arctic northern peoples that must be read by anyone interested in the new Arctic. It is not necessary to agree with all of Zellen’s arguments to understand that his book is a comprehensive effort to understand the central role that the Inuit must and do play in the developing issues surrounding the transformation of the Arctic. This is a must read for anyone wanting to understand the massive transformation that the Inuit now face in their home.”
—Robert Huebert, Associate Professor, University of Calgary

“Zellen’s timely study of the challenges confronting both the state and indigenous peoples brought about by the profound ecological crisis in the Arctic is a must read for any student of the region. His in-depth, informed discussions of the tension that animates the potentially conflicting goals of the state and the indigenous peoples of the region brings to the fore the crucial need for policies that are sensitive to the concerns of native populations. This path is the only one that offers long-term sustainability. Replete with fascinating examples, and reflecting Zellen’s deep knowledge gleaned from his years of experience working and living in the extreme north, his discussions can easily be extended to the Nordic region where similar conditions, challenges and avenues for positive solutions to vexing social and economic problems obtain.”
—Timothy R. Tangherlini, Professor and Chair, The Scandinavian Section, UCLA

“For those who know a piece of today’s Arctic story, Barry Zellen’s On Thin Ice neatly connects the dots from Alaska to Greenland with a wealth of detail. His research and his experience living in the region come together here to buoy a generation of scholars, scientists, and policy-makers.”
—Mike Peters, (former) editor, First Alaskans Magazine

“Tribal-state relations, border conflicts, militant insurgencies, economic exploitation/dependence, climate change, and oil politics are the stuff of this fascinating book that is not about the Middle East. Barry Zellen has written a dense and meticulously researched book on the trials and tribulations of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic region as they strive for sovereignty, and confront and adapt to modernity, globalization, and a potential polar thaw. He tells a story that has significant relevance to many of the present dilemmas facing the international political economic system. I suspect that it is only a matter of time before this book serves as the important primer and source for policy makers concerned with Arctic policy.”
—Thomas Johnson, Director, Program for Culture and Conflict Studies, Naval Postgraduate School

“Barry Zellen is way ahead of the curve in the field of security studies in focusing on the intersection that state rivalries and environmental issues in the Arctic will have on global security and stability. In On Thin Ice, Barry Zellen highlights the important role the Arctic will play in moderating the historic clash between indigenous tribes and the modern state, re-defining the conception and limits of state sovereignty in frontier regions where tribal forces endure. All serious students of security studies should closely examine this work and ensure it receives the space it deserves on their library shelves and course curricula.”
—James Russell, (former) Director, Center for Contemporary Conflict, Naval Postgraduate School

Barry Zellen is also the author of Arctic Doom, Arctic Boom: The Geopolitics of Climate Change in the Arctic, published by Praeger Books in October 2009.

No comments: