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January 16, 2023

CC Arctic Security: What Comes Next?

The January 16, 2023 CALL Café will feature two speakers with different perspectives on Arctic Security.

Rob Huebert

The Return of Great Power Politics in the Arctic and Renewed Threat of Nuclear War

The fighting in the Ukrainian-Russian war has acted as a reminder of the dangerous reality of nuclear war. Most preferred to believe that the end of the Cold War had eliminated any dangers that these weapons posed to human existence. The threats made by Russian president Vladimir Putin to use these weapons if he is challenged by the west are not empty. Since coming to power in 1999 as acting president, he has modernized both delivery systems and actual weapons. While ignoring these efforts at first, the United States and some of its allies have begun to take steps to meet these threats which are now creating a very dangerous security environment. Many of these systems are based in the Arctic because of Russian geography which has made this region one of the most important and dangerous in the world. This talk will focus on why this new reality has developed and what it means for Canada as a member of NATO, NORAD, and as an Arctic nation.

Will Greaves

When Great Power Fails: Russia, Ukraine, and the New Arctic Geopolitics

As the tide of war in Ukraine turns against Russia, how that conflict ends will directly affect the conditions of possibility for the international order that will follow. In this talk, I argue that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has cemented a new Arctic geopolitics and ask what a conventional Russian defeat in Ukraine means for the future of Arctic cooperation. I conclude by exploring two historical precedents for reintegrating Russia into the Arctic and international communities following its military defeat. I suggest that, like during the Cold War, environmental diplomacy offers valuable opportunities to advance environmental and climate goals in the Arctic, while facilitating Russia’s re-entry into a rules-based international order.


Rob Huebert is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary. He has served as the associate director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies and was appointed as a member to the Canadian Polar Commission (now renamed Polar Knowledge Canada) for a term lasting from 2010 to 2015. A senior fellow with the Laurier MacDonald Institute; a fellow with the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies; and a research fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, Dr. Huebert has taught at Memorial University, Dalhousie University, and the University of Manitoba. He publishes on the issue of Canadian Arctic Security, Maritime Security, and Canadian Defence. His work has appeared in International Journal; Canadian Foreign Policy; Isuma- Canadian Journal of Policy Research and Canadian Military Journal. He was co-editor of Canada and the Changing Arctic: Sovereignty, Security and Stewardship; Commercial Satellite Imagery and United Nations Peacekeeping and Breaking Ice: Canadian Integrated Ocean Management in the Canadian North. He also comments on Canadian security and Arctic issues in both the Canadian and international media.

Will Greaves is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, where his research focuses on global politics and security, climate and energy, Indigenous peoples, and the circumpolar Arctic. He is author of more than thirty peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and has co-edited two books: Breaking Through: Understanding Sovereignty and Security in the Circumpolar Arctic (with P. Whitney Lackenbauer) and One Arctic: The Arctic Council and Circumpolar Governance (with P. Whitney Lackenbauer and Heather Nicol). He is the Lead for Climate and Environment with the North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network (NAADSN) and was previously Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Sámi Studies at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Dr. Greaves holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Toronto.

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