*The Future History of the Arctic*

I loved this book, which is written by Charles Emmerson.  Here is one short bit:

Despite the prominence of the colors of Norway on Svalbard — and the firm insistence from any government representative that Svalbard is an integral part of the kingdom of Norway — there are reminders that the archipelago is both something more and something less than that.  Russians and Ukrainians live here, some in Longyearbyen, though most are at the Russian settlement at Barentsburg.  The girls at the supermarket checkout counter speak Thai.  Somewhere in town is an Iranian who came here six years ago and, under the terms of the Spitsbergen Treaty, was able to settle here.  If he were to return south to the Norwegian mainland, he would almost definitely be forced to leave the country, his asylum claims having been refused.  Import duties are nonexistent on Svalbard: Cuban cigars cost less in Longyearbyen, at 78 degrees North, than they do in Oslo, three hours' flight to the south.

Here is Wikipedia on Svalbard

This book covers why and how Greenland might become independent, what kind of presence in the Arctic Canada can realistically expect to have, the changing historical fortunes of Vladivostock, what the Law of the Sea really means, and why Norway manages its fossil fuel revenues so well, among other matters.  The Future History of the Arctic has fun and useful information on just about every page.



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