Obama’s Arctic Flip-Flop: U.S. Interests in the Arctic

The Department of Interior released a proposal yesterday to make the Arctic and the Atlantic completely off limits for oil and gas drilling until 2022. This surprising U-turn comes only 8 months after the president gave the green light for Arctic exploration. But it is also only days after Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to the White House, where the future of the Arctic was a main topic of conversation. This plan sets back the U.S. and its ally to the north, and makes North America weak on the global stage in terms of resource development and defense.

The Obama Administration is putting a stranglehold on the potential that the Arctic possesses. The press release from the Department of the Interior stated “We know the Arctic is a unique place of critical importance to many – including Alaska Natives who rely on the ocean for subsistence.” While this is true, the Department and the Administration are severely undervaluing the critical, strategic advantages the Arctic provides. The U.S. cannot sit idly by while countries such as Russia and China assert their dominance over Arctic resources that will create domestic jobs and enhance the United States’ global, economic, and strategic footprint.

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