Governing Antarctica: A Continent Dedicated to Science or a Place of Geopolitical Rivalry?

An interesting review for those interested in assessing the resilience of the Antarctic Treaty (System) post-1961

Roger Launius's Blog

The Antarctic Region in 2002.

In many respects, the history of cooperation and collaboration in Antarctic science mirrors the larger story of how the various great powers have interrelated since the conclusion of World War II. If one were to characterize it accurately throughout the last fifty-plus years, the undeniable conclusion is that all parties have enjoyed an uneasy relationship in which they have recognized that they were better off cooperating rather than competing on the icy continent.

This approach to dealing with Antarctica is really a relic of the Cold War rivalries of the latter 1950s, and especially of the remarkable scientific endeavor known as the International Geophysical Year (IGY). The IGY took place in 1957-1958, and 12 nations participated directly in Antarctic research during that organized scientific research effort.

Because of its success, within a year afterward, these same 12 nations met in Washington, DC, to sign the Antarctic Treaty…

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