Tools of “soft power” in the struggle of countries for the Arctic

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A political scientist from South Ural State University, Maxim Gutenev, is exploring the influence of science diplomacy as an instrument of foreign policy influence on the processes taking place in the Arctic. The project was awarded a grant from the Russian Science Foundation in the framework of the “Initiative Research by Young Scientists” competition of the Presidential Program of research projects implemented by leading scientists, including young scientists. ”

Currently, the Arctic represents a key region in which a number of leading world powers, including Canada, the USA, some countries of Northern Europe and Southeast Asia, as well as Russia, uphold their presence. The region is interesting, first of all, for the abundance of its natural resources: oil, raw gas, unique deposits of rare ores, metals, gold, diamonds and so on. Equally important are the claims of independent countries on the internationalization of the Russian Northern Sea Route, as well as the expansion of its borders along the Arctic continental shelf. All this is evidence of the absence of an International Treaty defining the official status of the Arctic. Simultaneously, the region has been considered the territory of “dialogue”, “peace”, and “friendship” for about 30 years. In this regard, it is over here that foreign countries are particularly intensively using alternative technologies of “soft power”. For example, scientific diplomacy.

“Events of the XX century. convincingly prove that science performs a significant role in upholding the interests of a state, and can also help strengthen peace between states during tensions when other political mechanisms do not work, says Maxim, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations, Political Science and Regional Studies, South Ural State University Gutenev. – Let us recall the Soyuz-Apollon project or the “handshake in space” – the program for the joint experimental manned flight of the Soviet Soyuz-19 spacecraft and the American Apollo spacecraft in 1975. When relations between the two countries reached an impasse against the backdrop of the Caribbean crisis, the Prague Spring, and against the backdrop of the loss of influence of the Soviet Union in the Arab world, a scientific project made it possible to discover common ground between the two superpowers and smooth over existing international tensions. This is the result of scientific diplomacy. ”

In the struggle for influence on the “Arctic chessboard”, the continuous spectrum of political, financial, economic and new information tools is involved. The potential of significant services using modern technologies and tools of scientific diplomacy is being increasingly used. Her methods have long been recognized in the United States, Britain, and France.

However, in our country, science as an instrument of soft power is unused effectively enough, the young scientist believes. In his study, unlike colleagues studying similar issues, he emphasizes that science diplomacy is a significant level of influence on other states, the effects of which are ununderstood.

“It is universally declared that science diplomacy has only a certain effect and is beneficial, but there are reasons to believe this is not always true. In her 2008 speech, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mentioned the use of science diplomacy as an effective lever for US influence in other countries. A study of how this happens and what the effects of the use of “soft power” maybe is devoted to my future project. ”

A study of the scientific component in the strategies of foreign states in the Arctic will make it possible to formulate recommendations to counter the attempts of foreign states to exert foreign policy influence on the Russian Federation through the tools of science diplomacy. The identification of the most effective models and tools of scientific diplomacy will contribute to strengthening national security, declared as a priority area of science in the Russian Federation, Maxim Gutenev is sure.

In 2019, the Russian Science Foundation supported the projects of 7 scientists at SUSU for a total of 30 million rubles in the contests “Initiative research by young scientists” and “Research by scientific groups led by young scientists”.

Source: SUSU