As Earth’s southernmost continent, Antarctica lives by norms of its own. It is a de facto condominium over which seven sovereign states maintain territorial claims, but that is governed by a multilateral Antarctic Treaty System (ATS). China’s growing interests in the “White Continent” have spurred responses from the actors that have much at stake in Antarctica, such as Australia, Brazil and Russia, as well as the European Union.
Dopo la negativa esperienza dei governi a guida democratica (2009-2012), il Giappone è tornato al passato e punta al proprio rilancio scegliendo la stabilità e la tradizione degli esecutivi liberaldemocratici (LDP). La maggioranza conseguita dai conservatori è stata netta e ha attribuito al nuovo governo e alla coalizione di centro-destra un mandato forte per poter governare e provare a cambiare radicalmente il paese, stretto com’è tra deflazione economica e immobilismo politico.
On July 20th 1969, the dominoes were lined up for the first moon landing in the history of humankind. Impressive new technologies (illustrated by the Saturn V rocket launcher, still the most powerful ever built), an unconditional trust culture within NASA, political commitment and justification, and personal motivation of those involved were key components for the success of the mission. With 400,000 people working on the project, it took the NASA less than two years to go from Apollo 1’s deadly fires to 11’s moon landing.
The first of December (Antarctica Day) 2019 will not only mark the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Antarctic Treaty; it will also mark the 10th year since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. This second treaty furthered the EU on its path towards becoming a major actor on the global stage by establishing inter alia the function of High Representative and the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s own diplomatic network.
Australia is one of the founders of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), a claimant state and the country that, together with France, contributed the most to the birth of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
Some have seen Brazil’s recent increased interest in the South Atlantic as also involving a growing interest in Antarctica.
When a huge iceberg broke away from Antarctica in 2017, the New York Times reported that “maps will need to be redrawn”. The 7th continent is warming due to climate change, and it is on its way to becoming more accessible and habitable by the end of the 21st century.
It was on 20 November 1984 that China dispatched its first Antarctic research expedition team, and by the end of this expedition, the country established its first Antarctic research station, the Great Wall Station on 20 February 1985.
Since the launch of Xuě Lóng 2 (literally, China’s “Snow Dragon 2”) in late 2018, images of Chinese icebreakers on the Polar route of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have become more and more common on media outlets around the world. Images that leave a sweet-and-sour taste, as they imply that one of the few sanctuaries in the world (that is, the Polar region) is no longer immune to large-scale human activity.
With the so-called “Gilets jaunes movement”, France has gone through a political mobilization which is both “déjà vu” and radically new. The “déjà vu” dimension is linked to the historical tradition of protest and political violence in a country where the representative channels and the intermediary groups are and always have been sociologically weak and politically illegitimate since the 1789 revolution. This French peculiarity has little to teach to other democratic systems which are usually better equipped with instruments of mediation both at the societal and political level.