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'Good Neighbor Policy' Promoted by Alaska's Elite
December 8, 2014 11:25

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Nils Andreassen, executive director of the Institute of the North, is pushing for cooperation rather than hatred in an Op-Ed piece on Russia-US relations in the Alaska Dispatch News.
Disregarding the mantra of the mainstream media, he shares his impressions of meeting Russians.
“In Yakutia I found warm hearts, keen intellects and sharp wits. Even better, I heard again and again a commitment to circumpolar cooperation. Gov. Hickel anticipated this more than 40 years ago and worked to strengthen these relationships throughout his career. He was there just a decade ago, in fact, and those friendships still stand strong. To rephrase Hickel, “why sanctions, why not a good neighbor policy?” Alaska’s leadership is critical right now and establishes a working relationship that will be very necessary in the coming years,” he says.
Both Yakutia and Alaska are struggling to deliver affordable energy to remote communities, develop appropriate transportation infrastructure and benefit from a strong resource-based economy, says Andreassen.
He also noticed the impact that sanctions are having on Russia’s economy. “Communities and individuals are tightening their belts and making do with less at a time when a changing climate and increased activity in the Arctic demands more investment and effective governance,” he says.
“That doesn’t seem like it is in Alaska’s best interests, nor does it feel right, when Alaska and the Russian Arctic could work together for mutual benefit,” he goes on to say.
“The bilateral framework on energy lets Alaska leverage its expertise in this field, drawing on the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Alaska Center for Energy and Power, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, and the Alaska Energy Authority. There are also a number of partners to draw from in the private sector and from communities that are at the forefront in considering and implementing innovative solutions. Alaska is a world leader in microgrid development and especially wind-diesel integration. The state has also made significant investments in emerging energy technology and renewable energy adoption,” Andreassen suggests.
“People-to-people approach is especially critical when nation-to-nation isn’t working,” he concludes. 

Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: US sanctions Alaska Crimea   

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