The most pertinent geopolitical development is the shift in rhetoric among the different Arctic powers. The United States is taking a more forthright, assertive approach, with its recent Arctic papers from the US Navy and Department of Homeland Security addressing security concerns in the form of Russian militarization and Chinese interference. Meanwhile, Russia has a dual approach that frames the Arctic as a place for cooperation while militarizing in the background. China, on the other hand, is taking a multipronged approach by initiating the Polar Silk Road along the Northern Sea Route, operating new research stations in Norway and Iceland, and increasing its physical presence in the Arctic Ocean. While all three powers have elements of both cooperation and competition in their Arctic strategies, it is important to track shifts in rhetoric and actions in the zone.
The submarine USS Hartford near Ice Camp Sargo in the Arctic Circle. (DoD Image)