Past the freezing point?
Abstract: The political climate in the Arctic is changing in tandem with the world’s climate. As the ice thaws and leaves a previously frozen sea open, it likewise opens up for new opportunities as estimated abundances of resources become reachable for the first time. The diminishing ice also opens up new water ways for shipping routes and tourism, providing new economic opportunities. This has piqued the interests of many states in the world, inside and outside of the Arctic. China, the world’s second largest economy, has notably made itself more present in the region through its observatory status in the Arctic Council, cooperation with Arctic states and by publishing an Arctic policy. The United States, largest economy in the World and Arctic state, has also increased its activity in the Arctic. These states have since accused each other of aggressive behaviour and are pushing opposing narratives. This paper analyses these discourses and narratives from a geopolitical viewpoint and argues that their interests lie in gaining power through accessing resources and keeping the other away. It also argues that the implication of this is that the Arctic is increasingly becoming a hostile political environment and a piece in the global balance of power.
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