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  • Author: Rabia Altaf, Molly Douglas, Drew Yerkes
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Many Western leaders point to the Arctic as a zone of cooperation—and we have observed such cooperation with the formulation of the Arctic Council, joint scientific endeavors, Search and Rescue agreements, and the very recent Arctic Coast Guard Forum—but disputes between Russia and other Arctic nations in regions to the south have raised concerns in certain quarters. While an ongoing struggle for dominance over the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage and competing continental shelf claims may reflect these tensions, tit-for-tat military exercises and plans for expanded military infrastructure in the Arctic certainly do. The Russian government recently announced completion of a new military base in Franz Josef Land capable of supporting 150 soldiers, as well as its intention to rebuild six existing airfields. While such a nominal increase in military personnel posted to the Arctic may merely be seen as a posturing act, taken in context with Russia’s recent actions in Europe and the Middle East, it might also be seen as a bold move to project power from a previously overlooked region.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Cooperation, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Bruce M. Everett
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Until last year, drilling for oil in the Arctic was the subject of considerable discussion focused not only on the potential impacts of Arctic resources on the oil market, but also on the environmental and geopolitical implications of opening this area to development. Prospects for Arctic drilling dimmed considerably in 2015 when Shell decided to abandon its ambitious drilling efforts in the Burger Field in the Chukchi Sea, writing off several billion dollars in the process. The recent collapse in oil prices has probably put a stop to Arctic drilling for the time being, and this pause may prove useful in resolving some of the outstanding issues.
  • Topic: Environment, Oil, Natural Resources, Geopolitics, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, Arctic, United States of America, Oceans
  • Author: Victor Marsh
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: On April 18, 1775, Massachusetts businessman and U.S. revolutionary Paul Revere alerted fellow patriots that British military action against the rebellion in Boston would come by sea rather than by land. The warning that “the [British] regulars are coming” was a verbal intelligence report. It was based on what Revere and his associates had seen with their own eyes. They interpreted the visual data correctly; British military action came the very next day via an initial naval landing of troops that engaged in the first battles of the United States’ Revolutionary War. Intoning the urgency of Mr. Revere, these U.S. analysts and Alaskan politicians seek to inspire a sense of urgency within United States decision-making, warning that the Russians are coming to dominate the north. While taking exhaustive notes on the ambiguous “duality” in Russia’s Arctic policies, the pessimists have nonetheless quickly resolved this open question and pronounced with alarm the fear that Russia is secretly deploying a “new ice curtain,” meaning actions to deny the United States access to the allegedly vital Arctic region.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Diplomacy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Arctic, United States of America