Security Dynamics In, Through, and Over the Arctic “Region”

In Michael E. Goodsite and Niklas Swanström (eds), Towards a Sustainable Arctic: International Security, Climate Change and Green Shipping. World Scientific, 2023, pp. 1-24.

The notions of a conflictual Arctic and great-power politics continue to make the headlines. Ideas of the Arctic as an arena for political competition and rivalry are often juxtaposed with the view of the Arctic as a region of harmony and shared interests, featuring a confusing multitude of actors and layers of geopolitical engagement. What are the different national security characteristics of the Arctic region? Why are statements by Arctic states about the region sometimes contradictory? And how might regional relations evolve? This chapter teases out the different, and at times contradictory, dynamics at play in the Circumpolar North along three “levels” of inter-state relations: the international system, the regional (Arctic) level, and bilateral relations. Labeling these as “in”, “through”, and “over,” we showcase why the idea of conflict in the Arctic persists but why this does not necessarily counter an ongoing reality of regional cooperation and stability.



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