Russia, a nation with the largest Arctic land area and coastline, has long had strategic interests in the Arctic region. The interests were generally security related with the Russian Navy needing access to deep water, but also commerce needing access to Northern ports. Recently, however, Russia has become increasingly assertive in the Arctic, projecting power in a way that concerns Nordic and Baltic states in the west and Alaska and users of Arctic and Pacific sea-lanes to the East. The nation is building more Arctic bases and facilities, and deploying more and more military vessels and personnel.
China, which is investing in regional economies globally, calls itself a “near-Arctic” state. That nation is buying Northern energy and minerals and fish, investing in projects to harvest those resources, building its Arctic shipping and icebreaker capacity. As the Arctic ice cap shrinks, the Arctic Ocean becomes a more accessible trade route as well as a potential venue for naval conflict.
With the above as background, one might ask why the United States has not expanded its presence in the Arctic, even though it has security and resource interests in the region and potential benefits from new shipping routes.
Mr. Treadwell will discuss the current international security environment in the Arctic, why and how the Russians and Chinese are engaging there, the potential for maritime trade routes, the potential for resource exploitation, security issues that might arise in the Arctic, the implications for the United States and her allies, and what the United States could and should be doing moving forward.