German and Norwegian Perspectives on Euro-Atlantic Security
Chapter 5: An Arctic Home? The Arctic Policies of Norway and Russia
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An Arctic Home?The Arctic Policies of Norway and Russia
The Arctic’s significance in international affairs is undisputed, but not a novelty. As Oran R. Young observed in 1989: “many observers simply assume that the next two or three decades will witness a rapid growth in Arctic shipping”.1 Young predicted this with accuracy. Since the Russian “flag-planting” act in 2007, the world has seen steady growth of transit shipping through the Northern Sea Route (NSR). From 2001 and onwards, Arctic states have adopted policy strategies to map the emerging legal space in the Arctic, with Russia presenting its extensive claim to the Arctic that year. Believed to contain about 25 percent of the world’s undiscovered hydrocarbon resources, the Arctic is a region for political framing and political strategies, and hence a “geopolitical space in the making”.2
Clearly, this development produces distinct challenges for international relations. The predominant “more of everything” (trade, resources, interaction, activity, climate change, etc.) scenario in the Arctic questions whether states are at all prepared to deal with the emerging and complex reality. What is certain is that the Arctic is intrinsically linked to the domestic policies of the coastal states. Most Arctic states, with the USA as a notable exception, have made the Arctic a top issue in politics. It is also reasonable to believe that Arctic policies could transform not only Arctic affairs, but also the actors. As Caitlyn Antrim observed, the opening up of...
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