Policy makers were equally busy. The US announced that it would be withdrawing 700 American troops deployed in Norway. Working to build its own Arctic capacities, Moscow will surely appreciate the transfer of the US soldiers to the faraway Pacific and South China Sea. Simultaneously, the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated key Arctic economic sectors. Today the prospect of an Arctic criss-crossed by cruise ships and oil tankers seems remote.
The Arctic looms in the popular consciousness as a potential new theatre of conflict mong NATO, Russia and China or a resource Klondike. But the real risk is that the consuming politics of great power rivalry will deflect attention from the real progress of diplomacy and the everyday work of Arctic governance. This on-going neglect is often accompanied by sporadic and overzealous action, exemplified by recent symbolic gestures, such as President Trump’s offer to purchase Greenland and high-profile military displays.
In fact, the Arctic region has a remarkable track record of substantive cooperation. Amidst the fearful consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the bluster of US-China-Russia rivalries, slow-moving and quiet efforts are producing dividends that great powers and their smaller allies all need to encourage.
Read the full article in High North News.