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The Artic Battle

Who owns the Artic ?

Study the infographic and search the web to answer the questions.

  1. Which countries/peoples have territorial claims and why.

  2. why is there a race to the Arctic?

  3. What challenges does the region encounter ?

A new frontier

Search the web to find information about the new space or the new frontier opened up by the warming of Artic.

Can we talk about an Artic Cold War ?

Read the 2 documents below and compare their point of views by answering the questions.

1) When did the Artic become a strategic area ? Why ?

2) How has the situation evolved ?

3) What role does the army play in this area of the globe ?

Sum up the controversy over the Artic issue.

Document 1: A new Cold War in the Arctic?! The old one never ended!

by Rob Huebert

At the heart of the problem is a geographical proximity of the Soviet/Russian and American location connected by the Arctic region. This is combined with the existing weapon systems that place a premium on the Arctic as the best staging location for strikes against each other. These two key variables are the reason the Arctic became a region of overwhelming strategic importance when the United States and USSR/Russia began to challenge each other’s interest in the international system. It is not about conflict over the Arctic but rather the use of military force from the Arctic which has given the region its geopolitical importance. What now complicates the most recent version of the strategic environment of the Arctic is the entry of China as a growing peer competitor to the United States and in the longer term to Russia. While the tensions between Russia/USSR and the United States have a long history, the arrival of China as a “near-Arcticstate,” and its determination to challenge the United States’ position as the global hegemon means that there will soon be a three-way balance of power in the Arctic region replacing the historical bi-polar system making the region even more important and dangerous.

Document 2: Why the new Arctic ‘Cold War’ is a dangerous myth

By Danita Catherine Burke – The Conversation – Published: 13, December 2018

All too often the Arctic region is portrayed as an area on the verge of military crisis. This is an easy narrative to sell; it harks back to the Cold War. (…) During the height of the standoff between NATO and the USSR, the world feared a barrage of nuclear warheads streaming in from the frozen north – and this experience has imprinted on the collective imagination and created distinct ideas about the region. (…) The Cold War was a significant period in history. But catchy headlines playing off the parallels between the region and a new “cold” war are misleading. (…)

A nation’s armed forces often play a range of roles – beyond their traditional responsibilities in armed conflict. They are useful for rapid response during disasters, for example, and provide a range of security roles that don’t necessarily mean an escalation to war. They offer search and rescue (SAR) services and policing support. (…)

Climate change and technological advances have begun to open up the Arctic. And this means that more policing is required in a region that is remote and often out of reach for traditional police forces. (…) As the region’s economic activity expands, armed forces are also being asked to assist more with civilian issues. (…)

Overall, it is vital to remember that while militaries are tools of war, they are not just tools of war. They also contribute to and provide a wide range of security services. This does not mean that increased military spending and activities should not be viewed with a critical eye. Indeed, they should. But discussing “a new Cold War” is sensationalist. It detracts from the broader roles that militaries play throughout the Arctic and stokes the very tensions it warns of.