Nordic Security Perspectives in the Arctic
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Arctic security is increasingly recognized as an important topic. As relations between NATO and Russia have deteriorated, the strategic importance of the Arctic and the North Atlantic has been underscored.
Norway – which shares a border and maritime boundary with Russia in the north – faces a more challenging security environment, with an increase in Russian military activity and modernized capabilities. Allied activity, presence, and exercises closely coordinated are ever more important. The Kingdom of Denmark is aware of great power competition between the United States and China, as well as security concerns for NATO. At the same time, both Norway and the Kingdom of Denmark have a range of foreign and domestic policy concerns as they safeguard their Arctic maritime and land domains, while working to ensure ”High North, low tension.”
Please join the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute, Fulbright Arctic Initiative, and Fridtjof Nansen Institute for a discussion about these common concerns and challenges—with particular focus on how these two Nordic countries perceive and approach security in the Arctic and how they can work closer together with stakeholders in the United States to achieve their common goals.
“We are NATO’s ears and eyes in the North – we keep an eye on what’s going on there. What we have observed over the last years is that Russia has increased its military capabilities in the Arctic as well as its civilian infrastructure and dual use infrastructure. Norway has been a frontrunner for strengthening NATO’s defense and deterrence in the North.” – Ambassador Anniken Ramberg Krutnes
“Now is the time to have strategic patience and see how the other global powers will act [for us] to find our way forward…The conclusion we have to come to is that we cannot be naïve anymore, we have to be mindful of what’s going on and very mindful of what’s going on the Arctic.” — Ambassador Lone Dencker Wisborg
“The government that took office six months ago in Norway talked about the High North, or Norwegian part of the Arctic, as “our most important peace project.” This is more relevant than ever. The end goal of Norway is to, yes, deter Russia from aggressive actions in the Barents Sea and the North Atlantic, but the long-term end goal is peace, stability, and status quo.” — Dr. Andreas Østhagen
“There’s a very serious challenge in regard to when we talk about the future of the Arctic in this terrible situation of conflict. Who do we invite to the table? Who do we invite to speak? And here the Government of Greenland is a very important voice.” — Sara Olsvig
“A paradoxical consequence of the Russian invasion in Ukraine is that it is completely new and is a case example what a crisis is – new things are possible – such as Sweden and Finland applying for NATO membership. But at the same time, it is also a continuation or acceleration of existing trends. From a hard security perspective in the Arctic, this is a continuation or intensification of an already existing focus on military balancing in the Arctic.” — Kristian Søby Kristensen
Dr. Andreas Østhagen
Ph.D.-fellow Sara Olsvig
Dr. Kristian Søby Kristensen
Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders. Read more
Global Europe Program
The Global Europe Program addresses vital issues affecting the European continent, U.S.-European relations, and Europe’s ties with the rest of the world. We investigate European approaches to critical global issues: digital transformation, climate, migration, global governance. We also examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our program activities cover a wide range of topics, from the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE to European energy security, trade disputes, challenges to democracy, and counter-terrorism. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media. Read more
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