“Conflict-Free Arctic”: Pro et Contra
© Ekaterina O. LABETSKAYA, 2021
Analyzing the increasing tension in the world and the Trans-Arctic (the transnational political space of the Arctic), the author emphasizes the presence of a “dormant conflict gene” in the region and the need for Russia to take it into account when implementing its chairmanship in the Arctic Council (2021-2023). Not accepting the opinions that existed over the past decade about the Arctic as a “conflict-free region”’, the author identifies a range of threats fraught with the awakening of the “conflict gene”. Since the Trans-Arctic is a subsystem of global interstate relations with their crises and conflicts, the author considers the laws of its development and functioning through the foreign policy activities of states, which crucially determine whether the possibility of conflict will be realized or not.
The increased military and strategic attention to the region by the USA and NATO, the revision of the regional strategies by other Arctic countries, as well as the expanding presence of non-regional countries in the Arctic, together reflect the growing conflict potential of the Trans-Arctic. The author explains why saying that the region in the XXI century remains free from military confrontation means wishful thinking. Criticizing the view of the Arctic through “rose-colored glasses” that soften the landscape of the hybrid war platz in the Arctic, the author recalls her interviews with the commander-in-Chief of the Joint Armed Forces of the Warsaw Pact Member States, Marshal of the Soviet Union Viktor G. Kulikov.
Analyzing the “dormant conflict gene” in the Arctic, it is important to remember that the Trans-Arctic is a virtual bond of two other transnational political spaces, known as Trans-Atlantic, Trans-Pacific. Special attention is paid to the “dormant conflict gene” in the Trans-Arctic in the context of Washington-led NATO, which in 2009 declared the Arctic a strategically important region, requiring a rethinking of NATO's military doctrine, taking into account the geopolitical realities of the XXI century.
The paper uses the case-study methodology, a systematic approach, discourse analysis, the author's 15-year journalistic baggage of VIP interviews and her own observations on the “fields” of international forums.
Labetskaya E. “Conflict-Free Arctic”: Pro et Contra. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2021, no 4, pp. 34-46. https://doi.org/10.20542/afij-2021-4-34-46