NATO strategic response to Ukraine's annexation by the Russian Federation in March 2014 is currently focused on the forward defense of the Baltic countries, which are increasingly important in Western geostrategic planning and which control from Europe the Arctic zone, the area in which Russia can hit the US interest more easily.
The Power of Siberia pipeline, a joint Russian and Chinese venture in which Russia has agreed to provide $400 billion of natural gas (LNG) to China over the course of 30 years, presents a complex vector of potential conflict. Arctic ice melt, energy resource shortage, and increasing geopolitical tensions are all implicated. The complex nature of these issues and the uncertainty regarding their eventual manifestation places the pipeline in the realm of emergent conflict.
Despite many predictions to the contrary, the Arctic has emerged today as a zone of cooperation. At the core of regional stability and security is an emerging architecture of cooperation focused on the Arctic Council.
With the rapid melting of ice in the Arctic region, the long-isolated region is becoming a more accessible zone for commercial fishing, fresh water, minerals, coal, iron, copper, oil, gas, and shipping. Thus, the region is increasingly catching the world powers’ attention.
The Power of Siberia pipeline is particularly well-suited to exploring the convergence of energy resource scarcity and climate change and that convergence’s impact on international relations and potential conflict.
The policy of the United States concerning climate change in the Arctic has been and is one that is ever-changing. Since 2009 there have been adaptations to the policy in order to face the concerns of today while anticipating the challenges of tomorrow.
Russia is not a littoral nation of just one great body of water in the Caspian. It also has its entire northern expanse along the Arctic Circle. In August 2007, the Russian expedition Arktika 2007 planted a titanium pole with the Russian flag at the bottom of the North Pole seabed in an effort to project Russian power.
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