Destabilization of the Arctic


  • Adele Buckley Canadian Pugwash Group


Arctic cooperation, NATO, Arctic governance, Russian military, Unites States military


The Arctic region is warming four times faster than the rest of the planet, with the inevitable result that the economy, natural resources, ocean and land sustenance and all human security factors now require rapid adjustment by both government and population. The circumpolar nations have taken pride in an era of peaceful cooperation. Working together for the common good is a deliberate choice of the circumpolar nations but also a necessity because of the extremely harsh climate that prevails in the Arctic lands and waters. Over the past decade Russia has developed many military bases, extended over the whole of its lengthy northern seacoast. The Arctic is a major economic base for Russia. Undersea, the submarine patrols of the Cold War, by both Russia and the United States, had been drastically reduced. Now military exercises in and near the Arctic are extensive; Chinese military vessels have entered the North Pacific. While military resources of individual countries have occasionally entered the Arctic area, there formerly was genuine support for the ideal of a demilitarized Arctic.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a clear indication that Russia is unpredictable and aggressive. Russia could choose aggressive action in the Arctic. The entire Arctic region is thus destabilized while it waits for the future to unfold. This is a brief review of the current situation of Arctic organizations and countries that intend to benefit by the opening of the Arctic. The composite situation provides a way to discern the ongoing destabilization of the Arctic

Author Biography

Adele Buckley, Canadian Pugwash Group

Adele Buckley is Canadian Pugwash past Chair; Pugwash Council; M.Sc.,Ph.D., D.Sc.(hon); physicist, engineer and environmental scientist.