The Arctic: a Challenge to the Standard View


  • Niklas Granholm

Publish date: 2016-05-30

Report number: FOI-R--4268--SE

Pages: 37

Written in: Swedish


  • Arctic
  • USA
  • Russia
  • Greenland
  • Iceland
  • High North
  • geostrategy
  • shipping
  • climate change
  • military strategy
  • energy
  • oil
  • IPCC
  • missile defence
  • Arctic Council
  • NATO.


A standard view of the Arctic region is established since a few years back. The main driving force towards a new Arctic is climate change. The geopolitical factors affecting the Arctic are also under change and leads to a number of follow-oneffects. These, in turn, develop according to their own speed and inner logic. The outcome for the Arctic region, taken as a whole, is therefore hard to foresee. The states in the Arctic region have acted to address these changes with inter-state cooperative measures in a great number of areas. The Arctic region has until recently been characterized as a region of inter-state cooperation, exchange and increased know-how. Through research and studies as well as confidence building measures in order to keep the region stable. The main purpose of this study is to describe some central elements of the standard view of the Arctic and analyse some of the challenges. This leads to a discussion on how Sweden could choose to develop its policies for the emerging new Arctic. Three factors influencing the Arctic region have drastically changed: The fall in oil prices, Russia's more aggressive and revisionist policies, and that the United States has given the Arctic a higher priority on its policy agenda. These three changes challenge the standard view of the Arctic region. In addition, Sweden's northwestern and northern neighbourhood - Greenland, Iceland and the High North - is as a result also more important than hitherto.