The Arctic

Authored by: Robert English , Andrew Thvedt

Routledge Handbook of Russian Foreign Policy

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138690448
eBook ISBN: 9781315536934
Adobe ISBN:


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An atmosphere of intense geopolitical rivalry – and a narrative of a “massive Russian buildup” and “serious Russian threat” to the Arctic – is increasingly seen in both the general Western media and specialized foreign-policy publications. This narrative is grossly exaggerated, as it is shown that Russia actually lags behind in most measures of Arctic power-projection capability and is largely rebuilding decrepit Cold War-era infrastructure. Moreover, the alarm of an “icebreaker gap” and scenarios of potential Arctic conflict depicted in Western media and commentary are fantastic, sometimes even comical. Yet they go largely unquestioned in the contemporary climate of extreme Russophobia, raising the specter of a new and pointless yet dangerous arena of arms-racing.

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