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Breaking the Ice: Potential U.S.-Russian Maritime Conflict in the Arctic

Breaking the Ice: Potential U.S.-Russian Maritime Conflict in the Arctic published on

Authored by Naval Postgraduate School

While war in the Arctic appears unlikely at present, this thesis analyzes why an escalation of territorial and resource disputes in the Arctic up to and including the use of force cannot and should not be ruled out. This thesis examines the political, economic, and military interests of the main Arctic powers-Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States-to set the scene for an assessment of the factors that could make for cooperation or conflict. Advocates of a “Pax Arctica” involving regional cooperation underrate the more pragmatic and competitive factors underlying international relations and the actual limits of international institutions and economic interdependence in restraining behavior in an anarchic system. The potential for U.S.-Russian maritime conflict in the region is genuine. Based on the methodology established for this analysis, it can be reasonably assessed that conflict in the Arctic is likely. No time horizon can be determined, however, because much depends on decisions made (or not made) by these same Arctic powers in the coming decades.

Publication Date:
Jan 16 2015
1507579292 / 9781507579299
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
Related Categories:
Political Science / Political Freedom & Security / International Secur


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