New Wine in Old Wine Skins? On the Biden Administrations Arctic Strategy

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-7-63-73
V. Konyshev,
St. Petersburg State University, 7-9, Universitetskaya Nab., St. Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation.
A. Sergunin,
St. Petersburg State University, 7-9, Universitetskaya Nab., St. Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation;
Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, 23, Gagarin Prosp., Nizhny Novgorod, 603020, Russian Federation.

Received 27.02.2023. Revised 10.04.2023. Accepted 28.04.2023.

Acknowledgments. The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation. Project no. 22-28-01287.

Abstract. The article examines the new U. S. Arctic strategy adopted by Joseph Biden’s administration in October 2022. The new strategy develops the policies of both Barack Obama and Donald Trump. This continuity is particularly relevant to such issues as the promotion of the United States’ national interests in the Arctic, strengthening cooperation with NATO allies, increasing the U.S. military presence in the region, promoting the concept of Alaska’s sustainable development, developing dialogue and cooperation with the indigenous population of Alaska. However, the document also has a number of significant differences from previous strategies. The Strategy‑2022 pays much more attention to the problem of climate change. Under Obama, the development of climate action strategies was still in its initial stage, under Trump it was almost completely ignored, but for the Biden administration it has become a priority again. The Strategy‑2022 differs greatly from the Strategy‑2013 in its confrontational spirit, and, continuing the traditions of the Trump administration, it sees the Arctic as a region of likely conflicts, not peace and cooperation. Moreover, it has strengthened Trump’s policy of confrontation with Russia and China in this region. Washington’s military construction plans, the intensification of exercises in the areas adjacent to the Russian Federation, the launch of the process of including Sweden and Finland in NATO creates prerequisites for a smooth inclusion of the Arctic in the NATO area of responsibility. This significantly increases Russia’s military vulnerability in the northern and northwestern strategic directions. The Strategy‑2022 has a certain inconsistency. On the one hand, the document declares the U.S. commitment to international cooperation in the Arctic. On the other hand, it obviously contains hegemonic aspirations in the region. Washington’s position on the resumption of cooperation with Russia in international institutions, including the Arctic Council, remains uncertain. In fact, the Arctic becomes one of new fronts of the long-term competition between the United States and Russia. Such a turn creates concerns not only for Russia, but also for other nations who would like to see the Arctic peaceful, safe and prosperous.

Keywords: the Arctic, the U.S. strategy, J. Biden, security, sustainable development, climate change


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For citation:
Konyshev V., Sergunin A. New Wine in Old Wine Skins? On the Biden Administrations Arctic Strategy. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 7, pp. 63-73. EDN: JTWDXZ

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