Arctic Risks Loom Large as Blinken Tours NATO’s North
As polar ice melts, Russia, already a major Arctic power, wants to make the region its own. China has ambitions for a “Polar Silk Road.” And NATO is embracing Finland — and Sweden too, Washington hopes — giving the alliance new reach in the Far North.
Climate change is accelerating and amplifying competition in the Arctic as never before, opening the region to greater commercial and strategic jostling just at a moment when Russia, China and the West are all seeking to expand their military presence there.
The rising importance of the region is underscored by the travels of Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, who will attend an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Norway on Thursday.
Mr. Blinken is making a point of visiting Sweden and Finland as well, meeting the leaders of all three countries as they press Turkey to ratify Sweden’s quick entry into NATO. He is scheduled to deliver a major speech on Russia, Ukraine and NATO on Friday in Helsinki, the capital of NATO’s newest member.
For a long time, countries were reluctant to discuss the Arctic as a…