Arctic as a New Playground for Great Power Competition: The Russia–China–United States Triangle
The role and place of the Arctic in the international relations agenda is changing and growing rapidly. From the periphery of international relations and an area of low politics, it is becoming one of the central regions of great power competition, where the three major powers of contemporary international system—the United States, China and Russia—face each other. The basic reason behind the Arctic’s growing international centrality is the coincidence of its profound transformation, caused by the climate change, with the recent shift of US–Russia and US–China relations toward systemic confrontation. As a result, the Arctic might become one of the central regions of a much less orderly new great power confrontation. against the background of the US confrontation with Russia and China, as well as a more active foreign policy of Beijing, “opening” of the Arctic from ice and in terms of economic and transport opportunities result in a “spillover” of great power rivalry into the region. This spillover, in its turn, triggers new militarization of the region and a more intense international competition in the Arctic as a whole, which increases the risks of inadvertent military conflict and jeopardizes economic development.