Arctic: the US Lost Frontier?

As the Arctic is warming, the Chinese and Russian influence in this region is rising (Valantin, Arctic Fusion: Russia and China convergent strategies, 2014). Meanwhile, one can wonder if the US strategic influence is not waning. During the last seven years, China and Russia have developed and deployed powerful Arctic grand strategies, through political, economic, industrial, technological and military means (Ding Ying, “Realizing Chinese and Russian dreams, China and Russia are determined to promote bilateral relationship to make both countries safe, strong and prosperous“, The Beijing Review, March 28, 2013). Since the end of the nineteenth century, the USA has been a prominent Arctic power (Charles Emmerson, The future history of the Arctic, 2010). Is it still the case, and will… Read More

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Arctic China (1) – The Dragon and the Vikings

On 15 March 2013, China and Iceland signed a bilateral free trade agreement (Ministry for foreign affairs, Iceland). This agreement was signed three months before the Republic of China became a “permanent observer”of the Arctic Stephen Blank, “China’s Arctic strategy“, The Diplomat, 20 June 2013), while the “Snow Dragon”, the first Chinese icebreaker, has already made five trips in the Arctic, in 1999, 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2012, at which occasion it sailed the Northern Sea Route. This political and economic move by Beijing reveals a deep evolution of the grand strategy of the People’s Republic of China, as well as the shifting balance of power in the north-Atlantic region and in the Arctic. Over the last twenty-five years, with a… Read More

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Egypt and Climate Security

Since 2008, when massive food riots took place, followed by the “Arab spring revolution” in 2011, Egypt has become a land of political, religious and social conflicts (Krista Mahr, “Bread is life: food and protest in Egypt“, Time Magazine, January 31, 2011; Georges Corm, Le Proche-Orient éclaté, 2012), some of them between armed militant and religious factions on the one hand, the police, the military and the secret services, on the other. Meanwhile the civil society strongly emerges. Beyond spectacular events, the causes of these domestic political and religious conflicts are rooted, among other factors, into international and climate change dynamics. In effect, Egypt’s society and politics are deeply affected by the entanglement of economic, political, environmental and climate change… Read More

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Hyper Siege: Climate Change versus U.S. National Security

In a passage of the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, T.E. Lawrence, a.k.a. “Lawrence of Arabia”, recalls that, as he waged a guerrilla war in the Arabian Desert, he was looking for a way to besiege an Ottoman garrison. He then had a kind of military epiphany, understanding that he did not need to do that, because the garrison was already besieged … by the desert. All he had to do was to stay mobile. However, a siege can be a very strong position for the defendant, which, often, can be defeated only from inside, as a long military history shows since the Trojan War. One can wonder if, nowadays, the U.S. national defence and security apparatus is not in the same… Read More

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Arctic Warming and Eurasian Grand Strategies

In May 2013, several Asian countries obtained the status of “permanent observer” at the Arctic Council, the body that gathers the eight countries bordering the Arctic. These new “observers” are China, India, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan (Russia Today, Northern exposure, May 15, 2013). This rush of Asian (some of them tropical and equatorial) countries to the Arctic is one of the most important dimensions of the current global race to the Arctic region (see Valantin, “Arctic, the New great game”), triggered by the combination of the rapid warming of the North and the global competition for natural resources (Klare, The Race for what’s left, 2013). The new grand strategies ruling over this race to the Arctic, which combine national… Read More

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