March 9, 2021
Set NATO’s sights on the High North: NATO 20/2020 podcast
Security in the Arctic is waiting on no one. NATO needs a strategy for defense and deterrence in the High North before it is outflanked.
About this episode
Sun Tzu, the Chinese military strategist from the sixth century BC, emphasized in his classic work The Art of War the importance of securing the “precipitous heights” before one’s adversary. This was due to the advantages that elevated positions afforded a defending army. There is no “higher ground” on Earth than the Arctic.
The Arctic is rapidly changing as it experiences climate change at a rate greater than twice the global average and polar sea ice recedes and thins. The first ice-free Arctic summer, under a high-emissions scenario, could occur as soon as 2042. These changes are resulting in increased human activity in the region as global actors explore opportunities to exploit its natural resources and strategic geographic location.
Watch the video
- 2:00: Jim talks about why he believes that NATO is not doing as much in the Arctic as opposed to other regions of the world
- 4:13: Marisol explains that the Alliance is behind the times when it comes to its presence in the Arctic and why NATO should be present in the region
- 7:17: Marisol also describes what is holding the Alliance back and what challenges it faces
- 13:14: Jim explains why NATO is increasing its attention on the Arctic and whether the Alliance is pursuing action that is too little, too late
- 21:09: Jim also talks about why NATO needs to reaffirm the rules-based order in the Arctic and focus on deterrence
- 26:09: Marisol describes the potential repercussions of an expanded Alliance presence in the Arctic with regard to NATO’s relations with Russia
- 29:21: Jim answers whether he thinks the Secretary General of the Alliance would support their recommendation
- 32:24: Marisol and Jim talk about China and its presence in the Arctic and how that will push NATO to also increase its presence there
Read the essay
Explore the podcast series
Related NATO 20/2020 essays
The Transatlantic Security Initiative, in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, shapes and influences the debate on the greatest security challenges facing the North Atlantic Alliance and its key partners.