January 13, 2021

The Battle for the Arctic

Mead Treadwell

Holding more than 13% of the world’s crude oil and 30% of its natural gas, the Artic is becoming a hot zone for international dispute. Hot, here, has more than one meaning—as global warming continues to put indigenous people and animals at risk, while the opening of new waterways welcomes more pollutants and activity due North by various capitalist and state ventures. Territorial disputes for land, sea, and continental shelf rights strain tensions for nations sharing the North. A drastically changing environment sets the backdrop for this new era of competition in this semi-charted land.


Mead Treadwell is the former lieutenant State Governor of Alaska and the Former Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Committee. He emphasizes the importance of U. S’s involvement in the Arctic. There are only 8 nations that are members of the Arctic Council including: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States, and each of these nations own some form of territory in the Arctic region. In comparison to Russia, the United States is very behind in terms of policy and initiative in the region which Mead thinks is detrimental to U.S. security. There are many potential triggers in the Arctic that could bring us to the brink of a hot conflict such as, territorial disputes, resource conflict, denial of access, or even as a mode of expedited transportation for a separate conflict. He believes that it is crucial for the United States to take a more active role in the Arctic because of the security implications at hand.

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