Articles and analysis

Robin Vienna IMG 20211105 1429357 1Almost daily there are reports of the impact of climate change on Arctic sea ice, and thus the geostrategic implications of greater freedom of navigation. In a very real sense the region has become the new frontier for global competition.

As a geopolitical power, the EU has strategic and day-to-day interests, both in the European Arctic and the broader Arctic region…..The EU’s full engagement in Arctic matters is a geopolitical necessity – EU Joint Declaration on the Arctic (13th October 2021)

The European Union is renowned for grand statements which take an age to come to pass, and are often disappointing. Its latest policy pronouncements in October (see Data Source 1 at the footnote for source) – supporting a Resolution by the European Parliament in September (Data Source 2) - on the Arctic – are mainly vague, wide ranging and worthy.


But they also offer an opportunity which, if the EU deploys mechanisms already in its armoury, allow it to take significant actions which will establish it as a geopolitical actor; which will support Member States, their interests, and associated territories in the Arctic region; and which will help fulfil the commitments it is making therein to international safety, stability and sustainability.

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s200 joseph.fallon
Geopolitics can best be understood as the application of Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion to international relations. These laws "explain the relationship between a physical object [a state] and the forces acting upon it [other states]," writes Joseph E Fallon.

NATO's enlargement and Moscow's response to that enlargement in the Black Sea region is a case in point.

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Euan GrantIMG 20210712 1938206 3Writer Euan Grant has previously highlighted in Defence Viewpoints the rapidly growing activities of the Russian mercenary group - "Wagner" - in Africa, and no longer just in North Africa (Libya) where its presence in the Libyan civil war has been long documented, not least by very brave Russian and Libyan journalists. In reality, the organisation itself - and its crucially important logistical and political enablers - has been in sub Saharan Africa in various forms long before it suffered losses in Syria in early 2018. The three Russian journalists killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) in late July of the same year were investigating a well established presence in that country, not a new one.

His July 2021 article, highlighted that the group's dramatic expansion could not be explained or sustained without it being based on strong foundations in "host" countries. The article also highlighted a commonly but not universally made point, the close correlation between the force's presence and mining operations in remote regions, requiring security. Follow the helicopters.

Read Euan's update on the next page.

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