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The Arctic policies of Canada and the United States: domestic motives and international context
Kristofer Bergh
SIPRI Insights on Peace and Security no. 2012/1

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The melting polar ice creates a fundamentally new geopolitical situation in the Arctic that warrants attention at both national and international levels. The ability and willingness of Canada and the United States to address the mix of social, economic and military challenges facing the region will be dependent on a range of domestic conditions and processes. While the USA is just waking up to these changes, Canada has made the Arctic a top political priority.

This paper explores the domestic motives for the Arctic policies of Canada and the USA and their impacts on the two countries’ foreign policies. It describes the Arctic foreign policies of the two states, outlines the complex relationship between domestic politics and Arctic foreign policy in each country and discusses the ways in which the two countries' Arctic policies interact in the international political and diplomatic arenas.


I. Introduction
II. Official policies and statements on the Arctic
III. Arctic policies and politics in practice: the domestic context
IV. Arctic policies and politics in practice: the international context
V. Conclusions

About the author

Kristofer Bergh (Sweden) is a Researcher with the SIPRI Armed Conflict and Conflict Management Programme, where he works on the Arctic Futures project. He holds a master’s degree in social sciences with a major in peace and conflict studies from Uppsala University.

Publisher: SIPRI
20 pp.
July 2012


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