October 21, 2022

The Arctic Ice between Russia and the US Is Melting. What’s at Stake at the Top of the World?

Featuring Jim Townsend

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Journalist Sherryn Groch

Some Indigenous nations tell stories of the northern lights as torches guiding warriors to victory. Today experts say the Arctic is increasingly becoming a theatre of conflict again. Ex-Pentagon official Jim Townsend recalls travelling north after the Cold War to dismantle many of the Allies’ military bases and air defence systems there. “Now we’re going back,” he says. “Things are heating up again.”

In more ways than one. The shockwaves from the war in Ukraine have been felt around the world, but particularly in the Arctic where climate change is wreaking its most dramatic changes yet – warping roads, unearthing ancient corpses and toppling whole mountains of ice. As the frozen wilderness melts, new access for shipping and resource extraction is opening too – along with new avenues of attack. Among states now looking to the high north is China, with serious ambitions to build a Polar Silk Road (and icebreaker fleet) of its own.

Read the full story and more from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Authors

  • Jim Townsend

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    James Joye Townsend Jr. is an adjunct senior fellow in the CNAS Transatlantic Security Program. After eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European ...