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What Exactly is the PRC up to in the Artic?

Climate change and climate-induced emergencies and crises are also creating newly contested, geopolitical arenas.  In February 2021, OODA CTO Bob Gourley reported on the Blueprint for a Blue Ocean:

“In January 2021, the Department of Navy released their Strategic Blueprint for a Blue Arctic.  The document outlines their plan to prepare for an increasingly available and navigable Arctic Region.  Signed by the Chief of Naval Operations, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, it looks forward twenty years and envisions the requirements to protect American interests in the Arctic.

The Arctic Region has one of the world’s smallest oceans, but because of where it is situated, it has the potential for connecting nearly 75% of the world’s population.  When you consider that 90% of all trade travels across the world’s oceans, this can be either a tremendous opportunity or an emerging vulnerability.  Additionally, the Arctic is home to 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves, 13% of the global conventional oil reserves, and one trillion dollars’ worth of rare earth minerals. And tons of FISH! There is a lot at stake here.

Russia is WAY ahead, with decades of experience in this environment.  They are investing heavily in their northern flank through modernization and infrastructure improvements.  China considers the Arctic a critical link in its One Belt One Road initiative and is building polar-capable cargo vessels, liquefied natural gas tankers, and nuclear-powered icebreakers. Both China and Russia have increased their military activity in the region and have made numerous attempts to alter the existing Arctic governance.”

The recently released Exploring the Relationship between China’s Investment in the Arctic and Its National Strategy by CNA provides a federally mandated update on Chinese activities in the arctic and the “Chinese Dream.”

Featured Image Source:  Arctic Strategy and Operations | CNA

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.