The strategic value of the Arctic region is increasing as sea ice diminishes and previously inaccessible regions become open for exploration and exploitation.
The Arctic has the potential to provide various natural riches and economic benefits—such as minerals, hydrocarbons, fisheries, and shorter shipping routes—alongside opportunities to strengthen international cooperation. However, the wealth of the region brings with it a potential threat to international stability. The mix of countries and international organizations with growing interests in the Arctic represent a diverse subset of the international community, stretching from Europe to the Far East. Furthermore, it brings a new dimension of confrontation to historical adversaries. For instance, four of five Arctic Ocean littoral states are members of NATO—and the fifth is Russia.