GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Deep Dive Debrief: Strategic Stability and Competition in the Arctic


The Arctic is growing in geostrategic importance and potentially becoming yet another zone for strategic competition, as this previously impenetrable territory becomes increasingly accessible to navigation and exploitation. The region is resource rich: it is estimated to contain 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of its natural gas reserves.1 Diminishing sea ice coverage is opening travel routes that can significantly shorten travel times between Europe and Asia. Traditionally, the Arctic states have relied on cooperative governance to manage competing interests in the region. However, as Arctic temperatures increase, new economic, scientific, maritime, and political opportunities are raising the question of whether the region will become more militarized and further engage competitive dynamics between the United States, China, and Russia.