What Happened: The U.S. Navy is planning to dispatch a warship to the Arctic to conduct freedom of navigation operations, The Independent reported Jan. 14.
Why It Matters: The deployment of a U.S. warship stakes Washington's claims in the Arctic as it competes with Russia, China, Canada and Northern European countries for influence in the region. Russia, in particular, has been devoting considerable attention to the Arctic, enhancing its infrastructure and military presence.
Background: The Arctic is of growing geopolitical importance, as it contains roughly 30 percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13 percent of its oil deposits. At the same time, potential shipping routes will become available amid receding ice levels, making control of the Arctic a significant geopolitical imperative.
- Why China Wants to Expand Its Arctic Footprint (Dec. 24, 2018)
- France, Russia: New Tanker Opens Northern Shipping Route (Aug. 18, 2017)
- Russia in the Arctic: A Different Kind of Military Presence (Nov. 11, 2015)
- The U.S. Stakes Its Claim in the Arctic Frontier (Sept. 4, 2015)