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Reintroducing the Great Power Gaze: The Case for a Baltic-Arctic Security Complex
Swedish Defence University, Department of Military Studies, Joint Warfare Division, Joint Operations Section.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8073-5581
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Political Science Section, Sektionen för säkerhet.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3218-5647
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Baltic Sea and the Arctic have once again become scenes for geostrategic great power competition, influencing regional economic, military and environmental security. Here, international relationships span a spectrum from friendship to fear. We observe that a host of different units of analysis currently compete for our attention in this part of Europe. But while “Scandinavia”, “the Nordic area”, “the Baltic Sea region”, “the High North” and “the Arctic” help focus strategic analysis on important and sometimes overlapping components of this area, security complex theory prescribes that we must adopt a broader, multi-layered view in order to understand how great and small power interests play out in this part of the world today. Such analysis must consider China’s global role, NATO’s increasingly elaborate military planning and the Russian Federation’s perception of vulnerabilities and opportunities, in an area that stretches from the Suwalki gap in East-Central Europe to the Barents Sea. In addition, security complex analysis benefits from including the perspectives of small states that control key territories – such as resource-rich continental shelves and exclusive economic zones – and from taking relevant international bodies into account as enabling and constraining factors. As part of a larger project, this paper reviews several sets of open source documents indicative of the incentive structure of such key players, published over the past five years. We delve into the political, economic and military dimensions of aims and actions by three categories of actors, namely: i) China, Russia, the United States; ii) Denmark, Norway; Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Canada; and iii) the EU, NATO and the Arctic Council. We conclude that, while smaller units of analysis still make sense for limited research purposes, the concept of a Baltic-Arctic security complex is necessary for meaningful strategic analysis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
regional security, regional security complex theory, Arctic, Baltic Sea, great powers, small states
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot strategi och säkerhetspolitik; Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-8881OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-8881DiVA, id: diva2:1380936
Conference
44th British International Studies Association (BISA) Annual Conference, 12-14 June 2019, London, England
Available from: 2019-12-19 Created: 2019-12-19 Last updated: 2020-01-17Bibliographically approved

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Lundqvist, StefanEngelbrekt, Kjell

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