The end of American exceptionalism in the High North: Foreign Policy

By Andrew Blackman - June 10, 2024
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United States Coast Guard Cutters Dallas and Gallatin. Source: NOAA)

The Arctic has become a zone of geopolitical competition, with countries like Russia, China, India and Turkey expanding their influence. The U.S., once a dominant force in the region, is now trying to catch up. But as Foreign Policy reports, it faces a number of challenges.

  • Emblematic of the U.S.’s neglect is the USCGC Stratton, a national security vessel operating in the Arctic due to a shortage of icebreaker ships. The vessel is having to contend with thin ice and limited resources, reflecting broader U.S. struggles in maintaining a presence in the Arctic.
  • Historically, the U.S. invested heavily in Arctic infrastructure and defense. However, nterest waned after the Cold War. The country’s renewed focus on the region has led to some strategic moves, though systemic issues and under-resourcing remain significant obstacles.
  • Alaskan communities, such as Unalaska, feel marginalized by federal neglect, which hampers potential economic and green energy development. Recent efforts indicate that Washington is slowly beginning to engage with the region again, but much progress is still needed.