U.S. to open diplomatic mission in the Arctic

The decision seeks to strengthen U.S. influence in a territory that is increasingly open to dispute.

The U.S. Government plans to set up its first diplomatic delegation inside the Arctic Circle in the near future. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the announcement during his visit to Oslo, Norway at a NATO summit. The decision was announced at a time when the Arctic region is gaining increasing geopolitical relevance for the interests of both Russia and the United States.

According to what was told to the media at the time, the U.S. diplomatic delegation will be located in the city of Tromsoe, which has a population of 95,000 and is also the most populated city in The Norwegian Lapland. Only one diplomat will be present. According to the Secretary of State, it will be the northernmost diplomatic post in the entire U.S. administration.

According to Secretary of State Blinken, the U.S. representative will have the title of consul, will have a facility and will ensure the U.S. presence in the region.

Blinken wanted to emphasize the positive nature of the U.S. presence in the Arctic. "We are here to work with like-minded allies to advance our vision of a peaceful, stable and cooperative Arctic," said the Secretary of State, who advanced an agenda focused on ecology, environmental sustainability, peace and respect for indigenous cultures.

Future conflict scenario

However, one can guess that the U.S. strategy seeks to curb Russian expansion in an increasingly navigable region. According to Melissa Dalton, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, "the Pentagon is in the process of updating its strategy in the region." In fact, the Department of Defense reactivated some units that went dormant after the end of the Cold War. One of them is the 11th Parachute Division, known as the "Arctic Airborne." It specializes in arctic combat and is highly mobile.

Russia has also considerably increased its presence in the Arctic in recent years. It is moving more and more troops to its northernmost regions, even despite the war in Ukraine. It is also boosting the production of its new Arctic exploration vessels and is seeking China's support to gain influence in the region, which has rich hydrocarbon deposits. At the end of April, Russia and China came to an agreement in the Arctic city of Murmansk to implement new maritime legislation to open up to Beijing.

Soon, Norway, a U.S. ally and founding member of NATO, will take over the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental organization composed of nations with territories within the Arctic Circle. Russia held its chairmanship for the past two years.