Sweden and Finland Give NATO/US Their Arctic Opportunity

Bloomberg reports as if Sweden’s accession has already taken place. It hasn’t. There are plenty of assumptions made throughout the article.

As stated her on the 11th of July



I’ve run out of synonyms for meaningless futility.”

Trudeau is going to double troops in Lithuania.
We’re seeing preps for control of the Arctic

The battle for control of the Arctic has been ongoing for quite some time now- There are reports over at the old site on this very subject..

Bloomberg via

In the wake of Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the alliance can take a well-deserved victory lap. I commanded troops from both nations in Afghanistan, and Swedish forces in the Libyan campaign of 2011. The countries have professional and motivated personnel equipped with superb technology systems, from advanced fighter jets to stealthy naval corvettes.

This spells trouble for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military, already much depleted by its misadventure in Ukraine. Both new members have painful historical experiences with Russia. Finland comes with 800 miles of NATO border the Russians will have to plan to defend. If Putin were to invade Estonia, for example, he would now be vulnerable to being flanked through previously neutral Finland, seriously complicating his military calculus.

One aspect of the Sweden-Finland accession gaining little geopolitical attention — when all is focused on Ukraine — is how they will add to NATO’s strength in the Arctic. When I visited the Nordic states a decade ago as the alliance’s supreme allied commander, their defense chiefs gave me a demonstration of their winter capabilities — their mastery at operating in what our Canadian allies call the High North, above the Arctic circle. I came away deeply impressed.

So, given the new members, what would a coherent NATO strategy for the increasingly important Arctic look like?

Step back and look at the geography. The top of the world is a geopolitical Thunderdome, with the prize of the Arctic Ocean at the center. As global warming removes more and more of the ice cover, access to vital shipping routes and hydrocarbons — oil and gas — will be increasingly crucial for the nations on the front porch of the Arctic Sea.

Before Sweden and Finland, five such countries were already NATO allies: Canada, Denmark (by virtue of Greenland), Iceland, Norway and the US. The two new allies, despite lacking ocean coastlines, are considered Arctic nations. About 15% of Sweden and a third of Finland are within the Arctic Circle: the region known as Lapland. Seven NATO allies now face Russia across the Arctic Ocean.

Polar Positioning
Often thought of as a neutral zone, the Arctic is actually ringed with military installations keeping a watchful eye on the region

Check the image at link

Before his invasion of Ukraine, Putin was increasing the Arctic capability of Russia’s military. More troops, bases and ships were added within the Arctic circle. Given the immense losses he has suffered in Ukraine, this effort will likely slow, giving NATO leverage and an opportunity. The alliance should form a smaller “Arctic Coalition” within NATO to focus in increasing its defensive capability to the north.

This coalition should include a well-staffed center devoted to study and analysis of defensive activities in the harsh conditions. Logically and symbolically, this should be based in the territory of one of the two new allies.


The alliance should also develop a detailed defensive plan for responding to Russian activities in the north. NATO has elaborate defensive plans for dealing with attacks by Russia against the Baltic nations, Turkey and Black Sea countries — it needs a similar war plan for the High North, to be rigorously tested in tabletop exercises and real-world operations.

NATO can also increase its routine surveillance and patrol activities in the region. This should include regular under-ice nuclear submarine patrols by the US and UK; more satellite time devoted to surveilling the polar region; increased overflight by long-range maritime patrol aircraft operating out of Iceland, Canada and Sweden; and ground-based, long-dwell radar systems on Greenland and other northern locations.

Finally, NATO should conduct regular, large-scale combat exercises under realistic conditions. Warfighting is very different at 50 F below freezing. Every relevant NATO combat system — from missiles to rifles to radars to warships — should be evaluated for its efficacy

Arctic conditions

There is a diplomatic aspect to NATO’s role in the region as well. The international organization known as the Arctic Council includes all seven NATO members and Russia, as well as observer nations including China. It has provided a forum for planning for shared use of international waters and airspace — a forum where disputes can be heard and compromises reached. Despite immense differences over Ukraine, NATO and Russia must seek to avoid a war at the top of the world. The Arctic Council, like the effective Cold War arms-control agreements, can be part of a diplomatic track to address non-Ukrainian issues.

Adding Sweden and Finland is a very positive step for NATO for many reasons — geography, military capability, advanced technology, European unity. But it also signals much more capability to operate in the Arctic. The alliance should think carefully and act swiftly to capitalize on this northern windfall while Russia’s attention is elsewhere.

Ukraine is being hung out to dry. Zelensky must be bitter. Hence his behaviour at the NATO summit. He allowed for the Ukrainian people to be used and abused.

7 replies on “Sweden and Finland Give NATO/US Their Arctic Opportunity”

Oh my. That Bloomberg article is a propaganda exercise in wishful thinking. I couldn’t see the author (paywall) but it sounds like a military man impressed by his ability to read a map.
Where is any evidence that Russia is seeking any aggressive encroachment on NATO spheres of influence in the Arctic ?
There are very little offensive or defensive capabilities in the Arctic on behalf of NATO or Russia. North American defense infrastructure is based on the DEW line radar installations constructed in the 1950’s. NATO ‘winter exercises’ are minuscule and limited to problematic weekend camp-outs.
As to my country, Canada’s submarine and ice breaker ‘fleets’ are woefully inadequate and, in the arctic, more dangerous to their crews than to any potential enemies. In our great north land of pristine lakes and rivers Canada cannot even provide fresh drinking water wells to remote northern indigenous settlements.
As a ‘free’ electorate we must avoid any grandiose delusional ’empire-think’ diatribes from military analysts who are solely motivated by the desire for increased military entanglement and expenditure.

It’s a military man!

“I commanded troops from both nations in Afghanistan, and Swedish forces in the Libyan campaign of 2011”

He commanded Norwegian and Swedish forces previously, so he’s definitely NATO- and they destroyed Libya back in 2011.

Much of the article is honking of one’s own horn, but, NATO does have these designs on the Arctic. And surely Russia knows this (as does China)

Canada’s control of the Arctic area (it being the territory of) is why the US supports our NATO partnership so very much.
Saw an article chastising Canada about its NATO spending- Canada freeloads off of the US? I, for one, don’t care. The US gains invaluable access to the Arctic and other regions of Canada, so they can be the empire they are- Empire has costs- Canada is at best a conveniently located territory for the US. The US wishes to be an empire then it can bear the costs of that mission/goal/delusion.

Have you ever seen the Russian icebreakers and nuclear subs they run through their portion of the Arctic? Probably you have. I mean they are a sight to behold- behemoths.
And yes a military man is going to advocate for war- It’s what they do. It’s all they know.

Meanwhile Ukraine is getting raked over the coals and Zelensky has to be feeling the fool- from being celebrated to being pushed aside.
Where did he lead his country and his people?
If I was him, I’d be thinking hard about a different course of action. And, quick.

If Zelensky ever wants to retire to one of his ocean front villas he better think of negotiating seriously and soon.
What’s often forgotten in all this talk of NATO’s desires are Russia’s clearly stated war aims for the Ukraine… demilitarization …denazification …neutrality … no US missiles on the vulnerable border.
We better start taking heed.

Hey Mark
I saw Macgregor made a comment about Zelensky having a potential Mussolini moment in Ukraine. Dima reported something about Zelensky being advised to stop the offensive and him saying it had to go on in order to garner additional western funding- Lost cause that man, lost cause.

Hi Penny,
I wonder if Zelensky will run into a ‘Mussolini moment ‘
( local mob revenge retribution ) or more of a ‘ Gaddafi moment ‘ ( CIA / MI6 orchestrated photo op ) which might be resorted to if he continues to go off script. Let’s just hope he and Kiev don’t go up in a ‘ Hiroshima moment. ‘

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