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Russia and China: Arctic Phantom Menaces

RUSI Newsbrief, 28 Sep 2011 By Matthew Willis
The excerpts of an MoD/FCO report quoted recently in the Telegraph reflect the threat-oriented posture one expects of a defence ministry, but the analysis seems rather cruder than might be expected. The report appears not to distinguish between the general effects of the familiar pan-regional trends and their probable local that is, northeastern Atlantic impacts. Policy-makers' failure to go beyond broad brushstrokes has served only to make the intrinsic novelty and uncertainty of Arctic policy-making seem inherently dangerous. The temptation to find reasons to be afraid is a very human characteristic; however, it is also a treacherous side-effect of prejudice and ignorance, which is hardly conducive to sound policy-making.

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