Newsletter: A Trembling Giant

Beached boulder rock
Beached boulder: USA is boiling and on the verge of a crisis that will reverb throughout NATO and China. Photo: Trine Jonassen, High North News.

Dear reader! The USA is boiling while the ice in the Arctic is thawing. What happens with the balance between the superpowers and NATO when the western giant loses its grip? Here’s this week’s newsletter from the High North.

It may appear that the world has reached its boiling point. Even though the usual peace and quiet still reign in the Arctic, the pandemic continues taking lives in our ally in the West while at the same time US President Donald Trump launches war on Twitter. In addition, he responds to the rage that has exploded in the USA after the George Floyd incident – an unarmed black man killed in police custody – by supporting calling actionists terrorists.

The USA focuses on itself, whereas Russia and China look north. What we do need to know, is that a USA in crisis will affect the entire world, including the High North and the Arctic.

“A stable USA is not only important for NATO, but also for Russia and China”, says Professor Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen at the University of Tromsø.

Bertelsen believes the Arctic NATO countries will have to relate to a less predictable and less reliable USA in the future.

Record-fast supply via the Northern Sea Route

Christoph de Margerie
Arc7 LNG carrier Christoph de Margerie being pushed by a tugboat. (Source: Courtesy of Sovcomflot)
Arc7 LNG carrier Christoph de Margerie being pushed by a tugboat. (Source: Courtesy of Sovcomflot)

China and Russia do not sit still in the boat while the USA boils. Russia recently conducted a record-fast delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China; a voyage made possible by increasingly thawing Arctic sea ice.

Thus, Russia is one step closer to year-round navigation in the Arctic through the Northern Sea Route.

Fears for the tourist industry

Bjørn Johansen, regionleder i LO Troms og Finnmark. Foto: Privat. 
Bjørn Johansen, Regional Chair of LO Troms and Finnmark [labor union], fears the consequences for the tourism industry if foreign workers were to leave Longyearbyen and Svalbard. Photo: Private.

In Svalbard, the Corona crisis has reached a new bottom low; economic consequences. In its new draft Corona crisis package, the Norwegian government suggests spending money on sending third-country foreign workers in Longyearbyen to their respective home countries.

“Without this group of workers it will be harder for tourism in Svalbard to make the wheels go round”, argues Regional Chair of the LO labor organization Bjørn Johansen.

High North News keeps following this case next week.

Good news from the High North

Anu Fredrikson
New director: Anu Fredrikson is the new Executive Director of Arctic Frontiers. Photo: Arctic Frontiers.
New director: Anu Fredrikson is the new Executive Director of Arctic Frontiers. Photo: Arctic Frontiers.

Despite out-migration and lack of competent workers, there are good news from Northern Norway! Anu Fredrikson assumes position as new Director of Arctic Frontiers in Tromsø and with that, she leaves the Arctic Economic Council.

And with that, we at High North News declare this news week over and prepare for a new week packed with good analysis, news from the High North and exciting interviews.

Remember to let us know what happens in your Arctic, and thank you for following us this week!
Trine Jonassen
News Editor, High North News