Newsletter: US Presence Wanted in the High North

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
“This is a very critical place on the globe. It is the intersection of the areas of resposibility of a couple of combatant commands. The Indo-Pacific Command and the Northern Command", US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said while visiting Alaska in late July. (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley). 

Dear reader! This week, we have met Norway’s Defense Minister, who is clear about US defense forces being wanted in the Arctic. We also bring exciting news about both the Northern Sea route and business in the Arctic

There is no doubt that US interest in Norway and the Arctic has increased.

In a High North News interview, Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen (Conservatives) talks about increasing American interest in Norway’s neighborhood, amongst others as a consequence of increased big power rivalry.

“The USA is not forcing itself upon us. We want their presence here”, he stresses.

It is clear that the world is no longer standing still under the pandemic. One country after the next is gradually opening up and with that comes the revealing of some major disparities.

Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm’s Friday commentary is thus worth noting before the weekend:

While Norway is on the brink of re-opening society after the pandemic, as if the term “after the pandemic” makes sense, other countries barely manage to count their dead. The overview over the number of deaths is not only a medical encyclopedia. It is also a study of political and economic disparity.”

Sailing the Northern Sea Route

Two heavy-lift vessels sailing along the Northern Sea route will contribute to increased awareness and demonstrate that the Northern Sea Route is a viable option, says Oddgeir Danielsen, Regional Director of the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce.

The two non-Russian heavy-lift vessels in question use a sea route characterized by decreasing amounts of sea ice and transport LNG modules for Novatek’s Arctic LNG-2 project.

Cement, AI, and a new island

In Sweden, the Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from the country’s largest cement producer in its struggle to continue limestone extraction on Gotland Island.

The pre-warned cement shortage in Sweden makes mining giant LKAB have to explore other options in order to maintain normal production. However, finding a solution may take time, the company says to High North News.

Scientists have developed a new artificial intelligence tool that can predict changes to Arctic sea ice.

And off the coast of Greenland, a new island has appeared that may very well be the world’s northernmost island.

In Norway, the government has proposed allocating NOK 110 million as a start-up allocation for the so-called “Blue building” at Nord University in Bodø, which is to lay the foundation for new important research and knowledge about life in the ocean. (Norwegian only)

And that was the past week as seen from the top of the world! Enjoy your weekend and let us know what you want to read more about!

Our best regards,
Trine Jonassen,
News Editor,
High North News