Russia’s Gains in the Great Arctic Race

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In 2007, a ceremonial (titanium) Russian flag was planted on the seabed at the North Pole. Then Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay quipped “this isn’t the 15th century, you can’t go around the world and just plant flags.” Russia’s flag, planted thousands of feet underwater, is quite the signal. The issue of extant overlapping international seabed claims for the North Pole might seem benign, especially when compared to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and tensions over Taiwan. However, there are major geopolitical ramifications stemming from this simmering and complex challenge.

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