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Arctic Yearbook 2012
in line with its primary goals, the strengthening of its cooperation with Russia and increased
stability in post-Cold War Barents Sea region, and the benefit of the country’s economy.
By contrast, in the cases of Finland, Iceland and Sweden, neither (state) sovereignty nor
national security or defence is emphasized in their strategies. International cooperation and
international treaties “lay the foundation for Finland’s activities in the Arctic. It is Finland’s
interest to maintain stability and continue cooperation…. and to keep the security situation
predictable” (Prime Minister’s Office, 2010: 10). Further, the country “strives to increase
international cooperation” and stability in the Arctic region at many levels (ibid: 52). Rather,
these strategies embrace a broad understanding of security and stress the importance of
comprehensive security by promoting “safety in the wide sense”, as Finland’s strategy does
(ibid: 10).
Or, there is an emphasis on environmental security and response measures against accidents
and environmental emergencies, as the Icelandic report does. Iceland aims to address its
“broadly defined security interests in the Arctic region through civilian means and working
against any kind of militarisation of the Arctic”. For Sweden security policy challenges of the
Arctic are “not of military nature”, and through its policies, Sweden “will work to ensure
that the Arctic remains a region where security policy tensions are low” and emphasizes the
importance of “an approach based on a broad concept of security, and that the sue of civil
instruments is preferable to military means” (Government Offices of Sweden, 2011: 2).
In addition, international cooperation is mentioned as a main priority, meaning that security
should be increased through better international cooperation, as Iceland’s report highlights.
These strategies also emphasize the use of international treaties in the Arctic, where the
likelihood of a military confrontation or armed conflict is very low. This is seen to be a good,
maybe even the best, way to guarantee national security without warfare, so that indeed, the
Arctic region will stay as a stable and peaceful region.
Similarities: All the strategies recognize, and many of them emphasize, the current stability of
the Arctic region. They also include the aspect of comprehensive security, either in general
or in regards to climate change.