The Future of International Relations in the Arctic: Analyzing Relations between NATO, the Arctic States, and the Russian Federation

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This thesis analyzes how Offensive Structural Realism, Neoliberalism, and Social Constructivism explain rising geopolitical tensions between Western Arctic states, the Russian Federation, and NATO in the Arctic region. Three levels of analysis are defined; Offensive Structural Realism is used to give a reductive examination of recent developments in the Arctic. The second level gives an intermediary approach to analyze relations between NATO, its members, and Russia in the Arctic through both Offensive Structural Realism and Neoliberalism. The last level takes a holistic approach through Social Constructivism, evaluating NATO and Russian discourse on the Arctic to determine how security is defined by their reactions and interactions to each other. Results show that climate change and the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014 worked to rise tensions between the Arctic states, increasing the amount of attention it receives from NATO.
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