Structural, Environmental, and Political Conditions for Security Policy in the High North Atlantic; Strategic Insights, v. 9, issue 2 (Fall 2010) pp. 26-52
Bertelsen, Rasmus G.
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Security policy in the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland has historically taken place in a nexus of structural, environmental, and political conditions which pose particular challenges for such policy, a situation that continues and which will continue to take place. This article examines these conditions for broad security policy-making and implementation in the region in a historical, current and future perspective. It shows how these three societies have historically addressed and currently address security policy, where the experience of Iceland as the only fully independent state is enlightening. On this basis, the article discusses how these societies can address future developments with regard to climate change and increased self-government in the case of the Faroe Islands and Greenland, which is a central, but often overlooked, political development in the region. Security policy here is conceived broadly as covering the exercise of sovereignty, participation in international security orders such as NATO, well-grounded and researched debate and policy-making, law enforcement, intelligence, civil defense, marine resource management, environmental protection, provision of search and rescue, air and sea surveillance, among other issues. This article identifies structural, environmental, and political conditions as well as public administration and finance challenges for security policy in section two Conditions and Challenges for Security Policy in the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland. The conditions are: microstates with very limited absolute capabilities, but responsibilities over vast strategically important air and sea spaces; Arctic and Subarctic climatic and geographic conditions, including climate change which affects political and economic conditions and in turn increases strategic interest and pressure on the region; the geopolitical role of the region, including short-term political changes such as the U.S. withdrawal from the Keflavik base and long-term political changes, such as increasing Faroese and Greenlandic self-government and possible eventual independence from the Kingdom of Denmark.
This article appeared in Strategic Insights, v.9, issue 2 (Fall 2010) pp. 26-52
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