A U.S. foreign policy analyst has suggested that the NATO-Russia Council could serve as a forum for Russia and the West to discuss issues in the Arctic. The Council had its second meeting yesterday after being suspended in the aftermath of the Russia-Georgia conflict. Dr. Charles M. Perry, vice president and director of studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, said,
“There are some contentions about who owns what. The NATO-Russia forum would be an excellent place to talk about things like Arctic security. Not necessarily solving it all bilaterally…this concerns everybody in the region and right now we are not talking about it very well.”
The IFPA is a conservative think tank, while this story was reported in RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned newspaper. Perhaps, then, the Kremlin would be keen on discussing the Arctic in the NATO council, since the news report is generally positive. But getting all of the Arctic states within NATO to agree to partake in such discussions might prove difficult. Only a few weeks ago, Russia kicked two NATO diplomats out of Moscow who happened to be Canadian – the country with which tensions in the Arctic are arguably the highest. Furthermore, there has also been talk among Russian policymakers that greater Nordic security cooperation would be a good development because it would counterbalance NATO and enable Russia to have a separate forum in which to discuss the Arctic.