A rapidly evolving Arctic environment has turned the North into a new frontier of international economic, political, and environmental importance, intensifying geopolitical rivalries in a region that is in many regards a microcosm of the increasingly multipolar international system. This complicates Canada’s foreign policy in the North, particularly toward Russia, as many Canadian policymakers continue to view Arctic geopolitics through the familiar lens of competition and conflict with Russia. However, it is important to carefully assess Russia’s strategy and posture in the North to recognize that Moscow does not stand to gain from adopting an aggressive approach to the Arctic. Despite adversarial relations in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Ottawa and Moscow have continued to selectively engage and co-operate as core members of the Arctic Council. Following a northern strategy that is rooted in selective engagement—prioritizing engagement and co-operation in the Arctic region while also permitting strategic competition elsewhere—stands out as an especially promising approach to Canada’s Arctic foreign policy.
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