The Role of Iceland in the Arctic Issue: Diplomacy, Threats, Opportunities

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Recently the Arctic has been spoken of as the new "navel of the world": Starting from an environmental aspect - the melting of the ice of the polar ice cap - a series of issues of extraordinary interest are emerging in the fields of geoeconomics, geopolitics, energy, trade, law and military strategy. The actors of this "game" are the member countries of the Arctic Council (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States), the so-called “permanent observers” countries (China, South Korea, Japan, India, Italy, Singapore, Switzerland) and international and transnational institutions such as the United Nations, NATO and the European Union. In this paper we want to analyse in particular the case of Iceland. It has always maintained a favorable condition of isolation/integration, from an economic and military point of view: Iceland is a member State of NATO and therefore, despite not having an army, sees its defense ensured within this organization; at the same time, it is well integrated with Europe (it is part of its economic area as an ex-EFTA country and adheres to the Schengen agreement), although it is not an EU member country. Located halfway between North America and Europe, Iceland certainly occupies a strategic position in this new geopolitical scenario. Between environmental problems, new economic interests, expansionist aims of world powers and global repercussions, it can be interesting to understand the role of this small state in the Arctic issue, its foreign policy, its defense strategies but also its room for maneuver. At the same time, Iceland seems interested in seizing the economic opportunities that may arise from new diplomatic relationships, such as the recent agreement with China, the latter being interested in fostering an additional trade route - the Transpolar Route - which would pass right from Iceland.
Arctic, Iceland, Geopolitics, Geoeconomics, Trade routes