First Advisor

Joshua Eastin

Term of Graduation


Date of Publication

Winter 3-28-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science




Trade routes -- Arctic regions, International relations, Arctic regions -- Politics and government, Economic development -- Arctic regions, International security -- Arctic regions



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 111 pages)


The purpose of the thesis is to examine future international relations in the Arctic as a theoretical exercise based on realism and liberalism. As the ice cap shrinks, and the region's environment changes, developing costs will decrease allowing for resource-extraction while new transit routes emerge. The opportunities to develop resources and ship via the Arctic are economic and strategically valuable, altering the geopolitics of the region. This thesis seeks to explore how resource development and new transit routes will affect regional politics through the lens of two theories. The two theoretical approaches will examine states and actors' interests and possible actions. Concluding, that realism will best describe the Arctic as states strive to be the regional hegemon by controlling transit routes and resources or defending the regional status quo, creating tension and a security competition between the U.S., China, and Russia. States will jockey for position within institutions before the ice cap disappears and transit routes emerge. These states seek to grow regional governance in their favor, providing support for a liberal framework, and possibly creating a structure strong enough to reduce tension before states strive to be the Arctic hegemon.


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