3 Challenges in Europe America Must Pay Attention to Now

Luke Coffey

Luke Coffey

Security, Europe

Forget Brexit for a moment.

3 Challenges in Europe America Must Pay Attention to Now

When it comes to European geopolitics, most U.S. policymakers focus on the big issues: Brexit, the future of NATO, a looming trade war between the United States and the European Union, Russia’s war with Ukraine.

Decisionmakers must pay attention to these important matters. But they cannot afford to let fly under the radar other issues that have the potential to create serious problems for the United States and its allies.

Here are some of the challenges in Europe that are not getting the attention they deserve in Washington.

The High North

Russian adventurism in Ukraine and Syria grabs a lot of attention. Less noticed is Moscow’s militarization of the Arctic.

Russia has formed two Arctic brigades. It devotes two-thirds of its navy to the Arctic-based Northern Fleet. An Arctic command, established in 2015, now coordinates all Russian military activities in the region. And Russia plans to form Arctic Coastal Defense divisions, to be stationed on the Kola Peninsula and the eastern Arctic, under the command of the Northern Fleet.

A decade of investment has given Russia fourteen operational airfields and sixteen deepwater ports. And Moscow continues to develop equipment optimized for Arctic operations, such as three new nuclear icebreakers that will join its fleet of forty icebreakers (six of them nuclear) already in service.

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