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Yet in the 1980s, as the cold war wound down, Nato’s axis began to look away from the Arctic. Nato command and control shifted its point of gravity towards the Mediterranean, as a result of the organisation’s enlargement and a focus on “out of area” operations, such as Afghanistan. Although 50% of the circumpolar region belongs to a Nato member, in 2003 Nato closed its dedicated north Atlantic headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, while US troops were withdrawn from Iceland.

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