As our cover story by Charles Emmerson shows, this scenario of blazing rigs and eco disaster is, for the moment, far from reality. But it does prove how fast the Arctic is globalizing, and how unsettling this process is to Russia. Suddenly countries as far away as China and India are claiming a stake in a region which few cared about in the past.
Away from the icy north, lack of fresh water is a key practical issue. Gareth Price looks at ways to secure supplies in South Asia, while Mark Zeitoun analyses growing tensions over the great rivers of the Middle East. Ahead of Germany’s federal elections in September, Almut Möller and Gisela Stuart MP offer an insider’s and an outsider’s view of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Abroad she is accused of lacking an inspiring European vision – exactly the quality that Germans desire in a leader.