3 August, 2007
The news that Russia has planted its national flag on one of the oil-and-gas-rich areas of the Arctic received lots of coverage in the media and the blogs yesterday. Ironically, thanks to global warming, prospecting and potential exploration of the Arctic has become much more attractive to the countries surrounding the polar area and is likely to lead to serious power struggles in the next few years.
American Law professor Eric Posner presents an interesting US perspective on the issue in the Wall Street Journal. He recommends the US and Canada (who now are at loggerheads over the Arctic NorthWest passage) to become allies against the Russian claims. His conclusion: “If the U.S. supports Canada’s claim to the Northwest Passage, in return for some sort of guarantee of U.S. military and civilian access, the two countries will strengthen their position vis-à-vis Russia. As the world heats up, the two countries need to prepare themselves for the re-emergence of old rivalries, and in the battle over control of the Arctic, the U.S. and Canada are natural allies.”
A more gloomy view can be found on the Fourth Wordl War blog: “the Arctic is likely to be the setting for the true world war between the superpowers, as they battle to secure the vast energy and mineral reserves still trapped beneath the ice”. If someone thinks this is just some alarmist blogger trying to get attention, he/she should read an enlightening article posted on the Wired blog in June 2007 which explains how the Pentagon is preparing for polar military operations.Author : Willy De Backer