Friday, August 10, 2007

New Cold War: Canada's Arctic Military Bases

A fiery desire for a New Age of Polar Empire has several nations succumbing to Arctic allure and demanding their rights to the ice. This pits nation against nation to freeze each other out as the victor claims Manifest Destiny or plants a frozen flag. In the hopes of being crowned the ultimate victor, Canada will build several bases in the Northwest Passage as a bulwark against other claims. The controversial decision announcing bases, one in Resolute Bay is kind of a polar Suez Canal.

Resources are hot commodities beneath the Arctic Sea. There are no other resource fields left remaining untouched, unmined and without a crystal clear claim by any nation. Control of the vast oil and natural gas fields plus gateway access is a fierce contest amongst nations. Canada aims to have its international voice and sovereign might heard and felt. The United Nations is the arbiter gathering facts to determine which nation owns these fields within their international boundaries. Russia lost an UN claim in 2001, but has undertaken a new forceful 2007 push by planting a titanium flag in recent days, demonstrating their claim of ownership and sovereign rights. The US sneered and thinks it is a Russian stunt. Presidents Putin & Bush have not been best friends forever, lately. It definitely pushes an eyebrow due north hearing tough rhetoric from Canada. entering the fray.
“Canada’s Government understands that the first principle of Arctic sovereignty is use it or lose it,” Mr Harper said. The move comes a week after Russia planted a rustproof titanium flag on the seabed beneath the North Pole in a blatant attempt to stake a claim to the billions of tonnes of untapped energy resources believed to be under the Arctic Ocean.
Canada, with many long not happy with some of its military direction, is under the new leadership of Prime Minister Harper. In part, it will be hard to be a/the gatekeeper of the Northwest Passage as ice floes are melting. Ice no longer blocking subs or ships further complicates jurisdiction as the Northwest Passage become larger territory to defend. America has SOFA's or Status Of Forces Agreements to build military bases on international soil. Odd, if it ever came to that type of agreement in North America.

Chalmers Johnson, former CIA veteran and Asia expert, emphatically warns of SOFA's around the world and their true costs in terms of American prestige and treasure in the second book of his trilogy, Sorrows of Empire. Nations are trying to be the "New Rome" - it wasn't built in a day or in a frigid atmosphere. An earlier post by me outlines Russia's recent race to the North Pole.

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