Thursday, June 28, 2007

RED ICE: Putin Lays Claim to the North Pole Riches

Very recently the Russian government launched a media blitz intended to signal to the world a major Kremlin initiative - laying territorial claim to the North Polar Region and the vast mineral wealth which lays beneath the artic crust. The editors of PRAVDA, enthusiastic cheerleaders for Vladimir Putin's every "Great Russia" whim, immediately published a map which announced the redrawing of Russia's national boundaries to include the North Pole. The claim, certain to be challenged, is based on the findings of a Russian geologicical expedition over arctic pack ice which mapped what they call the "Lomonosov Ridge".

RED ICE - Russia's wedge shaped territorial claim, to the Pole.

Under current international law the countries which have arctic territory - Canada, the United States, Russia, Norway and Denmark, are restricted to an enforceable claim of a 200 mile economic zone beyond their arctic coastline. The northern ocean is administered by the U.N.'s International Seabed Authority, which has no teeth, and which is no match for the Russian bear which is awakened and smelling oil. There is an estimated 1o billion ton of gas and oil trapped beneath the Arctic crust, and a cornucopia of gem and mineral deposits.

Russian graphic of the Lomonosov Ridge. Putin is serious.

Mr. Putin is not someone any neighboring government should take lightly. With his billion dollar arms sales to Iran and Venezuela Putin has demonstrated his intention to keep the U.S. perpetually engaged in suppressing radical regimes and regional wars, while he pillages the last remaining economic treasure houses. Since Canada is the major victim of this very hostile initiative, the Harper government cannot afford to sit on its ass and fob off its responsibility to the new Democratic Party president soon to move into the White House. The protection of our sovereignty and our economic survival falls to our leaders, federal provincial and territorial.

Canadian Ranger volunteers - northern pride vs. Putin's mace.

In August of 2006 Prime Minister Harper visit the capital of Nunavit to announce a federal initiative to bolster our commitment to northern defence. DND planned to "revitalize" the Canadian Rangers, an all volunteer aboriginal force predicting it would be increased to 4,800 members by 2008. The truth is that the Rangers are maxed out. Every northern community which could contribute healthy, motivated manpower has already done so. Northern Pride has always been a great motivator but the North is changing. As the ice thins, new economic development is attracting natives who want to work, and these men have scant time to devote to Ranger training and patrols. The Kremlin will bargain heavily that the Harper government is already managing all of the military activity it can stomach - and that it is not prepared to upset the status quo in the north, by building permanent bases and inserting regular battalions which will quickly outnumber the thin native populations in several communities.

RED ICE is the new strategic reality. Putin has the muscle and are soft and getting softer. Ottawa thought the collapse of the Soviet regime meant that it could mothball our northern defences, redraw the national map, and hand over administration of our entire vast north to an inexperienced people. It was all great public relations, but it was also a clear signal to the Russians that there is are decided weaknesses in Canadian thinking which they could exploit. We can hardly blame them for walking through an open door.

Update August 2008: Durham university - new Arctic Ocean map.
This is new chart released by Durham university which shows the many claims to Arctic resources. Their are so many conflicting jurisdictions and boundaries that a guide is essential. If you click on the link it will take you to Durham's webpage suporting the chart.

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