Voice of Russia
July 7, 2011
Militarization of the Arctic
Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca
Canada has announced that they will be conducting large-scale exercises in the Arctic. NATO also announced claims on the Arctic. What can you say about the militarization of the Arctic?
It's something that has been under way, rather in earnest, for the last four years. What I think is most noteworthy is that Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay, while visiting his nation's troops in Afghanistan last week, accompanied by the top military commander of Canada, Walter Natynczyk, who's by the way being touted for a top NATO post -- at least Canada is promoting that -- mentioned this year"s now annual Canadian "sovereignty exercises" in the Arctic Ocean codenamed Operation Nanook will be the largest to date, with at least a thousand Canadian military personnel participating.
Last year's Operation Nanook was the largest to date at that time, which included 900 Canadian troops. But I think what's even more revealing than the size of the Canadian contingent was that for the first time ever -- and these exercises began in 2007 and were referred to as "sovereignty exercises" -- they occurred directly in response to Russia renewing territorial claims in the Arctic Ocean, particularly using the Lomonosov and the Mendeleev Ridges to sustain their claim.
Do you know what the current status of the claimed zone of the Lomonosov Ridge is?
The claims have to be adjudicated in the United Nations. These were, in some sense, all but abandoned in the waning days of the former Soviet Union by the Mikhail Gorbachev administration. But Russia, over the last six or so years, has expressed renewed interest in the Arctic for a number of reasons.
There was a US geological survey perhaps two or three years ago that suggested that as much as 30% of hitherto undiscovered gas and 13% of oil resources exist in the Arctic Ocean.
So, there are natural resources that are involved. Of course, now, with the melting of the polar ice cap and the opening of the much-fabled Northwest Passage north of Canada, which connects the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and would allow nations -- China is one -- to circumvent the Panama Canal or even longer journeys for commercial shipping and for the shipping of energy supplies, the Arctic is taking on increasing, not only economic, but, one can argue, geostrategic importance at the moment.