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General News    H2'ed 12/7/09

Loose Cannon And Nuclear Submarines: West Prepares For Arctic Warfare

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The Arctic Ocean, in particular that part of it under the ice cap, is Russia's last retaliatory refuge, that spot on the earth where any element of its strategic forces is comparatively safe from a Western first strike and least targetable by interceptor missiles after such an attack.

This year is ending as it began, with heightened U.S. interest in the Arctic Ocean. For energy, transportation and military purposes. Especially the third.

An American website has scanned and posted a 36-page document released by the U.S. Department of the Navy on November 10, 2009 called Navy Arctic Roadmap [1]

The paper states that "The primary policy guidance statements influencing this roadmap are the National Security Presidential Directive 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25 (NSPD 66/HSPD 25) and the Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower (CS21)." [2] The second policy document was issued by the U.S. Navy on October of 2007 and the first, the National Security Directive, was written on January 9 of this year. A previous article in this series examined the second in detail shortly after it was made public. [3]

The key components of January's National Security Directive are these, the first reproduced verbatim:

"The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight."

The document also speaks unapologetically of the intent to "Preserve the global mobility of United States military and civilian vessels and aircraft throughout the Arctic region" and stipulates in its fourth point that "The Senate should act favorably on U.S. accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea promptly, to protect and advance U.S. interests, including with respect to the Arctic. Joining will serve the national security interests of the United States, including the maritime mobility of our Armed Forces worldwide. It will secure U.S. sovereign rights over extensive marine areas, including the valuable natural resources they contain." [4]

A Russian news source commented four days after the directive's release as follows: "In his final days in power, President George W. Bush asserted U.S. military 'sea power' over the oil-rich Arctic in a fresh effort to ensure permanent American presence in the region and the deployment of missile defense facilities there.

"According to the text of a sweeping new directive on the Arctic released just eight days before Barack Obama is to be sworn in, the United States declares the territories within the Arctic Circle a zone of its strategic interests and the new Administration is advised to expand the US foothold in the Arctic." [5]

Indeed the new American administration has here as in most every other instance proven a faithful enforcer of its predecessor's geopolitical blueprints.

Less than three weeks after the Bush White House unveiled its new Arctic strategy, NATO held a hastily convened two-day meeting in Iceland attended by its secretary general and its top military commanders. The get-together, called a Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North, dutifully followed the American Arctic initiative and proclaimed that "the High North is going to require even more of the Alliance's attention in the coming years." [6]

Four of the five official Arctic claimants - the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway - were represented as founding members of the military bloc; Russia was not invited to send even an observer.

Another Russian news report wrote of the inescapable logic of the meeting: "NATO is seriously thinking of [establishing] military presence in the Arctic. It considers global warming and consequently an Arctic thaw as an occasion for this. NATO sees this as a possibility for its Arctic expansion.

"When taking into account the fact that all Arctic littoral nations but Russia are NATO member countries, it is quite clear who the alliance considers its rival in this region." [7]

In the intervening months the four NATO members with longstanding territorial claims in the region - Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States - have made military moves into the Arctic Circle in fulfillment of the Alliance's pledge in January.

Norway has moved its Operational Command Headquarters into the Arctic and purchased 48 Lockheed F-35 fighter jets for Arctic patrols, and Denmark announced plans to establish an all-service Arctic Command, an Arctic Response Force and a military buildup at the Thule airbase in Greenland, to be shared with its NATO allies. [8]

Great Britain, Finland and Sweden have been conscripted into the common effort, the latter two nations having been surreptitiously integrated into NATO behind the backs of their peoples. [9]

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at:
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