Struggle over the Arctic

BERLIN (Own report) – According to a German military officer, China’s economic activities in Greenland and Iceland could cause future wars. If the People’s Republic should “establish” itself in the Arctic – as a “great power alien to the region” – this would “instigate military conflicts,” according to a recent semi-official publication. To prove his point, the author, a reserve officer of the Bundeswehr, refers to China’s mining investments in Greenland and Beijing’s alleged plans to settle systematically Chinese specialists in the region. The “ethnic form of influence” expressed in this plan and the People’s Republic’s commitment to protect the “sovereign rights of the indigenous population” constitute a “declaration of war on the West,” the author writes. With regard to Iceland, the officer particularly criticizes the construction of a harbor in the Northeast of the island state, which is allegedly financed by a Chinese company. If the People’s Republic is thus creating a “regional central hub” for raw materials extracted from the Arctic, it would be in “favorable geopolitical starting blocks” vis-à-vis the “European Atlantic states,” the author explains, speaking already of a “gradual Chinese land grab” at the polar circle.

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Canada’s Military–A Shameful Shadow of Its Once Glorious Past

Caption: Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan (iStock.com/OlegAlbinsky)

 

Canada’s military services can no longer defend the nation’s borders—much less its citizens. According to the new commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Vice Adm. Ron Lloyd, Canada’s last destroyer, hmcs Athabaskan, will be retired from service in the spring of 2017, leaving the nation to rely on its allies for defense for at least the next seven years. Over the previous decades, Athabaskan and other similar vessels provided the capabilities of command and control for both the Royal Canadian Navy and the area air defense. By next spring, the Navy will be left with only 12 frigates, 12 coast defense vessels and 4 submarines. Canada will need to rely on the United States for its area air defense.

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Beyond the EU

BERLIN/NUUK/REYKJAVÍK/TÓRSHAVN (Own report) – Whereas the Brexit has been met with wholesale rejection by the German and other EU member states’ establishments, it was positively assessed in the little noticed countries of Northwest Europe, growing in strategic importance. Iceland’s president recently invited Great Britain to enhance its cooperation with the “triangle of non-EU countries,” meaning Iceland, and the autonomous regions Greenland and the Faroe Islands, which are part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland left the European Community (EC) in 1982; the Faroe Islands have never been members and Iceland officially withdrew its application for EU membership in 2015. All three countries refuse nuclear weapons and NATO’s missile defense shield on their territories, while showing a greater openness towards Russia than most other western countries. Iceland and particularly Greenland have been growing in their strategic importance with the impending opening of Arctic sea routes and exploitation of Arctic natural resources. German experts have already suggested inciting Greenland to secede from Denmark. This would offer Germany greater influence on Greenland and consequently on the Arctic’s political, economic and military affairs.

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Arctic Oil On Life Support

Keep in mind that this will mostly be a problem for the West and not Russia, who insisted it will forge ahead with developing Arctic oil and gas despite sinking prices and sanctions.

 

Oil companies have eyed the Arctic for years. With an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil lying north of the Arctic Circle, the circumpolar north is arguably the last corner of the globe that is still almost entirely unexplored.

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Russian Strategic Bombers Near Canada Practice Cruise Missile Strikes on US

Nuclear launch rehearsal conducted in North Atlantic

Two Russian strategic bombers conducted practice cruise missile attacks on the United States during a training mission last week that defense officials say appeared timed to the NATO summit in Wales.

The Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers were tracked flying a route across the northern Atlantic near Iceland, Greenland, and Canada’s northeast.

Analysis of the flight indicated the aircraft were conducting practice runs to a pre-determined “launch box”—an optimum point for firing nuclear-armed cruise missiles at U.S. targets, said defense officials familiar with intelligence reports.

Disclosure of the nuclear bombing practice comes as a Russian general last week called for Moscow to change its doctrine to include preemptive nuclear strikes on the United States and NATO. Continue reading

Is Vladimir Putin Coming for the North Pole Next?

Just three days before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his plan to annex Ukraine’s peninsula, a U.N. commission gave him sovereignty over the Sea of Okhotsk, located off Russia’s southeastern coast near Japan. Those waters, it was decided, are part of Russia’s continental shelf.

Russia’s Environment Minister Sergey Donskoy called the 20,000 square miles of once-international waters a “real Ali Baba’s cave” because of its natural-resource reserves. “It took Russia many years to achieve this success,” he said, logic that rings true for the acquisition of Crimea.

But Russia’s appetite for territory does not end at its southern shores. The country is hungry for more control over the top of the globe, and has been for a long time. Continue reading

Greenland report paves way for sovereign uranium mining

A new report commissioned by the Greenland government has concluded that the country has full sovereignty over commodities trading, including for uranium, which is regulated by international treaties on non-nuclear proliferation.

The report was kept confidential for more than six months but recently  published as Greenland’s parliament prepares to vote on 24 October on whether to allow the extraction of radioactive substances in Greenland.

The outcome of the vote is expected to be a clear ‘yes’. Continue reading

A look at East Asian diplomacy in the Arctic

There have been numerous bilateral visits by political figures and diplomats from East Asia to the Arctic countries over the past year. Former president of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, visited Norway and Greenland last September, while former Premier Wen Jiabao visited Sweden and Iceland in April 2012. In April 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Russia with 100 Japanese businessmen in tow to discuss energy cooperation, among other issues. Continue reading