Russia’s Military Buildup in Arctic Has U.S. Watching Closely

Soldiers of the Arctic motorized rifle brigade of Russia’s Northern Fleet took a stand near APCs during military exercise in Alakyrtti, Murmansk region, Russia, April 25, 2017. Dmitry Kozlov / AP

 

ALAKURTTI BASE, RUSSIAN ARCTIC — An RPG shell whistles towards its target, exploding in a ball of fire just as a group of soldiers in white fatigues, zip past on skis, bullets flying from their white rifles.

It was all part of a training exercise by Russia’s newly formed 80th Motor Rifle Arctic Brigade, which was established two years ago as part of the Kremlin’s bid for dominance in the Arctic. The soldiers are trained to operate in some of the least hospitable climates in the world — where temperatures can drop to -40 — using tanks, military hardware and even reindeer sleds to get around in the frozen terrain. Continue reading

Russia’s Arctic Dreams Have Chinese Characteristics

The most significant geophysical event on our planet since the end of the ice age is taking place today—the opening of the Arctic. As the High North maritime environment warms, the Arctic Ocean’s abundant energy, minerals, fish stocks, and other natural resources are becoming increasingly accessible, while new potential maritime routes promise to reduce shipping times and costs and accelerate ties between major commercial centers. These new opportunities for energy development, natural resources extraction, and shipping suggest that the region risks becoming an arena of intense competition, tension, and potentially even confrontation, not only between the United States and its two near-peer strategic competitors—China and Russia—but also among other Asia-Pacific states with observer status in the Arctic Council. Continue reading

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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Russia may test-fire its most powerful ballistic missile Sarmat near Hawaii

Overcoming the U.S. missile defense system shouldn’t be a problem when it’s so flawed and failing tests.

 

Russia has started large-scale preparations for flight tests of the new “Sarmat” heavy intercontinental ballistic missile which is set to join the service by 2018. The former Chief of Staff of the Strategic Missile Forces, Viktor Esin, said that the missile will replace the most powerful RS-20V Voevoda (according to NATO classification – SS-18 Satan)ballistic complexes.

“These missiles have been in service for more than 25 years, with each of them able to deliver ten megaton nuclear warheads at a distance of more than 11,000 kilometers, guaranteeing inevitable retaliation in the event of aggression against Russia,” news website Izvestia reported Esin as saying. Continue reading

The Coming Siege

Wisdom from 2006 with a lesson for today’s times:

 

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The United States willingness to forfeit the Panama Canal it built, shows America and Britain’s irrational desire to yield. (RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Any world power with vast overseas commitments must control the seaways necessary for safe passage of its goods, its citizens and its military forces. Why then have Britain and America so casually yielded up this power they once guarded so jealously?

Geography is the most stable factor on which the power of a nation depends.

Two thirds of the Earth’s surface is ocean. Two thirds of its inhabited land embraces the great land mass of Eurasia and Africa. The remainder, which we call the Western Hemisphere, is, by comparison, an island in the midst of the oceans.

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Syria’s Civil War Forced This Arctic Doomsday Seed Bank to Open Early

The seed bank, built in 2008 on a remote island halfway between Norway and the North Pole, holds 860,000 seed samples deposited by countries all over the world. It’s meant to serve as “the final back up” for the world’s staple crops — rice from Asia, African maize, European barley — just in case they accidentally get obliterated through disease or nuclear war. Continue reading

Russia formally stakes claim to North Pole and vast Arctic expanse

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A titanium capsule with the Russian flag is seen seconds after it was planted by the Mir-1 mini submarine on the Arctic Ocean seabed under the North Pole in 2007. Photo: AP

 

Moscow: Russia formally staked a claim on Tuesday to a vast area of the Arctic Ocean, including the North Pole.

If the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the UN commission that arbitrates sea boundaries accepts Russia’s claim, the waters will be subject to Moscow’s oversight on economic matters, including fishing and oil and gas drilling. However, Russia will not have full sovereignty. Continue reading

US stations 1,200 special forces in Asia-Pacific

The United States Pacific Command has stationed more than 1,200 special forces troops in the Asia-Pacific along with the latest advancements in weapons technology to contain China’s rising presence in the region, reports the Beijing-based Sina Military Network.

America’s most recent national military strategy issued in February made it clear that the US is, has been and always will be a Pacific nation, adding that Washington has maintained diverse relations with various Asian countries while also strengthening its military presence in the Asia Pacific for the sake of ensuring regional security. Indeed, the US has been active in building stronger ties with Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines, and has also been exploring partnerships with Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

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The Key to Understanding Russia

A 2009 article with relevancy for today:

 

What was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century?

The catalog of contenders runs long—but the answer is clear to Vladimir Putin. Russia’s strongman believes the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century was the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

The significance of that telling revelation is hard to overstate. That statement, made in his state of the union address in April 2005, provides an invaluable glimpse into the mind of the man who runs Russia. It lies at the core of current international relations, and it gives much-needed clarity and simplicity to the sometimes confusing and contradictory movements of Russia—the nation Winston Churchill identified as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

Putin’s statement furnishes a key to understanding Russia!

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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

John Ivison: Crimea crisis forcing Harper to rethink NATO, Arctic defence

For many Canadians, the events in Crimea constitute a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom they know nothing, to quote Neville Chamberlain on the 1938 Sudeten crisis.

But Russia is not that far away. It borders our Arctic frontier. It’s a country with which we have conflicting claims over sovereignty of the Arctic sea-bed and, perhaps, its waters. And it’s a country that has shown itself prepared to use military force to satisfy its territorial ambitions. Continue reading

Maintaining Russian Power: How Putin Outfoxed the West

Putin’s ability to ‘outfox’ the West also comes from strong-arm tactics and both a combination of an incompetent American leadership, as well as arguably complicit — hence, more ‘flexibility’ from Obama in his second term.

In one of his many foreign-policy successes this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has used power politics and blackmail to bring Ukraine back into Russia’s sphere of influence. But what is the Kremlin leader’s secret to success?

“We know,” Kirill said, launching into a hymn of praise for Putin, “that you, more than anyone else since the end of the 20th century, are helping Russia become more powerful and regain its old positions, as a country that respects itself and enjoys the respect of all others.” Continue reading

Canada to lay claim to North Pole amid Arctic resources rush

(Reuters) – Canada intends to lay claim to the North Pole as part of a bid to assert control over a large part of the resource-rich Arctic, Foreign Minister John Baird said on Monday.

Baird said Canada had filed a preliminary submission to a special United Nations commission collecting competing claims and would be submitting more data later. Continue reading

Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.

Keep in mind that these are official quotes from officially approved state-run media. This is not some fantasy war game or conspiracy. They are displaying their capability in the open.

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Chinese state-run media revealed for the first time this week that Beijing’s nuclear submarines can attack American cities as a means to counterbalance U.S. nuclear deterrence in the Pacific.

On Monday, leading media outlets including China Central TV, the People’s Daily, the Global Times, the PLA Daily, the China Youth Daily and the Guangmin Daily ran identical, top-headlined reports about the “awesomeness” of the People’s Liberation Army navy’s strategic submarine force. Continue reading

Russia to send nuclear submarines to southern seas

The bear is back, while the USA is in retreat.

Russia plans to resume nuclear submarine patrols in the southern seas after a hiatus of more than 20 years following the break-up of the Soviet Union, Itar-Tass news agency reported on Saturday, in another example of efforts to revive Moscow’s military.

The plan to send Borei-class submarines, designed to carry 16 long-range nuclear missiles, to the southern hemisphere follows President Vladimir Putin’s decision in March to deploy a naval unit in the Mediterranean Sea on a permanent basis starting this year. Continue reading