Saturday, November 28, 2009

US Navy plots Arctic push

Ian MacLeod in CommonDreams via the Ottawa Citizen takes a dry Canadian view of US expansionism: The U.S. navy is planning a massive push into the Arctic to defend national security, potential undersea riches and other maritime interests. While the plan talks diplomatically about "strong partnerships" with other Arctic nations, it is clear the U.S. is intent on seriously retooling its military presence and naval combat capabilities in a region increasingly seen as a potential flashpoint as receding polar ice allows easier access.

"This opening of the Arctic may lead to increased resource development, research, tourism, and could reshape the global transportation system. These developments offer opportunities for growth, but also are potential sources of competition and conflict for access and natural resources," says the 33-page document, signed by Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, vice-chief of Naval Operations.

"While the United States has stable relationships with other Arctic nations, the changing environment and competition for resources may contribute to increasing tension, or, conversely, provide opportunities for co-operative solutions," it says.

…If the recent surfacing of a U.S. submarine near the North Pole left any doubt, the navy's roadmap makes it clear the U.S. and other nations will increasingly flex military muscle in the resource-rich region, says a specialist on Canada's northern security. "The Arctic is transforming and everyone else gets it and they're not going to go away," Rob Huebert, associate director at the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary, said Friday….

On July 1, 2008, the fast attack submarine USS Providence breaks through the ice at the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first submarine polar transit by the USS Nautilus in 1958. U.S. Navy photo by Yoeman 1st Class J. Thompson

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