Friday, January 30, 2009

Now it's NATO and the Arctic

Good grief! Everyone wants in on the Arctic; the EU, the US--and now NATO's Secretary General:
An Arctic thaw will open up sea routes and competition for lucrative energy reserves in a multinational scramble sure to pose new security threats, NATO's chief said Thursday.

NATO commanders and lawmakers meeting in Iceland's capital said a military presence in the region will eventually be needed as standoffs between powerful nations unfold...

"Climate change is not a fanciful idea, it is already a reality, a reality that brings with it certain new challenges, including for NATO," said de Hoop Scheffer, acknowledging that an upsurge of energy exploration would likely require a larger NATO presence in the Arctic...

NATO’s role in the Arctic can include search and rescue missions for stranded vessels and emergency response to ecological disasters as the opening up of frozen shipping lanes increases the risk of accidents, De Hoop Scheffer said...
The full text of his remarks is here (via There's little coverage of the story in our media so our ever-vigilant MPs will probably remain in happy ignorance of this development. But would not a multinational approach to Arctic maritime matters make quite a bit of sense? If only Canadians could get over our aggressively nationalist approach.

The Russians, for their part, look ready to make very extensive claims to Arctic waters, though as far as I can determine they do not directly affect Canadian claims. Maps from the Spiegel Online article here and here (interactive).


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