Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

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Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby USS ALASKA » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:45 pm

London Times
October 3, 2009


Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic Circle

By Tom Coghlan, Defence Correspondent

Competition for resources in the Arctic Circle could provoke conflict between Russia and Nato, a newly appointed commander at the alliance warned yesterday.

Russia has recently been aggressive in its pursuit of claims to parts of the region and in February sent a submarine to the floor of the sea symbolically to plant a Russian flag. Admiral James Stavridis said that military activity and trade routes would also be potential sources of competition around the polar cap.

Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute in London on Nato’s future direction, Admiral Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, predicted that relations with Russia will dominate thinking at the alliance.

He said: “This is something we are starting to spend more time looking at. I look at the high north and I think it could either be a zone of conflict, I hope not, a zone of competition, probably. It could also be co-operative . . . and as an alliance we should make this as co-operative as we possibly can.”

His assessment comes after warnings from Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato Secretary-General, who said this week that climate change had “potentially huge security implications” for Nato. The thinning ice cap is opening up a new Northwest Passage trade route, while it is estimatedthat previously inaccessible oil worth $90 billion (£56 billion) lies beneath ice in the Arctic Circle.

Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States, all Nato members, and Russia claim overlapping areas of the polar region. The admiral added: “There are certainly going to be areas of disagreement between the alliance and Russia.”

The West’s relations with Russia have taken a turn for the better after President Obama last month announced the scrapping of its missile defence system based in Eastern Europe. The decision has been credited with the tougher stance Russia has since taken towards Iran on its nuclear capability and subsequent progress at negotiations in Geneva.

Admiral Stavridis said he wished to move forward with “military to military activities and co-operation” with Russia, though it would have to be a politically dictated process.

Amid concern from Eastern European Nato members over the principle of collective defence, Admiral Stavridis repeatedly stated his commitment to Article 5 of the 1949 treaty agreement, that an attack on one Nato nation is an attack on all. But he also said that Nato should not be regarded as a “world policeman”.

With President Obama still undecided on whether to back a request for a surge of up to 40,000 troops from General Stanley McChrystal, the Nato commander in Afghanistan, Admiral Stavridis said the general had his “full confidence”.

He called for a better balance between military and civilian parts of the operation. His comments came as the Ministry of Defence announced the death of a member of the Royal Air Force in Helmand. The airman was from 34 Squadron of the RAF Regiment.

Admiral Stavridis also advocated the use of social networking websites such as Facebook to get Nato’s message out.Mr Rasmussen, who uses Twitter, revealed that he had enjoyed a “terrific meeting with Prez Obama and his Cabinet”.

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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby RF » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:01 am

This potential conflict is nothing new, and the pressures will intensify as the search for more resources to exploit intensifies.

Much the same can also be said for the Antarctic as well.
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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby USS ALASKA » Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:56 pm

Not only for hydrocarbons but fresh water as well...

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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby RF » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:36 pm

And not just freshwater. If it is the case the ice continues to recede as the polar climate warms, then the prospect of mining and extraction of raw materials from the sea bed becomes more practical, particulary if the prices of metals and fuels rise exponentially in the very long term.
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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby USS ALASKA » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:58 pm

Mideast Stars and Stripes
October 10, 2009


NATO Commander Sees Arctic Seabed As Cooperative Zone

By John Vandiver, Stars and Stripes

STUTTGART, Germany — It’s been two years since Russian submarines plunged the depths to plant a flag beneath the North Pole, symbolically laying claim to vast oil and mineral reserves under the ice.

Since then, the Russians have continued to assert ownership, and the muscle-flexing is grabbing the attention of increasingly wary NATO leaders.

“This is something that we’re starting to spend more time thinking about,” said Adm. James Stavridis, during an appearance Friday at the Royal United Services Institute in London, where he described the “high north” as an area of growing strategic concern.

“I look at the high north and I think it could either be a zone of conflict, I hope not. It could be a zone of competition, probably. It could be a zone of cooperation,” said Stavridis, NATO’s newly appointed supreme allied commander-Europe. “As an alliance, our job ought to be to make it as cooperative as we can moving forward.”

Stavridis’ speech tackled a range of issues facing NATO as it works to revamp its Strategic Concept. The current concept hasn’t been updated for 10 years.

In the case of Russia, Stavridis, the first admiral to occupy NATO’s top military position, talked about the alliance’s path ahead in the 21st century and how much hinges on its relations with Russia.

In the case of the Arctic, melting ice caps in the years ahead could open new shipping lanes and trade routes, as well as access to some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves.

Russia has claimed a swath of the Arctic seabed, but other nations with Arctic coastlines, including the U.S. and Canada, have disputed the territorial footprint Russia has roped off for itself.

Whether in the Arctic or elsewhere, finding areas of agreement with Russia will continue to be difficult for NATO, which is still viewed with deep suspicion by Russia, according to Jonathan Eyal, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute.

“Relics of the Cold War don’t die easily,” Eyal said.

Controlling large reserves of oil is viewed by the Russians as a stepping stone to regaining some of its old glory, which means that the Arctic will likely be a zone of antagonism, he said.

“For the moment, competition, a standoff, is more probable than cooperation,” Eyal said.

Earlier this year, the Russian Security Council posted on its Web site a paper describing the country’s Arctic strategy. The document calls for a new military force to be established by 2020 to protect Russian interests in the region. The strategy also calls for building up military units to secure Arctic coastal borders.

Still, NATO says it will continue to look for ways to thaw that old Cold War ice.

“We need to get to a cooperative place with Russia. We need to have a serious dialogue. We need to recognize our disagreements, but find zones of cooperation,” Stavridis said.

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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby RF » Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:37 am

USS ALASKA wrote:Russia has claimed a swath of the Arctic seabed, but other nations with Arctic coastlines, including the U.S. and Canada, have disputed the territorial footprint Russia has roped off for itself.

Whether in the Arctic or elsewhere, finding areas of agreement with Russia will continue to be difficult for NATO, which is still viewed with deep suspicion by Russia, according to Jonathan Eyal, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute.

“Relics of the Cold War don’t die easily,” Eyal said.


There is of course the indirect approach. Get Russia into the European Union. Then the EU can exploit the resources and keep the US out, it would be a bureaucrats dream, I jest not........
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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby lwd » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:25 pm

As the ice continues to melt it might also become a shorter route to say Japan or China from Europe. No canal fees either.

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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby RF » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:25 am

This is based on the pretty big assumption that the ice does continue to melt sufficiently for commercial shipping lanes to safely operate. Remember that ''global warming'' is still an unproven theory in the real world, as opposed to the spinworld our politicians and the climate change industry like to live in.
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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby lwd » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:57 pm

I think I've read that ships have made it through the "Northwest Passage" during recent summers. If that's the case it wouldn't take much more melting for it to at least be a seasonal route.

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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby RF » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:21 pm

I believe Soviet ships escorted by icebreakers do regulary use the passage. Remember that the hilfskreuzer Komet sailed that way during the summer of 1940.
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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby Bgile » Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:40 pm

RF wrote:I believe Soviet ships escorted by icebreakers do regulary use the passage. Remember that the hilfskreuzer Komet sailed that way during the summer of 1940.


I believe you are confusing the Northwest passage with the route over the top of Russia.

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Re: Nato Commander Warns Of Conflict With Russia In Arctic

Postby RF » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:56 pm

Yes, you are right. Sorry, my mistake.
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