While Russia sends submarines to plant Russian flags in the Arctic seaweed; President Obama is said to be preparing to propose an 80% cut to American and Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles. In the backdrop the NATO alliance Secretary General wants NATO and Russia to practice joint search and rescue missions in an effort to build trust among the Arctic community. And the Russians? The Russians are assuring everyone that they will “respond” to anyone that tries to “militarize” the Arctic. The implication is that they will match any military units tit for tat, and perhaps a wee bit more, that find their way into the Arctic which the Russians have largely claimed as their own.
It makes sense that Russia would go after the Arctic because they have clearly been following a strategy of extending their influence over every oil producing region on earth. They’re building new bases in the Middle East, supplying Iran with nuclear fuel, and reactors, (arguably fomenting a regional war in the Middle East) having joint exercises with oil rich Venezuela and now have claimed the oil rich Arctic. Russia is trying to gain a lock on world oil supplies as a matter of national policy and perhaps as a club to hold over the head of the west at some future time.
Consider the following article from Reuters: http://uk.reuters.com/article/gc07/idUKTRE51M3ES20090223?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0
Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:43am GMT
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will respond to any attempts to militarize the Arctic, the head of the country’s armed forces was quoted as saying on Monday during a visit to Abu Dhabi.
“Overall, we are looking at how far the region will be militarized. Depending on that, we’ll then decide what to do,” Interfax news agency quoted General Nikolai Makarov, the head of the General Staff, as saying.
Makarov was in the United Arab Emirates for an international arms fair.
Last month NATO Secretary-General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer suggested the alliance and its strategic rival Russia could mount joint search-and-rescue exercises in the oil and gas-rich Arctic region.
He also raised the question as to whether NATO should consider increasing its focus on the region, saying that it was necessary to build confidence and trust among the five Arctic states — four of which are NATO members and the other Russia.
Moscow has claimed jurisdiction over most of the Arctic and last year a Russian mini-submarine dived to the seabed and symbolically planted a Russian flag to claim it.
NATO members with Arctic Sea coastlines are Canada, the United States, Norway and Denmark via Greeland.
Makarov also said Russia had not yet received any official proposals from Washington on significant cuts in strategic nuclear forces.
The Times of London reported earlier this month that President Barack Obama would convene ambitious arms reduction talks with Moscow, aiming to slash the number of intercontinental nuclear missiles on both sides by 80 percent.