Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pole Position

Is Russia headed for the last frontier?
The race for the Arctic is quietly underway, and Russia seems to be winning so far. This is especially troubling for the rest of the North Pole. The region is already locked in what's known as a security dilemma, explains Kristian Atland, a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. World powers have a tendency to assume the worst about their neighbors, and any measure taken by one nation to increase its sovereignty or security could be perceived by another as a threat. It also doesn't help that all of Russia's Arctic neighbors are NATO members.

If the other Arctic states have learned something from the Ukraine crisis, it's that the Russians will protect what they feel is rightfully theirs.

Russian territory accounts for about half of the Arctic region, but there's a lot more to the country's lead in the game than size. In 2001, Moscow sent the first-ever territorial claim for the North Pole to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which defines nations' rights in the world's oceans. The commission told Russia that it needed more scientific evidence that the Arctic shelf is part of the country's landmass, and a decision has not yet been made.
It really is a Cold War, after all?

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