The "Battle For Arctic Oil" Has Begun
Graphic From BBC
UPDATE : Russian military and government officials are "annoyed" at the reactions from the United States, Canada and much of the Western media to their claiming a significant part of the North Pole. The reaction from the West, and the reaction to that reaction from the Russians were both to be expected. But the coverage in the Russian media is particularly :
Russian newspapers on Friday lauded the expedition, calling it a first step in what daily Vremya Novostei referred to as "the battle for Arctic oil."
Government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta went further, saying the division of the Arctic "is the start of a new redistribution of the world."
In the Western media, the Russian flag-planting on the Arctic sea floor was widely dismissed as a "joke" and a "stunt". Not so in the Russian media.
The Russian media is well ahead of the Western media in preparing its people for the looming confrontations of Arctic energy reserves. Russia moved first, and fast. But Canada and the United States, in particular, will not let them stake their claim so easily.
As we've discussed here numerous times before, the Arctic is likely to be the setting for the true world war between the superpowers, as they battle to secure the vast energy and mineral reserves still trapped beneath the ice.
Global warming is now rapidly melting that ice, and the legendary NorthWest passage for shortened shipping routes across the top of the world is likely to be opened, during the summer months, withing years.
Yesterday, Russia garnered major headlines for a "stunt" where they fixed a metal pole, in place of a flag, to the seabed off the Siberian cost. Russia claims there are billions of barrels of oil, and possibly trillions of square feet of natural gas under the sea floor off Siberia, and they have caused an international crisis by claiming they own it all.
The Bush administration has been next to silent on their own claims to the Arctic, via Alaska, but the Navy has been making loud noises about expanding their polar fleet and buying more ice-breakers.
Canada, however, has been actively building up its populace to not only believe they have the right to claim a good part of the Arctic and all its riches for themselves, but that it is territory they must defend, through billions of dollars of new defence spending for Arctic ships and even military deployments.
America wants control of Middle East oil because its own strategic reserves are being rapidly depleted, and it feels the fight to control Venezuelan oil may not be worth the fight.
Russia has cut deals worth tens of billions of dollars with Iran for its oil and gas, so it feels it has time enough up its sleeve to secure its future energy reserves by tackling the Arctic.
China, now aligned with Russia and Iran, knows the Arctic will be important in two decades time, and is reportedly building submarines and a polar Navy in anticipation.
There has been much mocking in the Western media, particularly in the US mainstream media aligned with BushCo and the Neocons, about Russia's "claim" on almost half the North Pole, but the flag-planting on the sea floor is being viewed as an incredibly historic event by Russian media, and has been widely celebrated.
The US writes off the "claim" as being something of a joke. But Russia is deadly serious. The US, and Canada, are likely to see just how deadly serious Russia is when they try to challenge the new Russian sovereignty of the richest untapped energy deposits left in the world today.
We'll have more on this, and a look back on the past two years of the developing 'Arctic Wars' over the weekend.
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