Posted by: akjournalist | October 28, 2007

A New Really Cold War

As a Coast Guard veteran I am attracted to stories involving Coast Guard operations. I was reviewing this Daily News Miner article from The Associated Press and it caused me to wonder why the Coast Guard would fly over the North Pole. The article quoted Rear Adm. Arthur E. Brooks, commander of the Coast Guard’s Alaska district, and he said the reason for the flight was to get to know the area better and to see what’s up there. I guess that would be assuming there’s actually something up there other than a lot of ice.

I think the real reason for the Coast Guard flight lies in what’s going on under the Arctic ice. Apparently, the region is supposedly rich in petroleum reserves and holds approximately 25 percent of the world’s remaining energy. Not to be outdone by their former Cold War adversaries, Russia planted a flag under the ice in an attempt to lay claim to the sea bed underneath the North Pole.

Standing in Russia’s way is the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea, which limits the five nations on the Arctic Ocean, Russia, Norway, Canada, the United States and Denmark to 200 miles of territorial waters. These nations are allowed to file claims, with a UN commission, for more territory if they can prove their continental shelves are geographically linked to the Arctic seabed. Russia filed a claim in 2001 but so far the UN commission is not convinced of their claim’s validity.

As a former Cold War soldier, it sort of warms my heart to see the Kremlin is up to their old bag of tricks.

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