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The Arctic Area Is Being Coveted By Russia And China As Well As Others. Is The U.S. Arctic Policy Appropriate?

ArmchairPolitiicianArctic, January 28, 2018, by Brad Peery,

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*The Arctic is becoming increasingly important, as warming worldwide temperatures enable shipping to increase through the winter months, and resource exploration becomes more feasible.

In January, 2018, China issued its first strategy paper describing its long term ambitions for the Arctic, even though it does not have any territory in the Arctic Circle. However, in an effort to bring legitimacy to its future claims, it declared itself a “Near Arctic State”. Its expressed interests include shipping, natural resource development, and scientific research. The resources mentioned included oil, gas, minerals, and fisheries. This effort will be an element of China’s strategy to become a world power, and surpass the U.S. and other world powers.
*Beijing Stakes An Arctic Claim, Wall Street Journal, By Eva Dou, January 27, 2018

**Russia is also developing a substantially increased Arctic presence, to restore its previous might in the area. In December, 2015, Russia’s news agency Tass declared that Russia had finished equipping six new military bases throughout the Arctic in a move to recreate the country’s military presence to levels it had during the Cold War.
In total, Moscow’s plans involve the opening of ten Arctic search-and-rescue stations, 16 deep-water ports, 13 airfields, and 10 air-defense radar stations across its Arctic periphery.

Once completed, this construction will “permit the use of larger and more modern bombers” in the region, Mark Galeotti, a Russia expert at New York University, wrote for The Moscow Times. “By 2025, the Arctic waters are to be patrolled by a squadron of next-generation stealthy PAK DA bombers.”
**Russia Just Put The Finishing Touches On 6 Arctic Military Bases, Business Insider, By Jeremy Bender, Dec. 7, 2015

***A new U.S. strategy for the Arctic was outlined by the Obama administration in 2013. The Pentagon said it would seek to expand both its understanding of the Arctic environment and its presence in the region, while also promoting collaboration on a range of issues. In 2013, the United States stationed about 27,000 military personnel in Alaska.

Despite this number, in some ways Washington is starting from a relatively weak position. Other Arctic countries, particularly Russia and China, have already moved far more aggressively in staking out a presence in the region.
***U.S. Unveils Military Strategy for Arctic, Inter Press Service, By Carey L. Biron, November 26, 2013

ArmchairPolitician.US Opinion
The Arctic is starting to become an important political battlefield of the future. The warming of the polar ice cap will likely reveal large untapped natural resources. The U.S. estimates that about 15% of the world’s remaining oil, up to 30% of its natural gas deposits, and about 20% of its liquefied natural gas are stored in the Arctic seabed.

Due to sequestration the U.S. military has struggled in the Arctic. Although Trump’s 2018 Budget is likely to allow substantially increased military expenditures, the Trump policy in early 2018 consists of allowing increased offshore drilling in Alaska, an overall plan for the Arctic has been absent and military funding increases have not yet happened. The lack of a strong Trump policy may be due to his disbelief in climate change. The lack of such a belief could leave the U.S. behind if increasingly warmer temperatures make the Arctic more attractive, particularly for Russia and China.

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