The Arctic theatre

Pray do expand on this, we are all ears.

Grey Fox’s trash talk trolling is completely ignorable, your’s rather more interesting.
The dispute centres around the internal waters of Canada's Arctic Archipelago. Under international law the waters between the islands of an archipelago are the sovereign territorial waters of that country. The channels and straits between the islands of the Arctic Archipelago are narrow and their extents are defined by the accepted principles of international law (e.g. UNCLOS, but also earlier cases such as the settlement to the Ango-Norwegian fishing dispute).

There can be exceptions where a strait is part of a long established international trade route. The Corfu Channel case is the classic example. However, unlike Corfu Channel there is no history of international commerce through the straits of the Arctic Archipelago, so there were no long established navigational rights. Indeed, the region is famous for having been historically impossible to navigate safely along the most expeditious routes, with expeditions such as Franklin's meeting disaster attempting it.

It should be noted that there is no right of "innocent passage" through a country's internal waters. There can still be transit rights, but these are more restricted. Internal waters are treated like lakes and other internal bodies of water.

The important difference is that with international straits any country's military vessels have a right to pass through (with certain restrictions), but in the case of sovereign internal waters there is no such right, and foreign military vessels must ask for permission.

Global warming however is changing that landscape, and now there is a desire by outside powers to be able to exploit these waters for both commercial and military purposes. The United States claims that there is an international strait through Canada's Arctic Archipelago. There is no historical basis for their claim, but they make it none the less.

The dispute has been managed so far by a cooperation agreement where the US have not dropped their claims, but agreed to act as if they recognised Canada's position. It should be pointed out by the way that Canada views the settlement as temporarily putting the dispute aside, not a final settlement and it does not prejudice Canada's rights in this respect. Furthermore it does not address third parties who may wish to make similar claims to that of the US.

However, the US position provides a pretext for other countries to make the same claims. Particularly notable is that China have published a document outlining their policy on the Arctic in which they took an ambiguous position on this issue. They are now sending ships into the Arctic, including through Canadian waters using the Xue Long (Snow Dragon) mentioned in a previous post.
Slowly but surely, China’s carving a foothold through the Arctic
China has made progress on its ambition to establish a foothold in the Arctic with the first voyage by its research icebreaker through the frozen waters of the Northwest Passage.
In a journey spanning more than 20,000 nautical miles and 83 days, the Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, made its way through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago before returning to Shanghai on Tuesday.
There are two things to note in this story. One is that the "Belt and Road" has become the "One Belt, One Road, Once Circle" strategy, where the circle refers to the Arctic Circle. Or in other words, the Arctic Ocean is to be incorporated into China's Belt and Road initiative where they promote trade and infrastructure projects around the world which serve Chinese interests. The other thing to note is that the photo at the top of this article is of Canada's Devon Island in the Arctic.
Will the Arctic be next stop on China’s new Silk Road?
China is likely to incorporate the Arctic Circle into its new Silk Road trade plan, according to a professor from a leading Chinese university.
“Beijing’s strategy does not stop at belt and road,” Li Xiguang, a professor at Tsinghua University told a forum in Hong Kong on Saturday. Li is leading a field study on the economic corridor China and Pakistan are building as part of the trade route.

“The full name of the strategy will be ‘One Belt, One Road, One Circle’, and the circle refers to the Arctic Circle,” Li paraphrased another Tsinghua professor, Hu Angang, as saying in a speech last month that was not reported in mainland media.

Hu is a leading economist in China and is the director of the Centre for China Studies at the university.
The Xue Long received Canadian permission to pass through these waters, so this voyage was not a direct challenge to Canada at this time.
Chinese ship making first voyage through Canada's Northwest Passage
Canada demands foreign vessels ask permission before sailing through the Northwest Passage, an Arctic route the Canadian government considers internal waters. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland's office said Canada granted its approval on the basis that China was conducting scientific research.

"Canada welcomes navigation in its Arctic waters, provided that ships comply with laws of safety, security and the protection of the environment," press secretary Adam Austen said in a statement to The Globe. "In this case, Canada approved an application from the MV Xue Long to conduct Marine Scientific Research – joined by a team of Canadian scientists who are on board to participate in research activities." He added that a Canadian ice navigator is also aboard to help steer the Snow Dragon safely through the Arctic waters.
The Chinese are investing money in Greenland, with a particular interest in rare earth element mining. To put this in context, Greenland's deposits of rare earth elements are the world's second largest, after those in China. If Greenland becomes fully independent, China will be in a very ecnomically influential position there.
China’s plan for the Arctic – and a shipping centre to rival Singapore
China’s ambitions in the Arctic may seem far-fetched. Yet it is already making investments that could start a sea change, said independent researcher Jichang Lulu.

Late last month, Shenghe Resources, a Shanghai-listed firm that processes rare earth materials, took a 12.51 per cent stake in Greenland Minerals and Energy, becoming its largest individual shareholder.

The agreement also allows Shenghe to increase its stake to 60 per cent once the firm’s flagship Kvanefjeld project enters the development stage. If Greenland were to become independent of Denmark, such economic clout could leverage significant influence, Lulu said.
The Chinese are complaining that the agreement between Canada and the US (see above) is unfair to others (e.g. China). This is very significant in my view, as it establishes that they intend to use US policy as a lever to gain rights access to areas for themselves that they otherwise would not be able to.
Those developments came a month after a paper by the State Oceanic Administration referred to the Northwest Passage as a “northern link” in Xi Jinping’s ( 習近平 ) “One Belt, One Road” strategy, and complained that a negotiated settlement between Canada and the United States in their sovereignty dispute regarding the waterway would be unfair to China and other regional outsiders. Canada claims the passage as internal waters but the US views it as an international waterway.
Now have a look at a map of the relationship between China, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and think about how the US position is essentially that the Chinese have a right to operate in the internal waters of Canada.

The post 2000 terrorist environment saw the US start to question whether their position on Canada's Arctic sovereignty was becoming contrary to US interests. Canada's diplomacy will concentrate on reinforcing that thought with respect to how it affects North American security, particularly with respect to China.

The primary threat to Canadian sovereignty at this time is not seen as Russia or China, but rather our supposed "allies".
 

Grey Fox

*Russian Troll*
They may well be able to distinguish between groups who treat them badly as opposed to those who seem friendly?
Belugas whales can remember 'dangerouse' boats and ships and 'useful' ones, they can even distinguish (and group) surface ships and submarines. Their understandings of 'friendship' is very different from human ones, so term 'friendly' is not correct. Their typical social organisation (in wild) are two different types: 1-3 adult (older 4-7 years) females with babies and 8-16 adult (older than 7-9 years) males, and human can not be nor "male friend", nor "leader of pack" (they dont understand leadership), nor "baby", neither even "prey".
 
US foreign minister Pompeo was at a meeting of the Arctic Council where he stated that the Arctic has become "an arena of global power and competition".
www.cbc.ca/news/world/pompeo-arctic-speech-finland-1.5124219?cmp=rss
"The region has become an arena of global power and competition, and the eight Arctic states must adapt to this new future," Pompeo said in the speech, delivered a day before he participates in a meeting of foreign ministers from the Arctic Council.
He added that the former strategic backwater has become much more important and sees "new threats" there.
"We're entering a new age of strategic engagement in the Arctic, complete with new threats to Arctic interests and its real estate," he said.
He was particularly unhappy about China's involvement in the Arctic and seems to think they have no right to be there. It's not clear if he intends to apply the same thinking to other outside countries which have been displaying an interest there, which range from the UK to Singapore.
"There are only Arctic States and Non-Arctic States," he said. "No third category exists-and claiming otherwise entitles China to exactly nothing."
Pompeo drew a direct comparison between China's involvement in the South China Sea and China's involvement in the Arctic. Pompeo seems to be unaware that the "militarization and competing territorial claims" already exists in the Arctic, and his country is participating in them.
"China's pattern of aggressive behaviour elsewhere will inform how it treats the Arctic," he said, noting its increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea, which has alarmed many of its smaller neighbours. "Do we want the Arctic Ocean to transform into a new South China Sea, fraught with militarization and competing territorial claims?" he asked.
He also took time to direct some complaints against Russia.
"We know Russian territorial ambitions can turn violent," he said, pointing to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. "Just because the Arctic is a place of wilderness does not mean it should become a place of lawlessness."
While Pompeo talked about how the loss of sea ice was changing the strategic situation in the Arctic, he somehow managed to avoid any mention of global warming as being the cause.
A prepared text of Pompeo's speech, for example, ran to 2,400 words but did not mention "climate change." He spoke of "steady reductions in sea ice" but did not address the cause, focusing instead on the opportunity those reductions present.
He also drew a comparison between Arctic sea routes and the Suez and Panama Canals. This perhaps provides some context to how the US is beginning to view Arctic strategy, with a focus on control of strategic trade routes.
"Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century's Suez and Panama Canals," he said.
This is interesting as it appears the US may possibly have reversed their previous policy of neglect towards Arctic issues and are now taking an interest in the region. This may be a reaction to the major efforts which Russia has been putting into development of commercial shipping through the region, as well as China's increasing interest and presence there.
 
Just for lulz - Septic articles in which they suddenly realised that it is cold in Arctic, and The Brave American Warriors hardly can operate with ice outside a whiskey glass.
NORTHCOM: Arctic now America’s ‘first line of defense’

Admiral: The US Is ‘Operating Blind’ In the Arctic

Funny. When they will realised, that it is better to return Alaska by a peaceful way?
Note the following in the first link where again the comparison is made to the Suez Canal. This is similar to what the US foreign minister was saying very recently. There has evidently been a shift in American thinking and the goal of controlling strategic sea routes in the Arctic appears to be receiving widespread attention in Washington.
Russian forces are preparing to monitor airspace and secure the Northern Sea Route, which has the potential to turn the Arctic into a geostrategic thoroughfare on par with the Strait of Malacca — a major shipping channel connecting the Indian and Pacific oceans — and the Suez Canal, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
However, the sea route that matters for the foreseeable future is the one that belongs to Russia - specific mention is made of the Northern Sea Route. The implication is that the Americans may be thinking about what it would take to seize control of it in some manner should they feel motivated to.

In previous posts there was mention that the US is planning a naval exercise in the Arctic this summer where they may attempt to test their ability to do this.
 
You can’t read
He says the weather keeps changing and he wants a bigger budget
Not exactly. What it says is that the US has put little effort into collecting data about Arctic weather so they find themselves poorly prepared in terms of historical weather data or the tools with which to collect current data. Particularly notable is that they have just realised that their weather satellite network is incapable of collecting data on Arctic weather.

They will need a bigger budget to do something about that however, at least so far as means of observing the weather. Their lack of historical data however is not so easy to correct.
 

Grey Fox

*Russian Troll*
Note the following in the first link where again the comparison is made to the Suez Canal. This is similar to what the US foreign minister was saying very recently. There has evidently been a shift in American thinking and the goal of controlling strategic sea routes in the Arctic appears to be receiving widespread attention in Washington.

However, the sea route that matters for the foreseeable future is the one that belongs to Russia - specific mention is made of the Northern Sea Route. The implication is that the Americans may be thinking about what it would take to seize control of it in some manner should they feel motivated to.

In previous posts there was mention that the US is planning a naval exercise in the Arctic this summer where they may attempt to test their ability to do this.
To test their ability to feed crabs? I never met a Septic, who was unable to do it.
 
The meeting of the Arctic Council has wound up, with the US apparently being diplomatically isolated on the key issue of climate change and the disproportionate effect is is having on the Arctic. www.cbc.ca/news/politics/arctic-council-pompeo-trump-climate-change-1.5126535?cmp=rss
For the first time ever, the council summit ended without a joint declaration because of the US refusing to endorse one the other countries found acceptable.
For the first time in history, an Arctic Council ministerial ended today without a joint declaration — capping off weeks of reports that the document was in jeopardy because of U.S. stonewalling on mentioning climate language in the final document.
Instead of a formal declaration, a one page "statement" was released with no mention of climate change.
Instead, a one-page Joint Ministerial Statement was released. In it, the Arctic nations pledged themselves to supporting the "[…}well-being of the inhabitants of the Arctic, to sustainable development and to the protection of the Arctic environment."
This year's head of the Arctic Council was Finland. The best the Fins could seem to say about it was that at least things weren't worse.
"All the problems and disagreements can't be solved in the one ministerial, but the main thing is everybody was here ... The result could have been much worse."
Groups representing the Arctic indigenous people normally participate in Arctic Council meetings and play a role in drafting the normal joint declaration. This time they were shut from the drafting of the "statement" and their views were not taken into account.
"The permanent participants usually have the opportunity to fully participate in the drafting and development of an Arctic Council declaration, where our views are fully endorsed and part of the bigger picture," Erasmus said, adding the closing statement was drafted without Indigenous participation. "(That is) not the common practice of the Arctic Council."
One policy analyst noted that the majority of the work of the Arctic Council stems directly or indirectly from climate change, and having the US block any mention of that will make things very difficult for the Arctic Council in future.
Timo Koivurova, director and research professor at the Arctic Centre at Finland's University of Lapland, said he believes in the resilience of the forum but the environmental policy of President Trump presents it with a serious challenge.

"The majority of work in the Arctic Council stems either directly or indirectly from climate change, and if the U.S. doesn't even want to have references to climate change in the declaration, that's going to mean very difficult years ahead."
In another story from the Arctic Council meeting, US foreign minister Pompeo called Canadian sovereignty over the internal waters of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago "illegitimate", in what may be the beginning of a break down in the compromise which had up to now allowed Canada and the US to work together on Arctic issues.
www.cbc.ca/news/world/climate-change-us-arctic-policy-1.5125715?cmp=rss
The Northwest Passage was also a point of contention at the summit. In a speech on Monday, Pompeo called Canada's claim over the Northwest Passage "illegitimate," language that was criticized as not reflecting the 1988 Arctic Co-operation Agreement that allows Canada and the U.S. to continue to agree to disagree on the issue.
Again, a direct comparison was made between Arctic Sea routes and the Panama and Suez Canals.
"Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new naval passageways and new opportunities for trade, potentially slashing the time it takes for ships to travel between Asia and the West by 20 days," he said in the speech, which was met with polite but muted applause.
"Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st-century's Suez and Panama Canals."
I will note that in both cases the canals resulted in outside powers, the US and the UK respectively, seizing control over the territory of other countries in order to exert control over strategic sea routes. The US are not quite at this stage in the Arctic, but they are making increasingly bellicose statements and show little regard for the concerns of other nations, even those of nominal allies.

The increasingly erratic and aggressive attitude of the US is beginning to appear rather worrisome from a Canadian perspective.
 
Belugas whales can remember 'dangerouse' boats and ships and 'useful' ones, they can even distinguish (and group) surface ships and submarines. Their understandings of 'friendship' is very different from human ones, so term 'friendly' is not correct. Their typical social organisation (in wild) are two different types: 1-3 adult (older 4-7 years) females with babies and 8-16 adult (older than 7-9 years) males, and human can not be nor "male friend", nor "leader of pack" (they dont understand leadership), nor "baby", neither even "prey".
Which would seem why they are having nothing to do with Russians. Because they are a bunch of wan*e*s.
 

Grey Fox

*Russian Troll*
Just for lulz:
Polish understanding of the Northen Strategy of NATO.
http://www.pism.pl/files/?id_plik=25696

Shortly: Everything is bad, Russia is agressive, prices on F-35 are high, number of them is little, poor northlings dont want to pay money for nothing and so on.
So, Poland, as experienced suicider, suggest its territory as main logistic center for building targets for Russian nukes.
 

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