As polar ice melts in the Arctic, the transit time for cargo being shipped between China and Europe is set to be significantly reduced – a massive economic advantage to those who would make the most of it, namely Russia. And this has now become the focus of a major arms build up by Russian forces.
A multinational task force is in operation in the Barents Sea, including a Royal Navy frigate, with a view to keeping international waters just that – international. Vladimir Putin sees the Arctic as being not only a source of potential wealth for Russia, but as having great strategic value militarily, and being key to restoring Russia’s role and influence as a super power. (For more on this, see this very readable and well-illustrated article),
We have had the ‘Iron Curtain’; now the West must consider how to respond to a new ‘Ice Curtain.’ The Daily Mail ran a headline last autumn that read, ‘The Very Cold War?’ President Putin continues to extend his military capability for example with new submarines, hypersonic torpedoes and other advanced weapon systems. THe following articles expound Russia’s new found military capabilities in the Arctic, see this article, article two and article three, plus these:
Satellite images show huge Russian military build up
As the US and Russia spar over the Arctic, Putin creates new facts on the ground
Remote Arctic out post – Norway keeps watch on Russia’s military build up
Russia begins build up of nuclear submarines
Apart from economic and military matters there are the serious environmental concerns that will follow such exploitation of the Arctic Region. This is a useful introduction to the subject.
Father, the Arctic is a gift to the world from You, and a vital part of your balancing of huge natural forces – but now that gift is in danger as global warming and both military and commercial exploitation undermine those balances and risk so much. We ask You to watch over it, and to overrule the toing and froing of the nations with regard to it. We commit its future to You in Jesus’ name.