Russia and the US in the Arctic - It's not Even a Race

Think of it this way - Russia possesses 27 ice breakers, the US has 1

Thu, Nov 12, 2015
MORE: Politics
Russia is so far ahead of the US in the Arctic, so the idea of a competition or a new race to conquer the Arctic simply doesn’t exist, James Carden, executive editor at the American Committee for East-West Accord told RT.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the global race for Arctic’s resources is already in action, and that “economic riches tend to attract military interest” in the region.

RT: John Kerry said economic riches tend to attract military interests when talking about the Arctic. What does this statement tell us about America's intentions in the region?

James Carden: I’m not sure it can tell us very much. It seems to me that Mr. Kerry is implying that the US ought to get into a sort of energy race in the Arctic. That doesn’t seem to me to be a particularly wise policy given the fact that we are - compared to Russia - very, very far behind. Russia possesses, I believe, 27 ice breakers; we [US] have one which is about 40 years old. So I don’t really suspect that the US has wherewithal to compete with Russia over energy resources in the Arctic, nor do I think we should.

RT: John Kerry said there is a potential for a global race in the Arctic. Is there a new Arctic race perhaps on the horizon?

JC: No, I don’t believe that there is. In order for there to be a competition, there has to be a sort of equality between the sides. As I just mentioned, Russia is so far ahead of the US in the Arctic. The idea of a competition or a new race to conquer the Arctic simply doesn’t exist.

Let me put it to you this way: the US is an Arctic nation only by virtue of Alaska. Alaska has a population of slightly over 700,000 people. We are a nation of 320 million people. So the idea that the US is actually an Arctic nation strikes many of us, at least from where I sit in the New York suburbs is quite interesting. So no, I don’t believe that there is going to be a competition.

RT: Earlier both Kerry and Obama spoke about working with other nations in the Arctic. Was it a smokescreen, was a military race being planned all this time? What do you see in store for the Arctic's future?

JC: Well, Kerry’s comments I think should trouble some of the administration’s supporters, because the President just made a very courageous decision to not pursue the Keystone oil pipeline that would run oil from Canada through the US. And it seemed to me that that was a particularly good step in the fight against climate change. It seems to me a sort of a paradox that the State Department is now pivoting and suddenly concerned with natural resources extraction, when the President just knocked out the keystone pipeline.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.



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