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