Expert opinion: USA lose to Russia in the race for the Arctic

While the FBI is examining ties between Russia and the election campaign of 2016 President Donald trump, it may seem that America’s relationship with its former enemy in the cold war can no longer be more complicated.

However, the dramatic changes taking place far from Washington and Moscow, adding something to the existing geopolitical migraines. In a study published today by the Council on foreign relations (Council on Foreign Relations) stated that the relationship between these two Nations are the main concern in a rapidly changing environment of the Arctic circle.

“Today, the Russian actions in the Arctic requires careful consideration — the authors of the report, and the increasing tension in us-Russian relations in other regions may affect relations in the Arctic.”

The Arctic is getting warmer and this happens two times faster than in other parts of our planet. As the retreat of the ice gradually opened the sea trade routes, deposits of hydrocarbons and fishery resources. Russia, China and other Nations are to the Arctic in the same way as they would treat any other geopolitical gold rush, they are trying to make the maximum access to its vast resources. In connection with the warming in the Arctic increase the risk of a cold snap in geopolitics.

Russia has made a head start in Arctic Affairs because of its geography and history, highlighted in this report. The length of the Russian coastline along the Northern sea route is almost 40 thousand kilometers. This route is not used often, but gradually, as warming in the region, it may be more commercial traffic between Europe and East Asia.

In addition, the Russian Arctic is more populated and industrialized than the us. For decades, the Soviet Union actively supported economic development in the Arctic region. Today, 95% of the huge natural gas reserves in Russia and 75% of oil is in this region that helps to create a fifth of the country’s GDP.

However, the Arctic policy of the United States since the end of the cold war focused on scientific, environmental and energy issues. “These themes continue to be important, — emphasized in the report — but increasing activity in other countries is forcing the United States to change its approach to politics in this region and make it more strategic.”

Independent parties organized by the Council for international Affairs discussion, chaired by the force commander of a Coast guard Ted Allen (Thad Allen) and the former head of the Agency for environmental protection Christine Whitman (Christine Todd Whitman) came to the conclusion that the United States is lagging behind in the international race to build icebreakers. They also “urged the U.S. Senate” to join the UN Convention on the law of the Sea. This Treaty is ratified by 160 States, it supported the administration of George W. Bush and Obama, but the U.S. Senate refused to ratify it. According to Whitman, the United States will be able to participate in the negotiations regarding access to resources only if they ratify the Treaty.

Republican senators, including current attorney General Geoff sessions (Jeff Sessions), oppose ratification of the UN Convention on the law of the sea. Since the United States is the dominant force in international waters after the Second world war, the signing of this agreement it would be similar to giving the high school student “unnecessary international permission not to attend classes,” wrote sessions and two colleagues in 2012.

In addition, the United States does not have deep-water ports in the region, which already have with other States or are currently under construction. Some of the available entry points (e.g., Nome in Alaska) probably too small and ill-equipped to meet the needs of Northern travellers, and even for security.

Understaffed and poorly equipped border can be used “by people wanting to cause us damage — said Whitman. — This is a very good place.”