«The United States made a series of decisions aimed at changing the balance in the Arctic, because after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the region became crucial for global security. For us today, the Arctic is a top priority,” a high-ranking representative in the State Department for European and Eurasian Affairs told us ten days ago. The obvious step is surely the one announced by Washington yesterday to appoint an ambassador plenipotentiary for the Arctic.
The statement came just hours after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described the increased activity of Russian submarines and warships in the Arctic Ocean as a “significant threat”, particularly due to the presence of new hypersonic missiles. The United States has always underestimated Moscow’s plans, both military (there are almost three thousand Russian nuclear warheads on the border with Norway and thus with NATO) and energy exploitation in the Arctic, just as it did not oppose China’s ambitions. The development of the Polar Silk Road.
But now they are rushing to catch up, especially in the race to seize rare earth elements (those essential elements of technology for use in war and green energy production), which, for example, Greenland holds 30% of the world’s reserves. Washington recently opened an Inuit diplomatic office, and Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos (through a complex international lobbying activity) acquired rights to exploit the largest rare earth deposits in northwest Greenland. In Alaska, two ports for civilian and military use are planned to be built in Nome, on the Bering Strait, where the US-Russia border is located, and where Chinese traffic to and from the Russian Arctic in a matter of a few months has increased by 60 percent. . , increasingly navigable along the Northern Sea Route, the Northern Sea Route, a strategy for transporting Russian oil and gas eastward that is abandoned by the West in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
“The Arctic is Vladimir Putin’s ATM,” the source at the State Department told us. In fact, what was the last frontier became the first. The region that, according to NASA, is warming at a rate four times higher than the global average is also the region that contains a third of the world’s fossil fuel reserves, most of which are available in the Kremlin.
Conflict between Russia and the United States is more possible today than it was in the days of the Cold War. This was understood by a violent back-and-forth at the end of May. “We will break the teeth of anyone who thinks of challenging our sovereignty in the Arctic,” Putin said in St Petersburg. A few days later, Joe Biden replied: “The Arctic is changing drastically and dramatically. Today we see a potential struggle with Russia for its hegemony.”
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