USA’s 2011 National Military Strategy: We’ve got the power!
By Sergei Balmasov
February 10, 2011
The USA has unveiled the 2011 National Military Strategy for the first time in seven years. The strategy, as usual, serves for the preservation of the U.S. predominance in the world. The appearance of the document is based on recent major changes on the planet. The authors of the strategy pointed out a number of challenges for the United States in particular and for the Western civilization in general.
U.S. strategists claimed that the shortage of resources in the world may trigger territorial disputes, which poses a direct threat to American interests. They are also concerned about the fact that the national debt of the United States “poses a significant national security risk.”
All of that is aggravated with a whole list of unsolved problems, which have become even more serious during the recent years. First and foremost, “the world’s preeminent power” has not been able to defeat terrorism and extremism. The war in Afghanistan continues, and the fire of Afghan unrest is spreading into neighboring Pakistan. The strategists of the U.S. national security wrote that terrorists had nested on the Arabian Peninsula, in the countries of north-western Africa and in Somalia.
Nevertheless, the authors of the document said: “We will be prepared to find, capture, or kill violent extremists wherever they reside when they threaten interests and citizens of America and our allies.” Therefore, it is not ruled out that the world will soon witness the USA launching another military adventure in the above-mentioned territories.
Secondly, the USA is concerned about the rising powers, India and China, as well as other regional powerful countries. The Americans are especially worried about China and its defense preparations in the Taiwan Strait.
In this connection, the Pentagon is not going to reduce its attention to South Asia and the Far East. However, the USA does not exclude increasing its military presence in potentially dangerous directions. “With partner nation support, we will preserve forward presence and access to the commons, bases, ports, and airfields commensurate with safeguarding our economic and security interests worldwide,” the strategy runs. Here, it goes about such old allies as Japan and South Korea.
Thirdly, the nuclear proliferation issue remains unsolved as well. North Korea has proved the possession of nuclear weapons to the whole world. Iran is just about to do the same. “The prospect of multiple nuclear armed regimes in the Middle East with nascent security and command and control mechanisms amplifies the threat of conflict, and significantly increases the probability of miscalculation or the loss of control of a nuclear weapon to non-state actors,” the document says.
To solve the problem, Washington intends to support regional allies, like Iraq, to develop the missile defense system, which Russia vehemently objects to, and to take defense measures against those violating the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The USA must be prepared to eliminate sources of weapons of mass destruction, the document runs.
Fourthly, by 2025, Washington predicts serious destabilization in a number of developing states because of the ongoing demographic explosion. The population of those countries will grow by 1.2 billion people, which will lead to serious food and water problems. “Conversely, in Europe and parts of Asia, populations are projected to decline and age with long term impacts to the global share of their economic output. Population growth and urbanization in the Middle East, Africa, and South Central Asia will contribute to increased water scarcity and may present governance challenges,” the report says.
In other words, the American supremacy is facing many challenges on different continents. One shall pay attention to the following telling phrase: “In this multi-nodal world, the military’s contribution to American leadership must be about more than power – it must be about our approach to exercising power.”
Thus, the U.S. National Military Strategy must be flexible to take account of all serious changes in the world. That is why the USA must be prepared to dealing with modern-day challenges without allies’ help.
“Let us not forget, the Nation remains at war abroad to defend against and defeat threats to our homeland. Our foremost priority is the security of the American people, our territory, and our way of life.” “We will pursue deliberate acquisition process improvements and selective force modernization with the cost effective introduction of new equipment and technology,” the report says.
U.S. strategists point out the necessity to maintain high prestige of the U.S. Armed Forces. According to the document, the state must continue to pay increased attention to improving the well-being of its defenders. “Just as our Service members commit to the Nation when they volunteer to serve, we incur an equally binding pledge to return them to society as better citizens. We must safeguard Service members’ pay and benefits, provide family support, and care for our wounded warriors,” the report runs.
Needless to say that the Americans could not leave Russia out of their attention. On the one hand, the document declares the intention to develop military partnership, continue the reduction of arms and build security in Central Asia in cooperation with Russia. As for the Asian security, the Americans, most likely, are planning to get Russia involved in the Afghan war.
The new strategy also mentions more important things about Russia. For instance, the USA is going to continue its cooperation with Canada regarding the issues of regional security, such as the development of the Arctic region. It is an open secret that Russia claims its right on the Arctic shelf, which infuriates Canada in the first place.
Here is another, rather expressive statement: “NATO members act as a stabilizing force on its perimeter, which ranges from the Middle East and the Levant, Northern Africa, the Balkans, and the Caucasus.” One shall assume that the Americans will continue to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs.
The authors of the new National Military Strategy are certain that the USA will preserve its economic and defense power in the foreseeable future. The USA still places its stake on brutal military force, which, as the authors of the report say, will contribute to America’s security and prosperity in the 21st century.
[Blogmaster note: I saw this article come across the CBC feed and my first thought was “Bend over, Canada.” See Border talks ‘not about sovereignty:’ Harper, CBC News, 04.Feb.2011. The following commentary offers an interesting perspective on the agreement.]
Obama Creates World’s First Superstate With U.S.-Canada Merger
By Sorcha Faal
February 8, 2011
In a shocking coup d’état said to rival Nazi Germany’s 1938 Anschluss (German for “link-up”) of the Austrian Republic, the United States this past week effectively took control of Canada creating what is being called by Russian diplomatic officials as the world’s first 21st Century “Superstate”.
The United States announcement of this “merger” between these two North American nations was made February 4th by a posting on the WhiteHouse.Gov website of President Obama and which, in part, says:
Today, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have directed the creation of a United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), composed of senior regulatory, trade, and foreign affairs officials from both governments. In recognition of our $1 trillion annual trade and investment relationship, the RCC has a two-year mandate to work together to promote economic growth, job creation, and benefits to our consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination.
They have directed that the first meeting of the RCC be convened within 90 days by the relevant agencies in the United States and Canada.
Concealed in the “diplo-speak” wording of this historic agreement, however, is the complete overturning of the sovereignty of both the American and Canadian peoples laws and regulations they have lived under for centuries, but which will now be “melded” together with no votes allowed by either of them ever again.
The shock and uproar in Canada over their Prime Minister’s, Steven Harper, signing away their sovereignty to the United States is unprecedented, but the same cannot be said of the American people who, according to Canada’s National Post, have not been allowed to know about it, and as we can read from their article titled “The security perimeter imaginarium of Dr. Harper“, and which, in part, says:
The New York Times didn’t mention the Harper-Obama agreement (though it did quote some remarks the Prime Minister made about Egypt). There was a story inside the Wall Street Journal, but if any other U.S. media reported on the meeting and press conference, I can’t find it. There is no hint that the U.S. Congress is interested either.
Equally as shocking were the Canadian government’s deliberate actions to keep this merger secret from their own citizens, and as we can read as reported by the Toronto Star News Service in their article titled “Canada kept U.S. border talks under wraps” and which, in part, says:
The federal government deliberately kept negotiations on a border deal with Washington secret while it planned ways to massage public opinion in favour of the pact, according to a confidential communications strategy.
The 14-page public relations document recommended that talks keep a “low public profile” in the months leading up to the announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama. At the same time, the government would secretly engage “stakeholders” — interested parties such as big business groups and others — in a way that respected “the confidentiality of the announcement.”
In advance, the government departments involved — including industry, foreign affairs, international trade and citizenship and immigration — were to “align supportive stakeholders to speak positively about the announcement,” according to the strategy prepared by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ officials.
One of the “supportive stakeholders” in the merger of Canada with the U.S. is called the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), who in their statement supporting it said, “This is the kind of government action that we in the business community have been seeking for years“.
Canada’s Pacific Free Press, however, has slammed this merger for what it really is, a capitalist corporate takeover of both the United States and Canada, and as we can read as reported in their article titled “New Harper/Obama Border Deal about Corporate Power – Not Security and Trade“:
The Corporations behind this deal own the politicians who signed it, and the media that are telling us ‘how good it is’.
The CCCE is the secretive umbrella group that represents Corporate Canada. The CCCE is the banks, big oil, the drug companies and manufacturers and retailers and all the rest; the people and corporations who own our country. Many believe they ARE the government of Canada. They are the ones behind this deal.
Also in the Border Deal: A new ‘Council’ will ‘harmonize’ regulations between Canada and the United States (google: Regulatory Cooperation Council):
The Corporations want ONE SET of business-friendly rules for Canada and the United States, they want control of the rules and regulations that govern us, and that is what this deal is largely about.
Where is the Corporate Media? Where is the CBC? All silent – under Corporate orders.
Where are the Unions? The Environmental Groups? The Council of Canadians? The Social Groups. The other Political Parties? We are allowed to hear nothing from them either.
This powerful new agreement will further undermine our democracy, it is all about Corporate Power and Wealth.
Here in Victoria B.C., our main Corporate radio station, CFAX, tells us the new border deal will be good for security and trade and nothing to worry about. That is just Corporate Propaganda, but only that one message is put out.
The border deal will ‘protect us’ from terror. That’s how it’s being ‘sold’, but in fact we are getting in bed with the number one terrorist nation in the world today, the United States of America; a nation that is also bankrupt and may be nearing social upheaval. Even worse, this deal gives more power to Corporations which have neither heart nor soul and who will happily see us ruined if it means increased Profit for them; we know this because it is what they do everywhere in the world. Why is Stephen Harper signing us into secret deals with these lunatics?
The new agreement will make it easier to cross the border. This is the other selling point for the deal, but of course the ‘tightening’ of the Canada/U.S. border was done to give us ‘a problem’ that they are now going to solve with a new border around us – which was the Corporate Plan all along.
These are the kinds of games these lunatics play.
The great British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) once said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”, and which, sadly, appears to be the case with this historic merger between the U.S. and Canada as those who know and care won’t be heard, but those who do will reign in tyranny over those who live their lives in ignorance.
And yes it is true, and worth repeating, “These are the kinds of games these lunatics play.”
The following commentary is reprinted with permission from Global Research, Canada.
U.S. Imposed “Democracy” in Afghanistan
© John W. Warnock
Source: Global Research
September 21, 2010
Elections were held for the parliament in Afghanistan on September 18. Few Canadians were aware of this as there had been no coverage by our mass media. For geopolitical reasons, the U.S. government has been deeply involved in Afghanistan since the early 1970s. But Canada’s involvement in the war and economic development has been justified on the grounds that we are helping to build democracy. How has this been going?
There are many reasons why a liberal democratic political system has not been established since the U.S. invasion and overthrow of the Taliban regime in October 2001.
First, it is clear that the majority of the Afghan people wanted the return of the 1964 Constitution, which was established in a very open and democratic manner. But the U.S. government, backed by its allies, said no. Afghanistan had a constitutional parliamentary form of government; the new constitution, imposed on the people by the U.S. government and its allies, established a very strong, centralized presidential system of government.
For example, the president appoints provincial governors and mayors of cities. Would this be acceptable in Canada? In the United States?
Second, the U.S. government imposed Hamid Karzai on the Afghan people. They carefully chose the delegates to the original Bonn meeting in 2001. The five major democratic coalitions asked for representation, but the U.S. government said no. But the delegates chosen actually voted for Abdul Satar Sirat for interim president. He represented those who wanted a return to the constitutional monarchy. The U.S. government said no. The new interim president had to be Karzai, who had been a key agent for the U.S. government in transferring funds to the mujahideen during the civil war against the leftist government and their Soviet allies. No funds would go to Afghanistan unless Karzai was president.
Third, the dominant political parties in Afghanistan today are the current versions of the radical Islamist organizations which were supported by the U.S. and Saudi Arabian governments during the civil war. But there are a good number of progressive democratic parties, alliances and coalitions which are trying to build links across ethnic, religious and regional lines. They strongly oppose the warlords and drug lords who have so much power in the present Afghanistan. The U.S. and Canadian governments have blocked their development and participation in the political system.
Fourth, the Afghan people wanted all the warlords, drug lords and those responsible for human rights abuses over the past 20 years to be excluded from holding office and participating in politics. Instead they are in key positions in the Karzai government and dominate the parliament. They passed a law giving themselves immunity from prosecution for crimes which occurred over this period.
The Afghan government states that around 17 million Afghans were registered to vote in the parliamentary election. There were 2,600 candidates standing for the 249 seats in the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house. The electoral system in operation requires all candidates to run on a province wide basis, using the single transferable ballot. Few candidates were known to voters. There are now 108 political parties officially registered, but since the first election, President Hamid Karzai, backed by the U.S. and NATO governments, has refused to allow them to officially run candidates. Only individual names are on the ballot, not political identification. Would such an electoral system be acceptable in Canada?
The democratic political parties petitioned the Karzai government asking for proportional representation and electoral districts based on population, as had been used in the past. This was rejected. They also oppose the present system, where women must vote at separate polling stations, and the number is very limited and non-existent in many areas.
Because of the general disillusionment with this political system, the turnout in the Presidential election in 2009 was only around 35% of eligible voters. Corruption and fraud were widespread. The main opposition candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, refused to participate in the required run off election, declaring that a fair election was impossible with Karzai as President. Early reports are that less than 20% of eligible voters cast a ballot in the parliamentary election. There are widespread reports of fraud.
Canadians have contributed a great deal in many ways to the U.S. project in Afghanistan. Have the results been worth the sacrifice?
John W. Warnock is author of “Creating a Failed State: The U.S. and Canada in Afghanistan”. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2008.
The following commentary is reprinted with permission from Rick Rozoff.
Canada Opens Arctic To NATO, Plans Massive Weapons Buildup
© Rick Rozoff
August 29, 2010
The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently concluded the largest of a series of so-called Canadian sovereignty exercises in the Arctic, Operation Nanook, which ran from August 6-26.
Harper, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces General Walter Natynczyk visited the nation’s 900 troops participating in the “Canadian Forces’ largest annual demonstration of Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic” which included “Canada’s air force, navy, coast guard… testing their combat capabilities in the frigid cold.”
Nanook military exercises were commenced in 2007 when Russia renewed its claims to parts of the Arctic and resumed air patrols in the region after an almost twenty year hiatus. They are complemented by two other Canadian military drills in the region, Operation Nunalivut in the High Arctic and Operation Nunakput in the western Arctic.
Canada is formally involved in territorial disputes with two other Arctic claimants: The United States over the Beaufort Sea lying between Canada’s Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory and the American state of Alaska, and Denmark over the Hans Island between Canada’s Ellesmere Island and Denmark’s Greenland possession on the other end of the Arctic.
Four of the five nations with Arctic claims, all except Russia, are founders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization whose charter commits member states to mutual military assistance.
With the melting of the polar ice cap and the opening of the fabled Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans for the first time in recorded history, the scramble for the Arctic – reported to contain 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 13 percent of undiscovered oil according to last year’s U.S. Geological Survey – is under way in earnest. The military value of the navigability of the passage is of even greater and more pressing significance.
The George W. Bush administration’s National Security Presidential Directive 66 of January 12, 2009 states:
“The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.”
The U.S. insists that the Northwest Passage is open to international navigation while Canada claims it as solely its own. Yet Ottawa has accommodated Washington at every turn while persisting in saber-rattling comments and actions alike vis-a-vis Russia.
Sixteen days after the release of the White House’s Arctic directive of last year NATO conducted a two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in Iceland attended by the military bloc’s secretary general, its two top military commanders and the chairman of its Military Committee, and stated that “Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance.”
Although Canada’s territorial disputes in the Arctic are with fellow NATO members the U.S. and Denmark, the three nations have recently coordinated their strategies and in this year’s Operation Nanook have for the first time collectively participated in military exercises in the Arctic region.
In mid-July NATO’s chief European military commanders, Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and General Sir John McColl, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, arrived in the Canadian capital at the invitation of the nation’s military chief, General Walter Natynczyk. The three consulted on “how to take the Alliance forward” and Stavridis “conveyed his latest appraisal of NATO’s progress in Afghanistan and commended Canada on its contributions to NATO’s efforts around the world.”
Canadian Defence Minister MacKay stated almost two years ago: “We are concerned about not just Russia’s claims through the international process, but Russia’s testing of Canadian airspace and other indications… (of) some desire to work outside of the international framework. That is obviously why we are taking a range of measures, including military measures, to strengthen our sovereignty in the North.”
A year ago Canada and the U.S. conducted a 42-day joint Arctic expedition to survey the continental shelf for future bilateral demarcation, following a more modest effort along the same lines in 2008 and followed this year by one with U.S. and Canadian ships from August 7 to September 3. The latter was announced two weeks after a Russian research vessel left St. Petersburg on a mission to delimit the borders of Russia’s Arctic continental shelf.
The U.S. State Department described the purpose of this year’s expedition: “The mission will help delineate the outer limits of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean for the U.S. and Canada, and will also include the collection of data in the disputed area where the U.S. and Canada have not agreed to a maritime boundary.” It is being held in the Canada Basin, the Beaufort Shelf, and the Alpha Mendeleev Ridge. The last, along with the Lomonosov Ridge, is the basis of Russian Arctic claims.
On May 14 Canada and Denmark signed a military agreement, a memorandum of understanding pledging to collaborate more closely in the Arctic “through enhanced consultation, information exchange, visits, and exercises,” according to the Canadian Forces. The preceding month Denmark deployed a unit to participate in the Operation Nunalivut exercise in the High Arctic.
The Royal Danish Navy sent the HDMS Vaedderen ocean patrol vessel and the HDMS Knud Rasmussen offshore patrol vessel to join the recently concluded Nanook 10 exercises, where they were joined by the U.S. Second Fleet’s naval destroyer USS Porter and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder “for the purpose of exercising and increasing… interoperability with Arctic allies.”
As for the Canadian contribution, “The Air Force [provided] air movement and mission support through the CC-177 Globemaster III, CC-130 Hercules, CP-140 Aurora, CH-146 Griffon, and CC-138 Twin Otter aircraft.
“The maritime component [included] Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Montreal, Glace Bay and Goose Bay; and Canadian Coast Guard Ships CCGS Des Groseilliers and CCGS Henry Larsen.”
Military personnel involved included “About 900 Canadian troops [who patrolled] parts of the Eastern and Northern Arctic by air, land and sea.” Another “600 military personnel from the Danish Royal Navy, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard are also [took] part in the operation.”
In the words of Lieutenant Commander Albert Wong of Canada Command, “They’re our allies. Collaboration is part of what Canada does.”
This year’s exercise was based in Resolute Bay in the Nunavut federal territory where the Harper government is building a new army Arctic warfare training center in Resolute and a deep-sea port for the Nanisivik Naval Facility to be constructed on Baffin Island. Canadian Navy Lieutenant Commander Robert Houle said before the event that “2010’s military operation will push further north than in past years.” That is, north of the Arctic Circle for the first time.
“The U.S. Navy 2nd Fleet, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Danish Navy… joined in the war games in an effort to enhance the allies’ capabilities to cooperate in Arctic waters.”
In fact the NATO allies collaborated to an unprecedented degree, as “Danish and American vessels” conducted “ocean exercises throughout eastern Nunavut.”
After visits by Canada’s defense and military chiefs to inspect the multinational war games, Prime Minister Harper arrived in Resolute on August 25, the penultimate day of the 20-day military maneuvers, to – in the words of one of the nation’s main news agencies – rally the 1,500 Canadian, American and Danish troops present.
Harper’s visit to inspect the exercise occurred only hours after another – potentially dangerous – publicity stunt by his government: Dispatching CF-18 fighter jets (variants of the American F/A-18 Hornet) to allegedly ward off two Russian Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear) strategic bombers patrolling off Canada’s northern border, “something the Russian military does frequently.”
Harper’s press secretary, Dimitri Soudas, said “the two CF-18 Hornet fighters visually identified the two Russian aircraft approximately 120 nautical miles north of Inuvik in Northwest Territories,” over international waters.
The timing of the Canadian action, as that of its announcement, was calculated. As was a comparable incident in February of 2009 when then recently installed U.S. President Barack Obama paid his first visit abroad to Ottawa, to meet with Harper, and his host scrambled warplanes to intercept a Russian Tu-95 bomber – on a routine mission thousands of kilometers from the Canadian capital – in a show of bravado and of loyalty to his ally south of the border.
“The Russians said then the plane never encroached on Canadian airspace and that Canada had been told about the flight beforehand.”
Last year Canada’s prime minister and defence minister made the following comments:
Harper: “We have scrambled F-18 [CF-18] jets in the past, and they’ll always be there to meet them.”
MacKay: “When we see a Russian Bear [Tu-95] approaching Canadian air space, we meet them with an F-18.”
A few days before Operation Nanook began, July 28, Canada also deployed CF-18 fighters against Russian Tu-95 bombers “as debate rage[d] over whether Canada needs the next generation of fighter jets to replace the nearly 30-year-old CF 18s. The Harper government has committed to buying 65 F-35 stealth fighters at a cost of $9 billion. Critics have said such Cold War-type jets are no longer needed.”
The same source provided background information concerning what is being fought over:
“Canada is in a race with Russia and other Arctic nations to lay claim to the frozen territory that may hold untold treasures.
“Geologists believe the Arctic shelf holds vast stores of oil, natural gas, diamonds, gold and minerals. A 2007 Russian intelligence report predicted that conflict with other Arctic nations is a distinct possibility, including military action ‘in a competition for resources.'”
Regarding the later occurrence on August 24, “The Prime Minister’s Office used the incident to promote Ottawa’s plan to buy 65 stealth fighter jets for $16 billion.”
The discrepancy in (Canadian) dollar amounts is attributable to Ottawa’s attempt in May to underestimate the actual cost of the purchase when Defence Minister MacKay said “There is eye-watering technology now available, and a fifth-generation fighter aircraft will be brought to Canada after the year 2017.”, but failed to disclose the total cost.
When in-service support and other additional outlays are included, the total package will be $16 billion, according to a major Canadian newspaper “one of the most expensive military equipment purchases ever.”
In fact the F-35 Lightning II fifth generation stealth fighter project also has been estimated to be “the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program” at a cost of $323 billion for 2,443 of the warplanes.
Last month Defence Minister MacKay confirmed that Canada will buy 65 of the Joint Strike Fighters. At the same time Ottawa announced that the $3 billion Joint Support Ship project will be restarted, as “the military [wants] Joint Supply Ships to be capable of carrying army vehicles and to provide support to ground forces ashore. The ships would also have an air-force element on board, having helicopters and repair facilities for those aircraft. A hospital would also be included on the vessels.”
On August 25 Dmitri Soudas, Harper’s director of communications, trumpeted the news of the non-encounter between Canadian and Russian military aircraft and laid the bravado on thickly – and not without a purpose. His comments included:
“Thanks to the rapid response of the Canadian Forces, at no time did the Russian aircraft enter sovereign Canadian airspace.
“The Harper Government has ensured our Forces have the tools, the readiness and the personnel to continue to meet any challenges to Canadian sovereignty with a robust response.
“This is true today, it will be true tomorrow and it will be true well into the future.
“The CF-18 is an incredible aircraft that enables our Forces to meet Russian challenges in our North. That proud tradition will continue after the retirement of the CF-18 fleet as the new, highly capable and technologically-advanced F-35 comes into service. It is the best plane our Government could provide our Forces, and when you are a pilot staring down Russian long range bombers, that’s an important fact to remember.”
The Associated Press reported on the above statement that “Soudas noted… Canada’s recent purchase of 65 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets from U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp. The $8.5 billion purchase, one of the biggest military equipment purchases in the country’s history, was due to be debated at a parliamentary defense committee hearing on Wednesday. [August 25, the date of Soudas’ comments]. The jets will replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of CF-18s.”
According to a Canadian journalist:
“This week… we learned that the Cold War is not, in fact, over and that Russia remains an active threat in the north… Harper’s press spokesman, noted Sovietologist Dimitri Soudas, explicitly turned the Russian flyby into an argument for a $16-billion, sole-sourced upgrade of Canada’s fighter-plane fleet.”
Canada requires an adversary to justify large-scale arms acquisitions. In the past three years it has bought and leased 120 Leopard tanks from Germany and the Netherlands for the war in Afghanistan. It has purchased and used Israeli-made Heron drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) for the same war theater and beyond, one of which crashed near a military base in Alberta last month knocking out power lines.
It has also acquired Chinook, Griffon and Mi-8 helicopters for NATO’s war in South Asia, where it has deployed 2,830 troops and where 151 of its soldiers have been killed.
The Polar Epsilon spaced-based satellite project is being developed for the Arctic, and while in Resolute Bay on Wednesday Prime Minister Harper reiterated that the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, a three-spacecraft fleet of satellites that is the centerpiece of Polar Epsilon, “will provide the Canadian military with daily coverage of Canada’s land mass and ocean approaches ‘from coast-to-coast-to-coast, especially in the Arctic.'”
In June defense chief MacKay disclosed that Canada will spend over $30 billion “to build 28 large vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard and navy, as well as 100 smaller ships.”
Canada is, as NATO’s top military commander Admiral Stavridis remarked in Ottawa last month, providing the Western military bloc and the Pentagon indispensable services around the world. In the Arctic as much as if not more than anywhere else.
Canada: Battle Line In East-West Conflict Over The Arctic
Encroachment From All Compass Points: Canada Leads NATO
Confrontation With Russia In North
Loose Cannon And Nuclear Submarines: West Prepares For Arctic Warfare
Canada: In Service To The Pentagon And NATO At Home And Abroad
1) Xinhua News Agency, August 7, 2010
2) Agence France-Presse, August 25, 2010
3) NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
Stop NATO, February 2, 2009
5) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, July 11, 2010
6) Canwest News Service, September 12, 2008
7) Russian Information Agency Novosti, July 27, 2010
8) Nunatsiaq News, May 24, 2010
9) Xinhua News Agency, August 7, 2010
10) CTV, August 25, 2010
11) Nunatsiaq News, June 16, 2010
12) CBC News, August 3, 2010
13) Agence France-Presse, August 25, 2010
14) CBC News, August 18, 2010
15) Canadian Press, August 25, 2010
16) CTV, August 25, 2010
17) Xinhua News Agency, August 25, 2010
18) Associated Press, August 25, 2010
19) Encroachment From All Compass Points: Canada Leads NATO
Confrontation With Russia In North
Stop NATO, August 5, 2009
20) Toronto Sun, Quebec Media, Inc. Agency, July 30, 2010
22) CTV, August 25, 2010
23) Canwest News Service, May 28, 2010
24) Ottawa Citizen, July 12, 2010
25) PBS Newshour, April 21, 2010
26) Ottawa Citizen, July 12, 2010
27) CBC News, August 25, 2010
28) Associated Press, August 25, 2010
29) Susan Riley, The Russians aren’t coming
Ottawa Citizen, August 27, 2010
30) Agence France-Presse, August 25, 2010
31) Xinhua News Agency, June 4, 2010
Rick Rozoff publishes the blog, Stop NATO.
The following analysis is by RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashin. Reprinted with permission from RIA Novosti, Moscow.
Scuffling for Arctic boundaries
© RIA Novosti
By Andrei Fedyashin
July 30, 2010
On July 28, the Akademik Fyodorov research vessel sailed out from Arkhangelsk and is heading to the Arctic on a 100-day expedition aiming to demarcate the Russian continental shelf.
On August 3, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a research icebreaker, and the icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent, the flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard, will also chart a course for the same region with the same objectives.
With all these expeditions, the demarcation of Arctic boundaries is getting underway in earnest.
In August 2007, the Akademik Fyodorov, kitted out with the latest sounding and seismic-reconnaissance equipment, sailed to the North Pole with two deep-sea mini-submarines (Mir-1 and Mir-2) on board. The submarines descended to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean where they dropped a metal capsule containing a Russian flag.
Moscow said the underwater Lomonosov Ridge, which extends through the North Polar Region, was actually a geological extension of Russia’s Siberian continental plate, thus allowing Russia to lay claim to the region under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The United States and Canada, which are Russia’s Arctic neighbors, were more annoyed than scared, by such statements all of which need to be backed up by underwater drilling, seismic reconnaissance, geophysical data and precise measurements.
The Akademik Fyodorov will accomplish all these objectives. This, and subsequent expeditions, are aimed at collecting data so an official Russian claim to the Arctic shelf can be filed with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in 2013. A similar Russian claim, submitted in 2001, was turned down as lacking scientific substantiation. Apart from Russia, Norway is the only Arctic country to file a similar claim, which it did in 2006.
The current expedition comprises experts from the National Research Institute of Oceanography, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), the Research Institute of Navigation and Hydrography, the Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. It is escorted by the nuclear-powered icebreaker Yamal. The project is quite serious. If Russian arguments prove correct, then Moscow would establish control over a 1.2 million square kilometer sector, and would also receive exclusive rights to develop the colossal hydrocarbon deposits in the Chukchi Peninsula – Murmansk – North Pole triangle. This is worth struggling for.
It should be noted that all the Arctic countries became quite excited about the prospect of dividing up the Snow Queen’s Territory, after they learned it contains huge hydrocarbon and other deposits. The United States Geological Survey, an agency of the U.S. Department of Interior, estimates that the Arctic shelf may contain over 25% of undiscovered global oil and gas deposits. Their volumes may even dwarf those of the already explored Saudi Arabian hydrocarbon deposits, making them seem like a barrel of kvass (Russian bread drink) next to an Olympic swimming pool.
But all these oil and gas deposits still have to be located and exploited. This is a very expensive undertaking. Still we should consider the fact that the Arctic is getting warmer and melting faster than any other region of the world. Given this trend, the Northwest Passage, the shortest route linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the Canadian Arctic, could be opened for all-year-round navigation in the next ten to 15 years, or maybe even earlier. This would halve the distance between Europe and Japan. This seems quite a realistic prospect, all the more so if we consider the ambient air temperatures. It is therefore not surprising that the world has become fascinated with geographical explorations, and that our Arctic neighbors, and other countries, are rushing to demarcate their territories.
It is surprising how many countries are lining up in front of the Arctic gateway. No one will have the guts to prevent China, openly striving to enter the region, from accessing the freezing Polar region’s riches. No other scenario seems possible at a time when the division of colossal Arctic resources is being gradually prioritized. Sea routes in northern Canada and Russia are now open for navigation longer than usual due to global warming. All-year-round navigation along these routes would reduce the distance between China and Germany, China and the U.S. East Coast by 6,000-7,000 km in either direction.
Beijing has already realized this, and is preparing to operate in an ice-free Arctic by starting to convert its scientific Arctic programs into applied research. China’s Xue Long (Snow Dragon) icebreaker, the largest conventional icebreaker in the world, already sails to the Arctic. Built in Ukraine in 1993, it is the first Chinese ship in this class and has now been completely overhauled.
China lacks any legal grounds for claiming the right to own parts of the Arctic continental shelf, but would like to see littoral states improve the relevant legal framework, stipulate clear and understandable navigation rules and demarcate regional boundaries, oil and gas fields, and so on. This would allow the world’s largest economy to invest lavishly in regional projects and conduct export-import operations.
Russia, Canada, the United States, Denmark and Norway have always prioritized ownership of Arctic Ocean territories and will now be expected to present their official claims. But this will prove more difficult than discovering the North Pole in the first place, because their concepts of Arctic-demarcation are as different from each other as the tip of the iceberg is from its real dimensions.
Canada has always proposed the sectoral principle, with Russia supporting this concept until 2001. Ottawa believes that regional borders should pass from the most northerly national territories along meridians all the way to the North Pole. In that case, the Arctic would be divided like the top of a watermelon. Russia would receive the largest chunk measuring about 5.8 square kilometers and would be followed by Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway and the United States.
However, this principle does not suit Washington which has so far failed to ratify the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and which ignores its restrictions.
The United States is demanding the right to control territories stretching 600 nautical miles from Alaska to the North Pole and proposes retaining a three million sq. km. “no man’s land” on the top of the world where everyone would be able to catch fish and extract mineral resources.
Denmark probably voices the most unusual claim to the Arctic region. Copenhagen would like to demarcate local borders in accordance with equidistant lines from claimant-country coasts. As Greenland is located closer to the North Pole than any other regional territory, Denmark would be able to control the top of the world, as well as a sector almost as large as the Canadian Arctic.
Andrei Fedyashin is a political commentator for RIA Novosti. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
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