Headline June 15th, 2012 / Coup De Theatre

"Coup De Theatre"

The arconauts returned to hero's welcome in Moscow but the reception was cooler elsewhere in the world, especially in the four other countries with Arctic coastlines: the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark.''This isn't the 15th Century.'' Protested Peter MacKay, Canada's Foreign Minister.

All this outrage may have been a bit overdone. Frederick Cook planted an American flag on the North Pole in 1908, and Robert Peary did the same thing an year later. Like much of what happens on the world stage -and all that is likely to happen in the future- this expedition and all the diplomatic flap it caused, was really about one thing only. Oil!!!

 By many estimates, 25 percent of the world's remaining fossil-fuel reserves are buried under the Arctic Ocean. With the ice cap shrinking by 28,000 square miles a year, and gigantic pools of open water appearing as it splits, the possibility of getting at them is improving daily.

Meanwhile, oil supplies are dwindling, and prices are rising to historic highs, making expensive oil exploration more and more worthwhile. It all adds up to a renewed interest in the Arctic---the last large piece of non-jurisdictional real estate on the planet, which went of the screen when cold war ended. Now there is a new great game on. 

According to an obscure clause in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the law of the sea, if you can prove that your continental shelf extends beyond the 200 nautical miles that signatory states with coastlines are automatically entitled to, you have sovereign rights to its oil, gas and minerals. 

The Russian Arctic claim hinges on an underwater formation called the 'Lomonosov Ridge' which runs 1240 miles from Siberia through the North Pole and Greenland, and which Russia says is an extension of its shelf. Actually, it is claiming only half of the ridge, the half on its side of the Pole. 

This has made the whole of the rest of the world nervous. Much of Europe depends on Russia's natural gas and the Kremlin has already turned the faucet off once, on Ukraine, and threatened to do the same to Belarus. If it starts tapping the Arctic deposits, Russia will rise back to Superpower status and may become the world's dominant energy supplier. 

There would then be a Fifth Russian Empire, presided over by the autocratic and ever leading, Putin! And also remember that Twenty Percent of Russia Lies above the Arctic Circle!! Oh, dear! 

With many thanks to !WOW! See you on the next Post.

Good Night And God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - The Voice Of The Voiceless


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