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Friday, March 26, 2010

Russian Newspaper on Canada and the Arctic Circle

Canada and Russia are experiencing a great deal of tension over exactly who controls what parts of the Arctic Ocean. This is Pravda's take on the situation:

What does Prime Minister Stephen Harper have in common with the Canadian Minister of Defence? He shares a sinister, hypocritical and belligerent discourse bordering on the lunatic fringe of the international community. Yet Canada’s new-found megalomania is the least of Russia’s worries: How can climate change in the Arctic threaten her national security?

From Canada, Russia has become used to seeing and hearing positions of sheer arrogance, unadulterated insolence and provocative intrusion. Take for example Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s declaration that Canada is “an Arctic Superpower” (what all thirteen of them?) and the idiotic reference by the Canadian Minister of Defence, Peter McKay, about Russian “overflights” outside Canadian airspace. How can you “overfly” outside?

What these statements hide is Canada´s nervousness at the fact that international law backs up Russia’s claim to a hefty slice of the Arctic and that international law will favour Russia in delineating the new Arctic boundaries. Inside Russia’s continental shelf lie huge deposits of gold, diamonds, nickel, cobalt and copper.

And to finish up with a nice threatening bit:

In the event of a showdown between Russia and Canada, it is obvious that Russia would win. Yet Canada is becoming more and more arrogant, feeling its back covered perhaps by Big Brother to the south. Maybe it is time for Canada to stick its nose into its own affairs and forget adventures which might bring it dire consequences.

I’m not so much scared by the implied threat as I am amused. Canada and Russia are highly unlikely to go to war (which would ultimately risk nuclear war via NATO). So what is the point of this article? Demonize foreign leaders and get Russians to forget about their own oppression?

As Boney M. once said:

Oh those Russians

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on March 26, 2010 | Permalink


If Canadians think that they can depend on the US to help them with their flaccid claims of Arctic sovereignty with Obama in office, good luck. Appeasement to "enemies" and treachery to "friends" is the the new normal. As George Jonas put it, Obama is in a continuous quasi-Marxist fog. Canada won't even be in the room when or if that negotiation takes place. These are dangerous times and Canada may live to regret the last 60 years of military-shrink to euro-weenie status, counting on the US to always be there. The Russian administration is contemptible but the above analysis is timely and somewhat accurate.

Until Americans wake up (and they appear to be doing so) to what they elected to Congress and the White House, all bets are off. In the meantime, Harper may have to strap on the old knee-cap roller blades during his next trip to the oval office.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-03-26 11:12:16 AM

Canada is largely counting on unclos (ratified by 150 countries). Beyond this Canada will defend its rightful ownership alone if necessary I have no doubt. This our right as a sovereign nation. Canada has a history of rising to the occasion when necessary. It is in all countries best interests to solve the territorial claims through science. Canadas arctic island ownership is undisputed and anchored in history by international law. Russia needs to base its claims beyond its 200 mile limit according to science. This is the science that will anchor all the arctic nations border extensions including the USA without a shot fired. The north west passage is an issue of passage only - not ownership. There are no islands in the Canadian archipelago that are much more than 100 miles apart. International law backs that waters of the archipelago are Canadian owned as they are all within our 200 mile limit. There are smaller areas of dispute based on geographic circumstance that warrant diplomacy and cooperation. I believe that Russia prefers to work within the science of geograpy. It has so much to gain in the arctic by doing this. canada is just improving its abilities on its own territory. If another country tries to take its deeded and historical territory canada will respond as we have a history of rising to the occaision. International law will have to prevail. There are too many countries and potential conflicts for it to work at all any other way. Conversely If the USA were to allow any Canadian territory to be taken they will loose out as well. Remember - canada is a friendly ally that the USA invests in for profit and resources. If you let Russia take it from canada then The USA will never have a chance to access it either. None of us should take a superior attitude but Canada will defend what is hers. This is our sovereign land - our home and our Country of which we owe our very exhistence to. It is a huge part of our identity. We are a true country in EVERY sense of the word.

Posted by: kerry | 2010-05-06 11:45:57 PM

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