While visiting Alaska and becoming the first American president to enter the Arctic Circle, President Obama announced Tuesday he would speed up the acquisition of icebreakers to help the U.S. Coast Guard navigate an area that Russia and China increasingly see as a new frontier.
The announcement is the latest power play in the Arctic north, where melting ice has led to a race for resources and access.
Forty percent of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves lie under the Arctic. Melting ice also would lead to new shipping routes, and Russia wants to establish a kind of Suez Canal which it controls. More than a Cold War, Russia may be preparing for an Ice War, and the Pentagon is taking note.
Last March, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a snap, full combat military exercise in Russia’s Arctic north to mark the anniversary of his annexation of Crimea — with 40,000 Russian troops, dozens of warships and submarines . . .
“We do not seek to make Russia an enemy,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said. “But make no mistake: while Vladimir Putin may be intent on turning the clock back in Russia, he cannot turn the clock back in Europe. We will defend our allies.” (Read more from “Ice War Cometh: Russia Preps for Conflict in Arctic as Obama Visits, Promises More US Icebreakers” HERE)