Saturday, February 28, 2009

Will Armageddon start at the North Pole?

A rather nasty confrontation last week as some Russian Tupelovs were dancing around in the High Arctic. It's not clear whether the planes actually entered Canadian airspace or were going to be in a holdover pattern -- in any case, two Canadian F18's intercepted the Russians and turned them back. Naturally, the Russians denied they were anywhere near our airspace. The timing, just before the Obama visit, was more than just curious.

This has been going on for quite some time but it is one of the rare ocassions we've heard anything about it. Is Stephen Harper just playing tough guy, saying we're here to defend our land -- land which most of the world, including the US, says is in international waters?

Or could this be the beginning of a potentially larger and more serious confrontation? Either way, we need to be very careful. We definitely have to defend our land -- but this is a case where it's better that the provocatoins be kept to a minimum. As it is, right now the Arctic nations are mapping out their ocean continental shelves and could declare any extensions to be their sovereign territory. The Russian had a claim which was rejected but is being resubmitted, meanwhile Canada has until 2013 to assert its claim.

If the Arctic Ocean beyond the 200 mile limit of all states was, as was Antarctica, international territory, then there wouldn't be an issue -- and making it nuclear free would require some long range missiles to be reprogrammed to go around countries' latitutdes, not longtitudes; making them less of a threat and giving more time to respond in case of a false alarm or launch.

Of course, hail to the good men and women who brave subzero temperatures months at a time to be our first line of defence. Let us pray they never have to take down an enemy in anger.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.

No comments: