« Russia's Land Grab | Main | Law & Order »

Land, ho?

Earlier, Kim posted about Russia deciding to annex a portion of the North Pole. The article she cited was both fascinating and ominous, as numerous commenters also noted, but I have to say that I am not in the least concerned about Russia and land-grabbing at the North Pole.

Why not, you might ask?


Unlike the South Pole, there is no dry land under the arctic ice. It's one giant, humongous, ice cube floating around the top of the globe. Under the ice is ocean, and below that is sea bed. Yeah, technically it's still "land," but it isn't dry land.

So if Al Gore's worst nightmares come true and the polar ice caps melt, there will be no new continent ready for colonizing, no natural resources exposed to exploit.

I'm trying to figure out just what was behind Putin's move to annex the North Pole. Back during the Cold War, it might have made a certain strategic sense, as the United States sent its nuclear missile submarines up there to keep them on their toes. Also, it was the prime route for our bombers in case we ever did have reason to attack them. If they could establish their borders that much farther north, our ability to train and threaten would have been diminished.

But those days are largely over. We simply don't have the ready assets to make such moves. A large of our nuclear arsenal has been dismantled, and the rest is nowhere near as ready to use as in the bad old days.

The only thing that makes sense is that it's an ego play. Putin did it for domestic consumption, to remind people of the halcyon days of the Soviet empire, when the world trembled at their every move.

Regardless, it should not be passively accepted. As noted in Kim's article, there are long-established treaties that all nations keep their grubby hands off the polar regions (and, for that matter, the Moon). They are held in trust for all nations and all peoples, and the last thing we need is another colonial rush era.

Although the cynic in me does find a certain appeal in the notion of a fictional-land rush, and hope that the US puts in pre-emptive claims on Shangri-La, Neverland, and Qo'noS.

Update: I really need to read more carefully first thing in the morning. There are, as both the original article and Kim's piece clearly stated, sound strategic reasons for Russia to make this move. I got too wrapped up in the "surreal estate" angle and had way, way too much fun with it. Also, it led to Robert The Original's brilliant channeling of Jay Ward.

Oh, and Lee? Thanks, but no thanks. I tried e-mailing with you, and it went nowhere. I got sick of dealing with Civilized Lee in e-mail and Typical Lee in public. These days, I wouldn't piss on you if your head was on fire.


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Comments (45)

Probably some big source of... (Below threshold)

Probably some big source of hydrocarbons out there (outside of the normal 200 mile limit).

A bunch of oil and natural gas, or maybe something exotic like methane clathrates.

Maybe Putin wants to seize ... (Below threshold)

Maybe Putin wants to seize Santa's workshop.

Natasha: What we do, now C... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Natasha: What we do, now Cold War done?
Boris: Cold War done? Who say?
Natasha: Everybody say, Cold War over.
Boris: Not over, new name.
Natasha: What name?
Boris: Now called look-into-soul contest.
Natasha: But KGB gone.
Boris: KGB gone in name only, always change name, MVD, NKVD - still kill people in new ways.
Natasha: Old Pravda is gone.
Boris: So is all press against Putin
Natasha: Nukes?
Boris: Still make big talk against Europe.
Natasha: Free economical system?
Boris: Just grabbed the oil companies.
Natasha: So it like Japanese on small island, still fighting after 20 years?
Boris: Right.
Natasha: Somebody should send memo.
Boris: You send memo, not me. Putin kill me with nonexistent KGB.

Robert the Original, that's... (Below threshold)
John in CA:

Robert the Original, that's just funny...

From some areas of the wor... (Below threshold)

From some areas of the world the shortest way to fly from West to East is over the North Pole. Maybe for strategic reasons he wants to control that airspace. You already mentioned this in the post and I would guess it's the most likely reason. If he's serious about it.

Russia needs a new place to... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Russia needs a new place to send exiles. Siberia is getting to be such a cliche'.

<a href="http://bullwinkle.... (Below threshold)
In one word, oil. They eith... (Below threshold)

In one word, oil. They either think or know that there is oil there. So they will barge in with ice cutter ships and oil rigs and spoil more pristine, if melting, floating arctic territory.

The quick we find eco-friendly non-fossil fuels the better. Otherwise World War III is one the way. --Pomerol

I work in the Pentagon at t... (Below threshold)

I work in the Pentagon at the NMCC (National Military Command Center), and launching nuclear counter attacks is what we do, and you might me surprised on just what we are still capable of.

Someday, JJ, I want a surpl... (Below threshold)

Someday, JJ, I want a surplus Polaris in my backyard.

Actually, I do. There's on... (Below threshold)

Actually, I do. There's one just over the hill in a nearby park. They probably saved our ass in the second half of the Twentieth Century. They were the 'Assured' part of MAD.

Tsar Putin I is just trying... (Below threshold)

Tsar Putin I is just trying to make people think he's going to bring back the good old days of the USSR. Most Russians seem to remember the world "respecting" (fearing) them, but don't seem to remember the lines for bread and shoelaces.

"Do you have any chicken today?"
"You're in the wrong store, this is the store that's out of shoelaces, the store that's out of chicken is across the street."

The funny part? The media and the Russians will actually think that Russia is capable of a new Cold War, when they lost the last one even though they were raping half the world in an attempt to keep up.
Although, I bet it's not that funny if you're in Poland or Estonia.

Right, Veeshir, and depende... (Below threshold)

Right, Veeshir, and dependent on GazProm.

Yeah, this is just what Rus... (Below threshold)

Yeah, this is just what Russia needs, because you can never have enough barren, frozen wilderness.

You couldn't be more wrong,... (Below threshold)

You couldn't be more wrong, Jay. With the ice melt that's occurring in the arctic more and more of those seas are becoming navigable, and there is a high strategic value to controlling the area, and establishing the arctic as a base for operations. A HIGH strategic value.

If you email me, Jay, I'll send you a pdf that outlines the US military concerns over the ice melt and increased navigability of the area, and the concern that has raised among US military strategists. Ask nicely...

Jay, actually this is a big... (Below threshold)

Jay, actually this is a big deal. Russia, Canada, Norway and others are all staking claim to rights in the Arctic ocean. Because of global warming the area is now accessible to shipping, fishing and mineral/oil exploration.

It is ironic that our government's blindness to global warming will benefit other countries financially.

Not to mention the oil and ... (Below threshold)

Not to mention the oil and gas reserves, which Kim's quoted article covered.

why is lee always trying to... (Below threshold)

why is lee always trying to get people to e-mail him? lonely I guess.

Beat you to it by a minute,... (Below threshold)

Beat you to it by a minute, Barney! heh

why is lee always ... (Below threshold)
John in CA:
why is lee always trying to get people to e-mail him? lonely I guess.

It's a sense of self-importance. A longing desire to be needed and wanted. An attempt to fill a void in his socialist soul. It's a futile attempt, but he's a narcissistic socialist and can't help it. Pity him, ridicule him, but don't take him seriously.

What I'm more interested in... (Below threshold)

What I'm more interested in than this pdf is the claim that the arctic is more navigable due to global warming.

Seems if that were the case millions of tons of ice would have to had melted, which would have resulted in Manahattan's financial center having a serious flood problem. I think I would have noticed that.

But, I'm no stranger to being wrong, could you back that up Barney?

Barney and Lee,Now... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Barney and Lee,

Now is the time to capitalize on your advance and better info. Take a risk and get a jump on the competition.

Go and buy some land under the ice. I know it may be hard, but with some work you will be able to find some Russian to sell it to you.

Get in early. I can't figure it out but hardly anyone is investing in prime ice-shelf yet. Beat the rush before prices skyrocket.

I know I speak for everyone when I say that you will be missed.

When Lee's not busy getting... (Below threshold)

When Lee's not busy getting all self-important, telling you to have "your people" contact "his people" in the comment section, he's doing this.

And Jay, did you just call the Russians "Land Hos"?

"blindness"- guess we need ... (Below threshold)

"blindness"- guess we need to start making ice cubes and dumping them in the ocean around the North Pole. There that took care of it. Now what are you going to bitch about b'google to make "your" country look bad. Dumbass.

"What I'm more intereste... (Below threshold)

"What I'm more interested in than this pdf is the claim that the arctic is more navigable due to global warming."

I don't know what Barney's got, but the report I mentioned is a US military study and analysis from several years ago that specifically cites the melting ice and increased navigation that is resulting from global warming. It does not go into the underlying reasons behind the warming -- it doesn't state (that I recall anyway) whether the cause is man-made or natural climatic change.

Yes, the US military recognized several years ago that the arctic ice was melting.

AS it has been from who kno... (Below threshold)

AS it has been from who knows when. Hmmm wonder where the icebergs come from

oyster, that's frigging hil... (Below threshold)

oyster, that's frigging hilarious! John in CA, you are dead on.

Whether the ice is melting ... (Below threshold)

Whether the ice is melting or not, this move by Russia is all about oil, in my opinion. How close do they need to get to our Alaskan coast to pull oil out from under our land? You know, the oil that we refuse to drill for. The only way we'll see that oil now is what the Ruskies spill. Congratulations envirmental-wackos - you're succeeding in destroying the USA in favor of a former (and perhaps future) communist state! gc

"Beat you to it by a minute... (Below threshold)

"Beat you to it by a minute, Barney! heh" lee

I see a pattern here. Yesterday you posted the same comment I did about the accuracy of Maher,s quote a couple of hours later?

When Lee's not bu... (Below threshold)
When Lee's not busy getting all self-important, telling you to have "your people" contact "his people" in the comment section, he's doing this

That was knee-slapping funny. Of course Lee does take time off from the keyboard to be unique on the weekends.

"a couple of hours later... (Below threshold)

"a couple of hours later?"

@Heralder:Arctic i... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:


Arctic ice is floating on the ocean surface, so the weight of the ice has already raised sea level as far as it's going to.

Does the level of the drink in your glass raise as the ice melts? Why should the ocean?

My comment above was trunca... (Below threshold)

My comment above was truncated, -- damn you closed italics tag, damn you!

Sorry, I missed your quote yesterday, Barney, or I wouldn't have duplicated it. I skip over a lot of the comments (for obvious reasons) and try to focus on the relevant, intelligent comments, but that is getting more and more difficult lately here on Wizbang! When the bloggers like Paul and Jay become trolls themselves, the quality of a site goes downhill quickly. That's what's happening around here lately.

not surprising...Russia has... (Below threshold)

not surprising...Russia has historically sought warm-water ports.

"Oh, and Lee? Thanks, bu... (Below threshold)

"Oh, and Lee? Thanks, but no thanks."

Well then stay ignorant, Jay -- it's the one thing you're really good at.

Captain Ned,That m... (Below threshold)

Captain Ned,

That makes perfect sense, thanks.

Now that is something. Lee... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Now that is something. Lee and Barney fighting over who told the first lie. Jay, unlike you I would piss on Lee's head even if it was not on fire. Golden shower boy Lee is probably ecstatic over the possiblilty. If I had Lee's address I could Fed Ex you some clean urine for showers when Barney is not available. Putin needs an issue to be able to stay in office after term limits are met. Don't be really suprised at the lengths he will go to, to remain President.

Wait, so which is worse lee... (Below threshold)

Wait, so which is worse lee, blogger turned troll, or troll turned "blogger" who is still a troll?

why is lee always tryin... (Below threshold)

why is lee always trying to get people to e-mail him? lonely I guess.

That's what happens when you discover penis enlargement offers fail to work.

Well then stay ign... (Below threshold)
John in CA:
Well then stay ignorant, Jay -- it's the one thing you're really good at.

Posted by: Lee Ward at June 28, 2007 12:37 PM

Unlike leeward, who is really good at nothing. And good for nothing.

marc: "That's what happe... (Below threshold)

marc: "That's what happens when you discover penis enlargement offers fail to work."

At last we found a topic marc knows something about -- lol.

Marc will you PLEASE e-mail... (Below threshold)

Marc will you PLEASE e-mail lee to discuss? Please? Come on, anyone? Please e-mail lee?

D-Hoggs, I can attest that ... (Below threshold)

D-Hoggs, I can attest that Lee can be very polite and cordial in e-mail. He is far, far different in private than in public.

I just couldn't stand the two-facedness of it all -- that's why I don't exchange e-mails with him any more. He'd send me a collegial, almost chummy e-mail, then attempt to rip me in public. I finally got sick of it.


lee has at least two faces.... (Below threshold)

lee has at least two faces.

Jay, that doesn't surprise ... (Below threshold)

Jay, that doesn't surprise me in the least. Pretty pathetic.






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