A NATO menace to maritime Arctic sovereignty?

Good grief! Everyone wants in on the Arctic; the EU, the US–and now NATO’s Secretary General:

An Arctic thaw will open up sea routes and competition for lucrative energy reserves in a multinational scramble sure to pose new security threats, NATO’s chief said Thursday.
NATO commanders and lawmakers meeting in Iceland’s capital said a military presence in the region will eventually be needed as standoffs between powerful nations unfold…
“Climate change is not a fanciful idea, it is already a reality, a reality that brings with it certain new challenges, including for NATO,” said de Hoop Scheffer, acknowledging that an upsurge of energy exploration would likely require a larger NATO presence in the Arctic…


NATO’s role in the Arctic can include search and rescue missions for stranded vessels and emergency response to ecological disasters as the opening up of frozen shipping lanes increases the risk of accidents, De Hoop Scheffer said…

The full text of his remarks is here (via milnews.ca). I wonder what Canadian representatives at the meeting said. Questions should be asked in the House of Commons, I say. There’s little coverage of the story in our media so our ever-vigilant MPs will probably remain in happy ignorance of this grave new threat.
But would not a multinational approach to Arctic maritime matters make quite a bit of sense? If only Canadians could get over our aggressively nationalist approach.
The Russians, for their part, look ready to make very extensive claims to Arctic waters, though as far as I can determine they do not directly affect Canadian claims. Maps from the Spiegel Online article here and here (interactive).
Mark C.


4 thoughts on “A NATO menace to maritime Arctic sovereignty?

  1. This is all true and then some. The arctic lines opening up lead to strategic issues and most of all, new shipping lanes that put Europe into Asia quickly. Much is at stake and to Mr. Harper’s credit he has embraced the need for this country to not get the shaft in whatever goes down, but he needs to do even more. Besides, it will be popular with the public as he has already learned.

  2. I agree with Canada imposing its Arctic sovereignty, but NATO can only have an involvement if Canada is threatened – NATO is a political/military alliance not a governing body like the EU. The posturing may all come to naught, however, when the Northwest Passage doesn’t become navigable on a regular basis despite Al Gore’s prognostications.

  3. Our claims and Russia’s do actual overlap. The two map you linked to at the end of the post are actually different, although it’s hard to tell because of the different perspectives. The first one is of the formula that us and Denmark suport, the second (interactive) one is of the formula that Russia and Norway support.
    You can see a better comparison of them here:

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