Arctic Circle: The Global Battleground for World War III

Ukraine War is not about Ukraine. It is about the Arctic Circle and its dominance. If one looks at the stakes, positions and the stances, then it Arctic's crucial importance becomes clear.

Arctic Circle: The Global Battleground for World War III
"Before the war little or no consideration was given to the strategic potentialities of the Polar Regions, either north or south. As a result, our pre-war strategic thinking and our military and naval training was largely confined to the tropic and temperate zones." —Rear Admiral R. H. Cruzen, US Navy (1948)

One of the plants most likely to weather the toughest of storms is bamboo. You know why?

Because it is flexible and bends with the wind. It bends and does not break.

In fact, some species of bamboo have greater tensile strength than steel and can withstand more compression than concrete. A single inch of bamboo can hold up to 7.5 tons of weight, and bamboo can take up to 52,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. 

One evening Hiro a Zen student approached a Master named Kaito. He was dejected at how people used deception in war.

"How can one fight honorably in such a world?"

Kaito asked Hiro to walk with him. He took him to a bunch of bamboo trees and pointed at them.

“Hiro,” Kaito began, “look at these bamboo stalks. They appear delicate and frail, but they are incredibly strong. They bend with the wind but do not break. In this way, they deceive the storm, appearing weak while hiding their true strength.”

Hiro listened intently, absorbing the master’s words.

“In war, deception is often necessary,” Kaito continued. “But true strength lies in understanding when and how to use it. Just as the bamboo bends to the wind, you must adapt to your circumstances. Appear weak when you are strong, and strike when your enemy least expects it. This is not dishonor; it is wisdom.”

The master then picked up a single fallen bamboo leaf and handed it to Hiro. “Remember, Hiro, true mastery lies in balance. Deception is but a tool, like this leaf. Use it wisely, with honor and integrity, and you will find your path through the chaos of war.”

Wars sometimes do not seem to be for what they are. They hide under them larger strategic interests that remain hidden.

We are looking at one of those unfolding right in front of us. Let us analyze the geopolitical scenario in complete detail.

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What is the Arctic Circle?

The Arctic Circle is a vast and expansive region stretching over 5 million square miles, making it one of the largest regions on Earth. It is a remarkable area that encompasses parts of not just one or two, but eight different countries, including Canada, Russia, and the United States, among others. This means that the Arctic Circle is not only a physical boundary but also a political and geographical entity that connects these nations.

Arctic Circle Map - What is so Special in the Arctic | VisitNordic
Source: Visit Nordic

One of the defining characteristics of the Arctic Circle is its geographic location. It is specifically defined as the area above the 66.5° north latitude.

This positioning has significant implications for the amount of daylight experienced in the region. During the summer solstice, the sun never sets in the Arctic Circle, resulting in 24-hour daylight. On the other hand, during the winter solstice, the sun does not rise, causing a period of darkness that can last for several days or even months, depending on the exact location within the Arctic Circle.

This unique phenomenon of continuous daylight and darkness is a direct result of the Earth's axial tilt. As the Earth orbits the sun, its axis remains tilted at an angle, which causes the variation in daylight hours throughout the year. In the case of the Arctic Circle, this tilt means that the region experiences extreme variations in daylight, creating a truly distinctive environment.

The Arctic Circle holds a special place in the world due to its exceptional characteristics. Its immense size, diverse geography, and extreme variations in daylight make it an area of great scientific interest and exploration. Additionally, the Arctic Circle is home to unique ecosystems and wildlife that have adapted to thrive in these challenging conditions. It is a place of great beauty and fragility, and its preservation is of utmost importance for the future of our planet.

The geography of the Arctic Circle is diverse and includes a variety of land and water features. The region is home to the Arctic Ocean, which is the smallest and coldest of the world's five oceans. It is also home to the North Pole, which is the northernmost point on Earth. The Arctic Circle is also home to many islands, including Greenland, which is the largest island in the world. The land in the Arctic Circle is mostly covered in permafrost, which is frozen soil that remains frozen year-round. This makes it difficult for plants to grow, but there are still some unique flora and fauna that have adapted to this harsh environment.

The climate in the Arctic Circle is known for its extremely cold temperatures and long, dark winters. The average temperature in the Arctic Circle is around -30°F, but it can drop as low as -90°F in some areas. The polar climate is also characterized by strong winds and heavy snowfall, making it a challenging environment for human activity. However, with advancements in technology and transportation, year-long travel in the Arctic Circle has become more feasible. This has opened up opportunities for scientific studies on the natural resources found in the region.

Why is Arctic Circle Crucial for the Future?

The Arctic Circle is rich in natural resources, including minerals, oil, and gas. These resources have become increasingly important as the global demand for energy and raw materials continues to rise. It is the largest unexplored prospective area for petroleum on the planet. States with territory and territorial waters within the Arctic Circle include Norway, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, the US, Canada, and Denmark.

The Arctic currently produces approximately 10% of the world's oil and 25% of its natural gas, with the Russian Arctic being the primary source for about 80% of the oil and nearly all of the natural gas. (Source: Arctic Review)

Other leading producers include Arctic Canada, Alaska, and Norway. Commercial oil extraction in the Arctic began in the 1920s in Canada's Northwest Territories. Significant hydrocarbon fields were discovered in Russia's Yamalo-Nenets region, Alaska's North Slope, and Canada's Mackenzie Delta during the 1960s. Over the past decades, billions of cubic meters of oil and gas have been produced in Arctic territories.

Recent assessments indicate that a substantial portion of the world's undiscovered petroleum reserves are located within the Arctic region. More than 400 onshore oil and gas fields have been discovered north of the Arctic Circle, with around 60 being extensive but a quarter not yet in production. The majority of producing fields are in Russia, particularly in western Siberia.

In Russia, the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region (KMAR) is a major oil and gas area, accounting for about 57% of Russian oil extraction. The KMAR has over 500 known oil and gas fields with a combined reserve of approximately 20 billion tons.

Also, significant offshore fossil fuel fields have been discovered in areas like the Barents Sea and Kara Sea.

The US Arctic has estimated oil reserves of around 15 million barrels and gas reserves exceeding 2 trillion cubic meters, with notable production at the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field. In the Canadian Arctic, there are 49 gas and oil fields in the Mackenzie River Delta and 15 fields in the Canadian Arctic archipelago.

Source: Oil & Gas / Arctic Rusa

The coastal areas of Alaska and Siberia host some of the largest gas fields in the world within their offshore regions

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Arctic has about 13% of the world's undiscovered conventional oil resources and 30% of its undiscovered conventional natural gas resources. The USGS also estimates that the Arctic contains 90 billion barrels of undiscovered oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. (Source: Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal / USGS)

Source: Arctic oil and natural gas resources / US Energy Information Administration

Also, read this document.

However, the harsh climate and remote location make it difficult to extract these resources. This is why scientific studies are crucial in understanding the potential impact of these resources on the global economy and environment.

Arctic Circle and its Impact on Trade Routes and Supply Chains

The Arctic Circle also has the potential to greatly impact global trade and supply chains. Currently, most trade routes and supply chains are centered around the equator, but as the Arctic ice continues to melt due to climate change, new routes are opening up in the Arctic. This could potentially cut shipping times and costs, but it also poses challenges and risks.

The Northern Sea Route (NSR) offers a shorter alternative to traditional routes like the Suez Canal, reducing travel distances by up to 40% between Asia and Europe.

Source: The Future of Arctic Shipping / The Arctic Institute

For example, the distance from Northern Europe to China via the NSR is approximately 40% shorter than via the Suez Canal, potentially reducing travel time by 10-15 days and it is free from any pirate attacks as well.

 Firstly, at 12,800 kilometres, the distance from Northern Europe to China is approximately 40 percent shorter via the Northern Sea Route than it is across the Suez Canal (21,000 kilometres) and 10-15 days quicker; it is also 60 percent shorter in terms of distance than the journey through the Cape of Good Hope. The shipping lane carries no risks of piracy and also allows for income to be generated from return cargoes travelling from the Far East.  (Source: Northern Sea Route / Arctic Review)

The gains in overall trade and supply chains will be tremendous.

Source: Towards a balanced view of Arctic shipping: estimating economic impacts of emissions from increased traffic on the Northern Sea Route / Springer Link

All this will have its own environmental impact and large-scale damage.

Of course, the Arctic Circle is a fragile ecosystem, and any disruption to it could have severe consequences for the global sea levels and climate itself!

Now let us understand what place does Russia hold

Russia’s Dominance

The Arctic Circle is a vast region that spans across several countries. These countries include Russia, Canada, the United States, Norway, and Denmark (through Greenland). Each country has a portion of the Arctic Circle within its borders, with Russia having the largest share.

Russia's share in the Arctic Circle is significant, covering over half of the region. This includes the entire northern coast of Russia, as well as several islands such as Novaya Zemlya and the New Siberian Islands. In total, Russia's share in the Arctic Circle is estimated to be around 53% of the entire region.

And that is the key! Russia is the predominant power within the Arctic Region.

Source: The Arctic Council

Russia's Foreign Minister has made it clear how his country views the Arctic Circle.

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, claimed last month that his country controls the Arctic. “It has been absolutely clear for everyone for a long time that this is our territory,” he said. Russian land makes up 53% of the Arctic coastline. Russia has also ramped up its military investment in the region: since 2007 at least 50 Soviet-era military outposts have reopened. But the other Arctic states see things differently. In 2018 NATO sent an aircraft carrier into the Arctic Circle for the first time in 27 years. Last year British and American warships entered the Barents Sea, north of Norway and close to Russia’s key naval bases, for the first time since the 1980s. Next year Norway will carry out its biggest military exercise inside the Arctic Circle since the cold war. What explains this sabre-rattling, and who really controls the Arctic? (Source: Who controls the Arctic? / The Economist)

This large share of the Arctic Circle has made Russia a major player in the region, both economically and politically. The country has been investing heavily in developing its Arctic territories, including building new ports, infrastructure, and military bases. This has sparked concerns from other countries, as Russia's actions could potentially impact the delicate Arctic ecosystem.

Despite these concerns, Russia continues to assert its dominance in the Arctic Circle. The country has also been actively seeking to expand its territory in the region, including making claims to the North Pole and the surrounding seabed. This has led to tensions with other Arctic countries, particularly Canada and Denmark, who also have overlapping claims in the region.

Currently, Russia has the world's only fleet of nuclear icebreakers, which are the critical component for traversing the Arctic.

In 2023, these icebreakers assisted over 730 vessels along the Northern Sea Route (NSR), setting a new record for cargo transported.

Russian use of icebreaker ships to traverse the Arctic has been a pivotal development in maritime navigation and global trade. Icebreakers, which are specially designed ships capable of moving through ice-covered waters, enable Russia to navigate the Arctic regions throughout the year, including the notoriously difficult Northern Sea Route (NSR). The NSR runs along the Russian Arctic coast from the Kara Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait.

Container Shipping Is Coming to the Arctic along Russia's Northern Sea Route
Source: Container Shipping Is Coming to the Arctic along Russia’s Northern Sea Route by Malte Humpert / High North News

The route for Russia starts at Murmansk and goes to Kamchatka.

The route significantly shortens the distance between European and Asian ports compared to traditional routes through the Suez Canal or around the Cape of Good Hope.

Russia is home to the only nuclear icebreaker fleet in the world, built to meet maritime transportation requirements through modern nuclear technology. The country’s aim of establishing an Arctic shipping route would open up its north coast to new projects, at a cost beyond money.  According to the Russian Government’s Northern Sea Route (NSR) Development Plan, the country aims to transport at least 150 million tonnes of crude oil, liquefied natural gas, coal, and other cargoes via its northern sea route per year, starting in 2030.  (Source: The nuclear icebreakers enabling drilling in Russia’s Arctic / Mining Technology)

Vladimir Putin is very clear in his mind regarding the important of the Arctic Region and its role in Russia's future.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday put forward an ambitious program to secure Russia’s foothold in the Arctic, including efforts to build new ports and other infrastructure facilities and expand an icebreaker fleet. Speaking at the Arctic forum in St. Petersburg attended by leaders of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, Putin said that Russia plans to dramatically increase cargo shipments across the Arctic sea route. He said that the amount of cargo carried across the shipping lane is set to increase from 20 million metric tons last year to 80 million tons in 2025. “This is a realistic, well-calculated and concrete task,” Putin said. “We need to make the Northern sea route safe and commercially feasible.” He noted that Russia, the only nation with a nuclear icebreaker fleet, is moving to expand it. Russia currently has four nuclear icebreakers, and Putin said that three new such ships are currently under construction. By 2035, Russia stands to have a fleet of 13 heavy icebreakers, including nine nuclear-powered ones, he said. (Source: Putin outlines ambitious Arctic expansion program / AP)

But even that goal may have been revised.

Russia now aims to construct 50 icebreakers and ice-class vessels for the NSR by 2035. The first of four new icebreakers is expected to become operational in 2028. These new vessels will operate at the western end of the NSR's Arctic coastline, allowing nuclear icebreakers to focus on the eastern sector. The ultimate goal is to ensure year-round navigation along the entire NSR and transport at least 200 million tonnes of cargo annually by 2030.

Its two main partners in getting the 50 icebreakers in place by 2035 are India and China.

President Vladimir Putin last month told the meeting of BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - that Russia was looking to develop flagship projects, including the Northern Sea route with the need to construct new ports, fuel terminals and an expanded icebreaker fleet. Chekunkov said 34 million tons of cargo were supplied via the route last year and the same amount is expected this year. Russia plans to more than double the amount, to 80 million tons, already next year and to 200 million tons by 2031. "Perhaps my greatest concern is the availability of ice-class fleet in sufficient amounts. It's just there is not yet enough (icebreakers) in the world that necessary to transport 200 million tons in seven to eight years," the minister said. Russia has plans to construct 50 icebreakers and ice-class vessels for the Northern Sea route by 2035. The main problem was the lack of shipyards to produce the icebreakers. Chekunkov said there have been talks with China and India on joint cooperation in the construction of vessels. "India is interested in working together to develop northern navigation and potentially in joint shipbuilding. This is a fairly large Ocean power. (And) of course, China," he said. (Source: Russia lacks ice-class vessels to develop Arctic sea route, talks to China, India - RBC / Reuters)

This level of singular domination of an important region is scary for the Western nations.

The Global Battle for the Arctic - Real Reason for the Next World War

The Biden-Harris National Security Strategy recognizes the "Russian threat" over the Arctic.

What does it say about the Arctic Circle and the Russian dominance?

Now, that is the official sane version of how the US may want to deal with the future in the Arctic.

And then there is a rhetorical political mumbo-jumbo in an era of octogenarian (with signs of dementia) American leadership.

Biden went on to threaten regime change in Russia in 2022. Or in other words "throw out Putin".

President Joe Biden declared forcefully Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin should no longer remain in power, an unabashed challenge that came at the very end of a swing through Europe meant to reinforce Western unity. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden announced at the conclusion of a capstone address delivered in the cold outside the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The White House afterward downplayed the remark: “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region,” a White House official said. “He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.” (Source: Biden says Putin ‘cannot remain in power’ / CNN)


What does this Biden regime really think Russia/Putin is? Do they think it is like Iraq/Saddam?

Just for a reality check.

The world was confused about whether Iraq had "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (WMDs). Regarding Russia, there is absolutely no confusion. They have. And more than the US!
Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

And further.

Now, about Saddam, you were not sure whether he would use the WMDs against the West or not. Putin has left nothing to the imagination. He will use Nukes if threatened.

He has laid that out extremely clearly!

Putin warns again that Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons if its sovereignty is threatened
In an interview with state TV, Putin described Joe Biden as a veteran politician who fully understands possible dangers of escalation.

So in what kind of strategic geopolitical analysis would someone think of openly threatening a "regime change" within such an adversarial country?

Only those who are either desperate or demented or both. Or someone who thinks that they are so damn superior that they can fold such an adversary into submission without him taking you out before that.

A very risky and frankly suicidal tactic.

Ukraine is the Stick to Get Russia out of the Arctic

That is where Ukraine comes in.

So using that as the pretext, the Europeans, Canadians, and Americans are trying to isolate Russia within the grouping of Arctic nations known as the Arctic Circle.

On March 3rd, just a week after war broke out, seven of the eight permanent members of the Arctic Council, the region’s main intergovernmental organisation—all bar Russia, the current chair—said they would boycott future meetings in light of the war. The council had long sought to portray the region as peaceful and co-operative: its founding document, the Ottawa Declaration of 1996, states that it should not deal with “military security”. But the war has pitted Western signatories (America, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) against Russia in the far north. How will the fallout affect the Arctic? (Source: The Economist)

Is it Ukraine war that is the cause of isolation of Russia by the West within the Arctic Council or is Russia's Arctic dominance the cause for West to go ahead into the Ukraine War despite it becoming an existential threat to at least most of the Europe?

I mean if you are ready to put your collective life on the line in Europe for something (Ukraine War) it better be something significant enough. Now, Ukraine is not an oil rich or mineral rich country. Yes, one understands the whole argument of Putin and his plans etc, and that entire spiel on democracy et al (while firmly backing a dictatorial Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the Ukrainian leader). But is it significant enough a reason for an entire continent to put its life on the line?

Interestingly, the Western experts are couching the whole argument, as is their wont, as existential threat comes from Putin's "expansionist plans" by running over Ukraine and then attacking Europe.

It is a narrative that is inherently geared towards war.

A saner narrative would have looked at a much more mature option of looking at negotiations and diplomacy as an option.

You see, when all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail to you!

And, that is the main issue here.

West's central and perhaps the only narrative presupposes war. Nothing but war with Russia. What kind of war it will be, is the only real question to be worked out.

Prolonged War, Creeping War or a Massive Escalation?

The European Leadership Network (an oxymoron given their self generated options) thinks that no matter what kind of war happens, future for Europe is dark.

Source: Europe’s dark future: How might a protracted conflict between Russia and Ukraine affect Europe? / European Leadership Network

So what is the truth?

We contend that the entire Ukraine War effort and planning by the NATO forces and planners is the stick Europe and the US have constructed to fight for control over the Arctic.

To put it simply.

Ukraine war is NOT about Ukraine. It is about the Arctic Circle.

We called this out in July 2022 very clearly.

Read the whole analysis here.

Drishtikone Newsletter #349: The Control Catastrophe and our Food
Food shortages and sky-rocketing inflations are coming. There are many ramifications. And reasons much larger than a shortage. We are heading towards a catastrophe of overall control by a few. Agriculture just happens to be their biggest target. A deep dive.

Unfortunately for the West, Russia is not an Iraq.

Specifically in the Arctic.

Russia's Military Might in the Arctic

Russia has a significant military presence in the Arctic Circle, with numerous bases and a variety of weapon systems deployed in the region.

Number of Bases

Russia operates a substantial number of military bases and other assets in the Arctic.

Per the details gleaned from the various news and expert sources here is a quick summary.

  • Russia has six major bases, 14 airfields, 16 deep-water ports, and 14 icebreakers built in the Arctic region.
  • Russia's Arctic military bases are concentrated mostly around Murmansk Oblast, but in recent years, Russia has expanded capabilities in the High North, including developments on Wrangel Island, Cape Schmidt, and Kotelny Island.
  • Russia now operates a third more Arctic military bases than the U.S. and NATO combined

Russia is not just working on its ice-breaking fleet and navigational dominance in the Arctic Circle, but it is building significant bases in the region.

Senior U.S. Navy leaders in the Atlantic and European regions discussed, in some detail, the nature of the Russian build-up and naval activity in the Arctic region during a recent seminar in Washington.  Speaking Feb. 9 at a seminar sponsored by the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute and the Center for Maritime Strategy (CMS), a think tank of the Navy League of the United States — Deterring Russia at Sea in the High North — were Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and Vice Adm. Dan Dwyer, commander, U.S. Second Fleet. The seminar was moderated by retired Adm. James Foggo, dean of CMS.  “Russia now has six bases, 14 airfields, 16 deep-water ports, and 14 icebreakers built,” Caudle said of the Russian build-up.  “They dominate the Arctic geography and possess the corresponding ability to dominate in capability and infrastructure,” he said. “They do have legitimate sovereign interests and have elevated their Northern Fleet to constitute its own military district — think, combatant command.”  (Source: Navy Admirals Detail Russian Arctic Build-Up / Sea Power Magazine)

Russia has 6 bases, 14 airfields, 16 deep-water ports, and 14 ice-breakers that they are using in the region.

In fact, Russia has a third more military bases in the Arctic than the US and NATO combined!

There's concern over the fact that Russia now operates a third more Arctic military bases than the U.S. and NATO combined, suggesting a strategic advantage in the region. Experts say the West's military footprint in the Arctic lags about 10 years behind Russia's. Norway, a key NATO member, is among the nations closely monitoring these developments, due to its proximity to Russia's military installations. (Source: "Russia ramps up its military presence in the Arctic nearly 2 years into the Ukraine war" / CBS News)

Most of the Russian bases are currently focused in the Murmansk region of the Arctic.

53% of the Arctic coastline belongs to Russia. Its Arctic military bases are concentrated mostly around Murmansk Oblast, but in recent years Russia has expanded capabilities in the High North. Russia has taken full advantage of its arctic territory. Wrangel Island, Cape Schmidt, and Kotelny Island developments are right across the Bering Strait from Alaska. Visualizing Russia’s Arctic presence shows the density of Russia’s military infrastructure in the region. (Source: Russian Arctic Military Bases / American Security Project)

Here is a quick map of all the Arctic bases.

You can also refer to the Google Map with the Arctic bases.

Arctic Military Bases - Google My Maps
Arctic Military Bases

The Weapon systems deployed in the Arctic by the Russians underscore their strategic importance in Putin's eyes to secure his Arctic interests.

Let us take stock.

  • Missile Systems: Russia has deployed S-300 and S-400 missile systems, which are advanced surface-to-air missile systems designed to target aircraft and missiles.  (Source: The Defense Post)
  • Radar Systems: Russia has installed large radar installations, including the Rezonans-N radar systems, which are claimed to detect stealth aircraft and objects. (Source: Russia’s militarization of the Arctic shows no sign of slowing down / CNN)
  • Naval Assets: The Northern Fleet, based in Severomorsk on the Kola Peninsula, includes nuclear-powered missile and torpedo submarines, surface ships with missile capabilities, and anti-submarine aircraft. (Source: The Ice Curtain / CSIS)
  • Air Defense Systems: The Bastion-P and Pantsir-S1 air defense systems are deployed on Kotelny Island and Novaya Zemlya, creating a layered coastal defense arrangement. (Source: The Ice Curtain / CSIS)
  • Hypersonic Weapons: Russia has tested hypersonic cruise missiles and nuclear-powered undersea drones in the Arctic. (Source: The Ice Curtain / CSIS)
  • Icebreakers: Russia has the largest icebreaker fleet in the world, including armed icebreakers with Kalibr cruise missiles

So what is the response of the US?

The "American Polar Pivot"

In an interesting article in the "Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs" brought out by the "Department of the Air Forces Professional Journal for America's Priority Theater" writers Dr Ryan Burke & Lt Col Jahara “Franky” Matisek, PhD share an interesting analysis.

Source: The Polar Trap: China, Russia, and American Power in the Arctic and Antarctica / Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs

These lines are extremely significant.

"As of 2021, the possibility of polar warfare with China and Russia remains low. However, the problem of tomorrow should be the debate of today, and tomorrow’s problem increasingly looks like competition and potential conflict over the polar regions rather than the false premise of preparing for a traditional war in Eastern Europe or the South China Sea. Thus, there needs to be an “American polar pivot” in policy and strategy (and military capability) to counter and/or deter malign actions by China and Russia in the Arctic and Antarctica."

"False Premise of traditional war in Eastern Europe"? Did they mean Ukraine?

Well, the authors are categorical in saying that "compared to Russian Arctic military posture and Chinese Antarctic orientation, America is militarily behind."

Any talk of bringing down the temperature around the Arctic Circle is termed as "apologist positions advancing Arctic pacifism."

If this is the official stance within NATO, then things indeed look quite bleak when it comes to any negotiated diplomatic solution in that region.

These assessments align with the future geopolitical view that we hold at Drishtikone.

What Does Arctic Control Mean for Global Dominance?

Li Zhenfu, associate professor in the College of Transportation Management at Dalian Maritime University in Dalian, Liaoning Province, puts the situation in the most appropriate way.

Whoever controls the Arctic will control the World Economy.

That is what everything is all about.

Source: "The Dragon Eyes the Top of the World" / Naval War College, China Maritime Studies Institute

Download the complete article here.

It is important to realize why Arctic is an existential concern for Russia. That will help us properly underscore how far Russia will be willing to go in order to secure its position in the Arctic Circle.

Heather Conley is the Arctic expert at CSIS. This is her assessment.

To think about it really, Russia's survival is now based on the Arctic, its future economic survival of energy resources. Over 22% of current Russian GDP originates from the Arctic. They have a more broadly defined geographical-spanse that we would consider sub-Arctic as well. And clearly Russia, about a decade, 13 years ago, made a significant change and began to rebuild their military posture in the Arctic.  (Source: Deep Freeze: The Arctic's Role on the Asia Chessboard with Heather Conley" / CSIS)

Look at it again.

Over 22% of current Russian GDP originates from the Arctic

How will Russia even allow such a region to be controlled by another power?

Here is another interesting article that one can read for more information - A Battle for the Arctic Is Underway. And the U.S. Is Already Behind.

World War III

So in our view of things, the next World War is already underway and Ukraine was the first front.

By the time, the battle over the Arctic is finalized, Ukraine will be pulverized to the ground. Ukraine will be the next Afghanistan. Just like many who have seen the Afghanistan of the 1960s can hardly believe such a society could have existed in that country, Ukraine will see a similar destruction.

All for the Arctic!

In that sense, Ukraine is the sacrifice that both, NATO and the Russia-China combine, will offer at the altar of the Arctic Dominance

To provide a quick set of information at a glance, we are sharing a few FAQs that we will add to as we go on for the benefit of the readers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Arctic Circle?

A: The Arctic Circle is a region above the 66.5° north latitude where the sun does not set on the summer solstice and does not rise on the winter solstice.

Q: How does the climate in the Arctic Circle affect human activity?

A: The extreme cold temperatures and harsh weather in the Arctic Circle make it challenging for human activity, but advancements in technology have made year-long travel more feasible.

Q: What natural resources can be found in the Arctic Circle?

A: The Arctic Circle is rich in minerals, oil, and gas, which have become increasingly important in the global economy.

Q: How will the Arctic Circle impact global trade and supply chains?

A: As the Arctic ice continues to melt, new trade routes are opening up in the Arctic, which could potentially cut shipping times and costs, but also poses challenges and risks.

Q: What technological advancements have made year-long travel in the Arctic Circle possible?

A: Advancements in transportation, such as icebreakers and improved navigation systems, have made year-long travel in the Arctic Circle more feasible.

Q: What are the outcomes of the year-round navigability of the Arctic due to icebreakers?

A: Year-round shipping across the Arctic will be a huge change for that region. Here are some of the major outcomes.

  1. Reduced Transit Times: The NSR can cut transit times between Asia and Europe by up to two weeks compared to the Suez Canal route, making it an attractive option for shipping companies looking to save time and fuel.
  2. Economic and Strategic Advantage: For Russia, the ability to operate in the Arctic year-round provides not only economic benefits through control over a major shipping route but also strategic military advantages in terms of access and presence in the Arctic.
  3. Resource Exploitation: The Arctic is rich in natural resources, including oil, gas, and minerals. Icebreakers enable Russia to exploit these resources more effectively, contributing to its economy and energy security.
  4. Environmental Concerns: Increased shipping traffic in the Arctic raises environmental concerns, including potential oil spills and disturbances to marine ecosystems. The melting of Arctic ice, while opening new passages, also signals troubling changes in global climate patterns.
  5. International Interest and Competition: As the Arctic becomes more navigable, other countries, including China, have shown increased interest in the region for trade and resource exploration. This has led to new geopolitical dynamics and competition in the Arctic.

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