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Jun 11, 2022
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Why are the Hawaiian infantry made “Arctic angels”?

The hasty readiness of Sweden and Finland to join NATO should be seen in the light of the future of the Arctic. And do not be deceived by the fact that 1,300 kilometers of the Russian-Finnish border remained the calmest in Europe after the end of World War II, and the border guards had problems only with drunken Finns returning from St. Petersburg on weekends.

As writes Reutersand before the problems with Ukraine, the Finns kept an army of 900,000 people, along with a reserve and one of the largest artillery in Europe. This is the only European country that contains special stocks of fuel, food and medicine in case of war and even now is able to shelter 4.5 million of its 5.5 million citizens in 54,000 bomb shelters.

Sweden is also in a special position. The country has not participated in wars since 1814, but now receives all NATO intelligence information, regularly attends meetings in Brussels. It was about her that Stoltenberg said that “no other country in the world is a closer partner.” Indeed, he added that “the absolute security guarantees we provide to NATO allies are for NATO allies only”. Stockholm has said it will nearly double defense spending to 2 percent of GDP and is redesigning its bunker network to shelter up to seven million of its 10.5 million population.

The drastic changes in Northern Europe are covered with a fig leaf of fear of a “Russian invasion of Ukraine.” Anna Wislander, Director for Northern Europe at the Atlantic Council think tank, states: “We are preparing to meet the enemy together, and I think there is no doubt in which camp we are. You can see the warnings that Russia has given.”.

The American magazine speaks much more frankly Foreign policywho believes that the coincidence of the interests of the West in the “campaign to the East” is facilitated by the opportunity to take away Moscow’s future not only in Europe, but also in the Arctic. “The geopolitical significance of the Arctic region is once again coming into focus as Russian forces continue to invade Ukraine. The Russian invasion further worsens relations and highlights critical fault lines between Russia and NATO allies… NATO allies are weighing key considerations, including the consequences of a potential use of force, balancing sanctions against Europe’s dependence on Russian energy supplies, and addressing the issue strengthening ties between Russia and China. The Arctic region has a key role to play in each of these considerations.”.

There is nothing unexpected in such a combination of heterogeneous imperatives. The West really needs the reserves of natural gas and oil concentrated in the Russian Arctic territory. “The large-scale military build-up since 2007 increases the likelihood that conflict between Russia and NATO allies will spill over into the region [Арктику]“, American magazine warns. This means that NATO is questioning Russia’s right to its Arctic sector, which has a land border of 22,000 kilometers. Other Arctic countries – Canada, the USA, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland – are NATO countries and its allies.

According to the estimates of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the vast majority of all-Russian and global reserves of natural resources are concentrated in the Arctic zone. Forty percent of gold, sixty percent of oil and gas, ninety percent of chromium and manganese, one hundred percent of indigenous diamonds, and further on the periodic table. The total value of already explored reserves of mineral raw materials reaches 2 trillion dollars. And that’s half the battle. In addition to energy reserves, critical minerals and fishing opportunities, shipping routes across the Arctic have the potential to redirect trade between Europe and Asia. Therefore, China and Japan are already in a hurry to invest both political and financial capital in the North.

“Against a global background of increasing tensions between the United States and Russia (where the conflict between the old hegemon and the new young and strong China is at the core), the Arctic is turning into an arena of great power rivalry.” And you should be very careful about the maxim Foreign policy about the absence of an “official security body” that could command “the security of national facilities” in the Arctic. Is it necessary to ask whose flag will fly over this “organ”?

It is safe to say that the creation of the US 11th Airborne Division in Alaska is one of the strongholds of the “official security agency” that will try to become the “northern helmsman.” As Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska told VOA, “there will be the most important sea route, and we cannot allow Russia to dominate it”. Global Security reports that the 11th Airborne Division “represents a dramatic change in the Pentagon’s focus in the Arctic after several years of military cuts in Alaska. The restructuring is due to the fact that Russia and China are increasing their presence in the Arctic. These changes will give the army an edge in restoring dominance in the Arctic.”.

Washington is accustomed to starting with “world security” and ending with “the restoration of US dominance” – they are little embarrassed by such “synonymy”. Nor is the 11th Airborne Division a resurrection of a World War II military unit that fought in the Pacific during the liberation of the Philippines. Nicknamed Hawaiian angelsThe division fought in the Korean War. In 1965, it was liquidated, but the trumpets sang again, and the Yankees again set out on a campaign. They want to dominate the Arctic. However, there is a logic of intentions, and there is a logic of circumstances. Let’s see which is stronger.

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