Friday, July 24, 2009

Arctic Sovereignty? Manly Issue?

I am an avowed Arctic Sovereignty [AS] skeptic. For the non-Canadian reader, AS refers to the political stand, adopted by the Conservative Party and others to assert and defend Canada's rights to the Arctic. These "rights" are faced by greater threats with the advent of global warming. Climate change means two things: that the Northwest Passage may actually become quite navigable and there may be huge amounts of resources to mine/harvest. The first change raises tensions with the US, as the US has always maintained the right to pass through straits around the world as part of being a Naval power. The second part has led to tensions with Russia, the US and Denmark (due to Greenland). There is even now a joint US/Canada mission to map the terrain under the water to determine which territory belongs to whom.

For me, the problem is that this stand is leading to new Defence spending patterns--focused on ships and planes to defend the Arctic. But as I have mentioned before, given how little Canada has to fund this stuff, it will never develop the capacity to deter or stop the encroachments of its potential adversaries (well, except for the Danes).

But now I know why Harper has been pushing this. He must read Maxim (Canada), since these are the results of their survey of Men:

Q34: Should Canada assert its sovereignty over the Arctic?
34 84% Yes
16% No

So there you have it. Of course, the same survey shows more than half the Men think Canada has the best health care system in the world, so take it with a grain of salt.

PS I am aware that if Arctic Sovereignty is AS, that makes me an ASS.

1 comment:

Vladimir said...

Is there any chance the administration will push the law of the sea treaty through the senate? There seemed to be some movement in Bush's last year but it came to naught. It would seem to me that the AS policy is a way for the conservatives (and yes I do vote conservative, perhaps that makes me the ASS) to use a traditonal identity issue i.e the North to actually move towards a common North American security perimeter.