Posts tagged “Arctic”
I’ve been writing, researching, and talking a good bit about Arctic issues recently. You can see my piece in Alaska Dispatch, where I claim that the U.S. is “Failing to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Arctic” and I will have forthcoming pieces in the Georgetown Journal of Security Studies and elsewhere.
What comes across is a great disparity in intentions, ambition, and resources devoted to the region between Russia versus the United States. This is most apparent in the status accorded to the security forces.
The US Navy, when asked what they plan to do about an opening Arctic invariably respond by saying “why should we do anything” or “why would we build a new Navy for a new ocean?” They may have a point – there’s not that much up there to protect, and the international regime governing the Arctic is strong: conflict appears highly unlikely.
The controversial project to begin drilling for offshore oil in the Arctic, led by Royal Dutch Shell, has gotten underway, according to a statement from the company. Preparatory drilling in the search for new oil wells began in the Chukchi Sea, about 90 miles from the Alaskan North Slope, late last month.
The project has been given tentative approval from the U.S. government that allows only for “certain limited preparatory activities” in the region, including the installation of a blowout prevention device; the stipulation regarding added protections comes following continued public anger at BP’s record-setting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 after a methane explosion sank a rig, leaving the unattended well to pump oil into open waters.