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Sun Nov 3, 2019, 11:34 AM

The de-icing of the Barents sea has huge strategic implications


There are precisely 525 stairs from the icy waters of the Barents Sea to the top of the observation post in the far northeast corner of Norway, along the Russian border. It's a steep climb, but once you reach the apex, there's a good chance one of the young Norwegian conscripts manning the outpost will have a platter of waffles — topped with strawberry jam and sour cream, a Norwegian favorite — waiting.

The border post, OP 247, offers a commanding view of this starkly beautiful area some 250 miles above the Arctic Circle. To the east, on the other side of the border, is a Russian observation post and a coast guard facility. Directly ahead, across the Barents Sea, is the small Norwegian island of Vardo, which houses a U.S.-funded military surveillance radar system.

"Apparently it's annoying the Russians a lot," says Capt. Sigurd Harsheim, commander of Jarfjord border company, because the radar installation helps keep an eye on Russian movements in the High North. "Basically you have good control of the entire Barents Sea and everything around it ... and I think part of the irritation is that it's American built."

There's good reason recently to keep a line of sight on Russia, whose sheer land mass overwhelms the seven other Arctic nations. Warming temperatures are opening up shipping lanes and uncovering the polar region's abundant natural resources. And now several nations are engaging in a military buildup of the Arctic. Russia is upgrading its military capabilities with new fighter jets and navy vessels, and its submarines are pushing farther into the North Atlantic. Norwegian military officials say Russia is also carrying out cruise missile tests and live-fire military exercises. That is forcing its neighbor, Norway, and other NATO members to rethink their military strategy in the region.

A world in which Arkhangelsk is ice-free year-round is a strategic world that nobody has ever confronted before.

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Reply The de-icing of the Barents sea has huge strategic implications (Original post)
Recursion Nov 3 OP
Arthur_Frain Nov 3 #1

Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2019, 11:41 AM

1. Climate change is important and will adversely affect us in many ways

But it’s still unpredictable enough, and will be for a while, that this kind of strikes me as making up stuff to worry about when we should be focused on more pressing issues.

If I had to consider this at all, I would imagine that it would be more of a potential problem in the end game of climate change, for whatever remnant of humanity was left on scattered island ‘nations’.

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