Friday, August 10, 2007

Russian Roulette Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

The argument that we aren't in colonial times anymore, that planting a flag somewhere is not proof of conquest anymore, is not really a valid one. This is because it is redundant; it isn't valid because it isn't valid and that's why it's not done anymore. There are other arguments, however, which invalidate the Russian bid to secure arctic control with a flag and a submarine. One of them stands out above the rest.

Occupation. Use. They are the sole determinants of whether or not a piece of land belongs to anyone - short of a land deed, proving ownership through acquisition. Unfortunately, this doesn't bode particularly well for Canada's land-claim, either, but the fact of the matter is that, unless either country can prove that it has the means, desire, opportunity & motivation to make use of the arctic and arctic waters - even if those motivations are martial & defensive in nature.

The deep water port & icebreakers proposed by Harper's government would prove that martial intent, but until they're actually built & deployed, it's still anyone's game. The arctic is no man's land and the Russian flag sitting on the bottom of the ocean under miles of ice won't change that. Not until they decide to use it.

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