Putin’s Arctic Gambit – At our door.

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In 2009 I posted an article, Obama’s Blunder On Iran, in which I noted,When Obama backed off the deployment of a missile defense system in Europe, he did so without gaining a single concession from Putin and Russia.” Obama had just cancelled a Bush plan of installing Interceptor missiles in Poland and an advanced radar system in the Czech Republic to defend against long-range missiles from Iran, or from Russia if need be.

North Pole

North Pole

In a long O’Reilly / Obama interview during the 2008 Presidential campaign, Obama told endless lies, which in retrospect are outrageous and are an embarrassment. The lies and obfuscations are even more pathetic when we listen with ears informed with six years of Obama as President. The lies are pathetic, but more importantly, they offer a warning to voters and taxpayers that a little diligence is de rigueur when voting for leadership.

At about the 4:20 mark on the interview video, O’Reilly forces Obama to make a statement on the missile defines shield and Obama responds,  “I believe the missile shield is appropriate.” A year later, as the new President, Obama cancelled the missile shield without quid pro quo from Putin.  This act was a major blunder by any measure of  anything relevant.

Fast forward to 2014 and soar over the long smoke trail of international incompetence from the White House, which began with that gullible, or willingly pernicious decision, choking the Western World and the Middle East.  A portion of the Ukraine has been irreparably damaged and annexed by Putin. Iran is advancing fearlessly toward nuclear power. The Middle East is on fire from Algeria to Israel. And, well, back to Putin — he’s not simply satisfied with expanding his empire to pre-Gorbachev days, he’s expanding North to the North Pole. There is oil and gas under that ice, and there is power and influence to spread, plus there’s North America just a short missile launch away.

In 2011 Russia claimed ownership of part of the Arctic continental shelf including the Lomonosov and Mendeleev Ridges. Although Russia is the only non-NATO Arctic state (the others are the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark), Putin has demonstrated his readiness to “invade.”  Should we be concerned with his aggressive stance in the Arctic?  Apparently not, if you only listen to “liberal” media and experts.

Lt. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Putin’s National Defense Management Center, has said, “We are planning to build 13 airfields, an air-ground firing range, as well as ten radar and vectoring posts.” Putin is building up his military presence in the Arctic and has stated his intention to place troops, advanced warships and aircraft in the region. To go along with new airfields, Putin has ordered-up nuclear-capable long-range strategic bombers. He is investing in new nuclear-powered icebreakers capable of splitting sheets of ice nine feet thick, and he is building a new class of ballistic missile submarines which are difficult to track under thick polar ice. And where to house them? The network of new naval bases.

Are these military efforts strictly because Putin wants to claim access to oil and gas riches under the Arctic circle? Or is it to use an argued-for continental shelf extension for establishing his own ring of potential missile launching capabilities just over the Northern horizon?

Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Steven Harper has recently irritated the “left” minds across his country with a surprise push to claim Canadian ownership to the sea floor from the Canadian northern borders all the way to the North Pole. Of course, since there are three North Poles, geographic, magnetic and geomagnetic, and lawyers are negotiating which one to use on the way to settling claims, the question is complicated, however, Harper’s gesture is a signal to Putin and to the world that he’s laying down his own “line in the sand.”

Harper’s Canadian detractors have about as much common sense as Obama’s Administration. They spout-off claims that international laws and years of diplomacy should be followed, and that Harper is flouting international understandings that the Arctic is owned by all mankind. They don’t understand that Harper is launching a response to Putin’s gambit. They don’t understand the realities of the world they live in.

Here’s a perfect example of the left’s uninformed perspective on Harper’s decision, as presented in a newspaper anchored in very statist ideology, “The whole thing just reeks of amateurism. It sounds like the decision-makers had no idea as to the actual facts of the situation and were making up policy without any reference to international law or to decades of diplomatic practice on this issue.” This was emitted from the mouth of Michael Byers, a professor of international law at the University of British Columbia, a typical hotbed of academic ideologues hating any and all actions emanating from the office of a Conservative Prime Minister.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea gets fuzzy when the fog of continental geology is further muddled by whose continent a particular oceanic ridge, or submarine elevation, naturally extends from. Oh, and is it a submarine elevation? Or is it a submarine ridge, consisting of volcanic rock? Volcanic rock differs from continental shelf geology and therefore they differ in origin. Tell that to Putin. Tell him the Lomonosov Ridge isn’t a natural extension of his continental shelf. He cares. Naval bases are going in. Period. His missile Offence system is going in – just over that very cold ridge.  Period.  Who stands in his way now?

Can we revisit the nuclear missile shield defense system in Europe for a quid pro quo? Please? Pretty please?

A constituent of the vast baby boomer generation with a career which has been fortunate to know the ponderous corporate worlds, as well as the intimately pressurized, and invigorating entrepreneurial domains of high tech and venture capital, I have harvested my share of mistakes meandering through corridors of enterprise from Silicon Valley, to London and endless, colourful, sometimes praetorian points in between. The voyage has provided an abundance of fodder for a pen yielding to an inquisitive keyboard, a foraging mind, and a passionate spirit. Whether political or business or social or economic or personal, is it not all political? It is a privilege to write, and an even greater privilege to be read by anyone, and sometimes with the wind at my back the writing may occasionally be legible. I do not write to invite scorn, nor to invite respect, but if I get really lucky the writing can stimulate thinking. I also write for the very selfish purpose of animating my own processes, and engaging the best of what life offers. Above all, whether biting fire or swatting shadows, I am grateful to be gifted the freedom to write and publish whatever flows down to the keyboard. To all those who enabled this freedom, and to all those standing guard to preserve it, I am indebted.

29 Responses to “Putin’s Arctic Gambit – At our door.”

  1. 1

    Smorgasbord

    obama said he was going to eliminate nuclear weapons by reducing ours. Other countries would be EMBARRASSED, and they would reduce theirs. I’m guessing that this is the first time in history that EMBARRASSMENT would be used as a weapon.

  2. 2

    joetote

    Way back when there was a series of fabulous books written by Commander Edward Beach starting with Run Silent, Run Deep. It was a continuing story of Rich Richardson and his submarine crews from early in WWII and into the nuclear age of subs. The second book was Deep Is The Sea and I believe the third book of the series was Cold Is The Sea. The third book was set in the now nuclear age and detailed a sub going under the ice cap and being stranded. A rescue mission is mounted by now Adm. Richardson and in turn he has to face some demons left over from WWII.

    The main premise of the book however is the discovery of a secret Soviet Submarine base that had in turn attacked our subs. This book was written well over 25 years ago. I wonder if Mr. Beach ever imagined his words could in fact come true. Russian annexation of the Arctic should not be treated as some kind of joke.

    As you state above, Lt. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Putin’s National Defense Management Center, has said, “We are planning to build 13 airfields, an air-ground firing range, as well as ten radar and vectoring posts.” The only difference from the fiction that is in the book series I cite is that the Russians, knowing we have have a gutless, leftist President, openly declare their intentions, having no reason to fear the us.

    I’ve always wondered how much of that third book, although fiction had a basis from reality. in his 2 earlier books, there was much historical fact strewn throughout, especially as to the problems with torpedoes and the high ranking Navy personal who were far to political and protecting their own asses at the expense of the submariners of the time (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) In effect, could it be there was an attempt early in the 60’s or so by the Russians to establish a secret base in the Arctic?

    One should not be the least bit surprised by the actions of Putin. A rank amateur elitist academic Presdidnt is no match for a hardened ex KBG agent and that is just a fact.

  3. 3

    Smorgasbord

    @joetote: #2

    In effect, could it be there was an attempt early in the 60’s or so by the Russians to establish a secret base in the Arctic?

    If I remember correctly, our first nuclear sub went under the North Pole on its shakedown cruise. I thought that was VERY strange for its first trip. Did they have a good reason to go under the North Pose so soon, or did they just feel the sub was safe enough to show the world what it can do?

  4. 4

    joetote

    @Smorgasbord:
    You know, its strange, but I hadn’t even thought of the Nautilus when I responded earlier. I do remember their being some folks questioning the wisdom of the first long trial being under the ice though. And history also shows there were “problems” to say the least during the trip.

    I was once told by a teacher many years ago that all fiction has at least some basis in fact. And if memory serves, Cmdr. Beach wrote his third book not long after that intial cruise of the Nautilus.

  5. 5

    joetote

    Just a bit more as to Cmdr. Beach:

    He wrote Cold Is The Sea in 1978. He was a highly decorated Sub captain in WWII responsible for the sinking or damage of 45 Japanese ships.

    He was also the skipper of the Triton (SSN-586), the first submarine to circumnavigate the earth, and naval aide to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    As a Naval aid to a President, he could easily have had access to events that happened but were not necessarily public. As such, there could be at least some fact in this novel.

    Again, I just never realized that particular book could in ways be a possible prediction of future Russian actions as we are seeing now. Just interesting to say the least.

  6. 6

    Smorgasbord

    @joetote: #4
    When I was in high school, I got interested in books about the submariners during the war, and I read every book they had about them. I then read all the books in the town library. I then read all of the fiction stories about submarines. Then I never read another book for most of my life.

    I decided I wanted to be a submariner. On one vacation trip my parents took, we were in line to get on an American sub. I don’t remember where. We were the next group that would be going through, but were told that the group that just went would be the last. I was greatly disappointed. Many years later I did get to go on a German one in Chicago.

  7. 10

    James Raider

    author

    @Smorgasbord: #1,
    While some of us had a good sense of what to expect from this know-not-much-done-not-much President, a majority are finally accepting it was a mistake to place such incompetence in a position of enormous power.

    As you know, but too many don’t grasp, is that this “enormous power position” isn’t just hyperbolic branding — it’s fact. The cogency of the oval office can influence the lives of everyone on Earth. The result of having placed Obama in that seat is unmitigated disaster being inflicted on millions around the globe.

    Putin is being confrontational in the extreme, and China? . . . Let’s look at what it said this week while awaiting his arrival:

    . . . he has done an insipid job, offering nearly nothing to his supporters. US society has grown tired of his banality. . . . . Obama’s best performance is empty rhetoric, while he achieved nothing on issues such as lowering the income gap. . . . . the Ukrainian crisis has almost brought Europe back to the Cold War era, and his pivot to Asia strategy only increased mistrust between China and the US and among East Asian countries.

    Wall Street senior bankers bought this Presidency, and we’ll all pay the price.

  8. 11

    joetote

    @Smorgasbord:

    There is an author named Harry Homewood who also wrote some great Sub books. submarines have always fascinated me . My dad actually took me down to the beach and I saw the U505 pulled out of the water in Chicago. I was to young at the time to realize the significance of the bout to be sure. noen the less, I spent many hours over the years on that sub. In fact, the Museum of Science and Industry is still one of my favorite places in the world

  9. 14

    Smorgasbord

    @joetote: #11

    My dad actually took me down to the beach and I saw the U505 pulled out of the water in Chicago.

    That is the sub I was on. It surprised me when I saw the small pipe that would let water in if they had to scuttle it. Is that the sub that we captured and got their code machine? If so, I can see why they had time to board it and stop the water from coming in.

    I too love science museums.

    When were these writers writing their sub books? I graduated from high school in 1964, and might have read their books if they wrote them before that.

  10. 16

    joetote

    @Smorgasbord:

    The U505 was captured by Admiral Daniel Gallery. It had an enigma machine in it, but by then we already had one and had broken the code. It was the first ship boarded and captured on the high seas by the American navy since the war of 1812. He was in command of a station in Iceland and there is a famous story of his putting Aluminum pine trees on the beach there. At that time, he decided he was going to board and capture a ship at sea if possible. When he got command of a jeep carrier called the Guadalcanal, the rest is history.

    The story is fascinating and the capture was actually a lucky thing after a series of errors and so forth while in pursuit. I would highly recommend his books. He has a great one about the capture itself, wrote a couple others that were serious (he was also a thorn in the side for the Navy as he was hell bent on airing his views) and also wrote some of the funniest books ever written as to the Navy, especially one called Cap’n Fatso. The story within the story of the USS Turtle alone is enough to make me break into tears I laugh so hard.

    Run Silent Run Deep was written in 1955 and followed up four years later with Deep Is The Sea. Beach also wrote a few other books, one called Submarine that is pure fact.

    Homewood wrote his books later, sometime in the early 80’s I think. They were well written and also spanned the period from WWII to the nuclear age, following the exploits of Capt. Mike Brannon. He also wrote a book called O Ye Gods Of Battle.

  11. 19

    Smorgasbord

    @joetote: For some reason I am not much of a book reader. I might have a learning disability, because I read slower than most people, and my comprehension is lousy. I don’t even like long magazine articles.

    I keep telling myself that the next time I see a doctor for something, I will ask them to find out if I have a learning disability, but I keep forgetting. I saw one today for a minor thing, and forgot again. It’s not old age, because my comprehension and memory has been bad for many, many years. That was part of the reason I didn’t do too well in school.

  12. 21

    Smorgasbord

    @Redteam: #17
    One question that has been asked that the politicians is why we aren’t buying oil from Mexico. Oil sales is the #2 source of income for them. #1 is the illegals in America sending money home to their families in Mexico. Why don’t we buy from them, which would help their economy, and keep many Mexicans from coming to America? It would also cost a lot less than having it shipped from the Arabs.

  13. 22

    Smorgasbord

    @Richard+Wheeler: #20

    I suspect they’ll secure the border.

    You reminded me of the time I went to Winnipeg to visit my son while he was stationed there. The two officials looked at me suspiciously, and asked me why I had the stuff I did in the car. I was moving, and didn’t know where I would be settling in, and since I figured it could be 1-2 years before I found a place I wanted to live, I left only with stuff in my car, and nothing else.

    I told the officials I was moving, and was visiting family along the way. They explained that there were people trying to sneak into the country that they didn’t want. I ask them something like, “You mean like the illegals we have?” They said yes, and for some reason, they seemed more friendly after that. They called my son’s house, and his wife answered, and confirmed that they were expecting me, and they let me in. I would have gone back into the USA the same place, except that rain had flooded many of the roads before I left, and I had to go west a long way before I could go back south, and into the USA.

  14. 25

    Smorgasbord

    @Redteam: #24
    I’m curious why we aren’t buying more from Mexico. If they won’t sell us more, I can understand. It just seems that since they are as close to us as they are, it would be cheaper for them to sell us more, than the other countries they sell it to. I do admit that I am uninformed on this issue.

  15. 26

    Redteam

    @Smorgasbord:

    just seems that since they are as close to us as they are, it would be cheaper for them to sell us more,

    Smorgy, you do recall that the Dims are in control and their objective is NOT to lower energy costs in the US.

  16. 27

    Smorgasbord

    @Redteam: #26

    Smorgy, you do recall that the Dims are in control and their objective is NOT to lower energy costs in the US.

    I also know that they don’t want the US to do any more drilling, and I also have heard from different people who worked on oil wells, and when they hit oil, the well was capped. Where have the republicans been while all of this was going on administration after administration?

    This is why we need to get rid of ALL incumbents. We need to put a republican in the white house at the next election, then the work needs to begin to get them and all the members of congress out of office at their next election. I know it won’t happen, but who knows, maybe it will start. We need a WE THE PEOPLE party that is actually for the people.

  17. 29

    Smorgasbord

    @John: 28
    My subscription to Discover magazine is up, and I told them I will not be renewing because they are still writing stories about the earth warming, when it has stayed steady for about 17 years now, and there is more ice at the Poles than there has been for many years. I don’t want to help finance the lie of global warming.

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