Will the Arctic be the New Spot for a Potential NATO vs. Russia War?

In a report by Bloomberg, there is growing indication that the Arctic region could be a new flashpoint for potential conflict between Russia and the Collective West.

Even with the Russo-Ukrainian conflict raging on with no end in sight, Russia and the United States are looking to militarize the Arctic and exploit it for its vast economic resources. 

According to some estimates, the Arctic seabed holds roughly one-fourth of the world’s oil and natural gas resources. In addition, the development of new Arctic sea routes could reduce the number of days, even weeks, of traditional commercial shipping passages. 

Due to Russia beginning to crank up military activity in the Arctic, NATO is preparing to counter Russia’s growing influence in the region. 

With Finland now joining NATO, there are now 6 out of 8 Arctic nations in NATO. This represents another way the Western military alliance is trying to encircle Russia, which could prompt it to try to militarize the region. 

“If Russia wants to be a great power, if Russia wants to have a credible nuclear deterrent, if Russia wants to be in control of the immediate security environment in Northern Europe and also in the Arctic, it needs to have a very strong security and military position in the Arctic,” declared Andreas Østhagen, a senior researcher at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Norway. “That’s not going to go away — it’s probably just going to increase once Sweden and Finland join NATO.”

One of the key areas that the two power blocs will vie over will be 

The Greenland-Iceland-UK gap, where Russian vessels must pass through to gain access to the Atlantic Ocean. Should Russia’s vessels reach this area, its naval forces could potentially throw a major wrench in commercial shipping or cut off military supply lines for the US, thereby making it more difficult for the US to send reinforcements to Europe. 

Due to the alleged impact climate change is having on Arctic ice caps, Russia could potentially have access to new fossil fuels and rare earth metal deposits. Rebecca Pincus, Director of the Polar Institute at the Wilson Center believes this is one factor motivating the Russians to dial up military activity in the Arctic. 

“Part of it was establishing the ability to protect, monitor, and control all this new traffic that they’re bringing in and all these resources that they want to develop,” Pincus observed. “So the Russian impulse to build up military capabilities in the Russian Arctic makes sense.”

A Scientific American report points to the Arctic warming four times as fast as the rest of the globe. Longer periods without ice will generally lead to heightened sea traffic and potentially easier ways to extract natural resources. Roughly 90 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered gas could lie inside the Arctic Circle, per the United States Geological Survey. 

Undoubtedly, the Arctic will become another theater for potential conflict between Russia and the Collective West. The political classes of the Collective West still can’t come to grips with the failure of their Ukraine project so they will try to stick it to Russia in another region such as the Arctic. More than just a petty attack against Russia, confronting Russia in the Arctic could be motivated by a desire to deprive it of a means to grow its wealth. If Russia could hypothetically tap into the resources of the Arctic, it could be well on its way to becoming a legitimate superpower and one of the most economically robust countries on the planet. 

For that reason, the fanatics of the Collective West will try to contain its Arctic aspirations, much to the detriment of world geopolitical stability. 

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