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 Post subject: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:08 am 
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Published by Canada.com is a jolly little tale about how the EU has taken it upon itself to declare the Arctic region part of Europe's "immediate vicinity" and thus invite itself as a party to talks over the future of polar exploitation.

Even though the commission concedes that the European Union has "no direct coastline on the Arctic Ocean", having decided that it is in this fabled, "immediate vicinity", it is thus proposing that all nations which do actually have direct coastlines should conform with "binding international standards" to govern offshore oil extraction. And, of course, the EU should have a hand in framing those "standards".

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:25 am 
Wonder if the Russians might have a bit of an issue with Europe's delcaration of interest in the Arctic? As I seem to recall, the Russians haven't taken kindly to Canadian and American Arctic resources claims. The Ruskies will ask one question of potential interlopers: how big is your Arctic naval fleet? Canada is attempting to beef up the number and quality of ships in NW Passage. Now remind me, how many warships does the EU have up there?


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 Post subject: Re: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:20 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:10 am
Posts: 30
Location: Huntington Beach CA USA
Currently Russia has ten designated icebreakers, 7 diesel and 3 nuclear, but they were all privatized in the 90's for use in keeping Murmansk and Archangel open during the winter. The Russian Navy would either have to militarize or rent the fleet to actually have an immediate tactical or strategic effect which would put its shipping lanes at risk from closure during the winter. On a yearly basis 1 Russian icebreaker is used in cooperation with the USCG to open the ice pack to McMurdo Station in Antarctica but that ship was on a lease arrangement from the private company. Russia announced last summer that it had began building 7 nuclear powered icebreakers for assignment to the Border Guards but no new keels have been identified and the suspicion is that, like Russia's new air craft carrier fleet, it exists on a CADCAM somewhere and in the home movies of various politicians.

Denmark has 4 diesel icebreakers in its navy which are lightly armed, the USCG has 3 in service and all 3 can be quickly retrofitted with ASW helicopters or cruise missiles. The latter I suppose to either blow up very big ice bergs or fight off Inuit pirates. The USCGS is currently battling with Congress over whether to proceed with the futile effort to refurbish the current ships, convert one of the USN's replenishment ships or go ahead with a plan to build 8 new ships of the Polar Star class in addition to the current fleet acquisitions but with new electronics, interchangeability of weapons systems and most importantly permanent ASW capabilities. While Canada currently has 6 in service, 1 identical to the Polar Stars of the US and the other 5 much smaller but Canada is also in the process of essentially building armed ice breakers to patrol the Northwest Passage and has built an all weather military and CGS base on Baffin Island.

Currently Canada, the US and Denmark are able to deploy dedicated icebreakers to the Arctic for patrol while the Russian icebreakers are tasked with keeping Murmansk open and when necessary escorting some of Russia's litoral fleet to the Northern Atlantic . They currently do not have anywhere near the same capabilities as the West. I suppose that the EU could claim that Greenland, as an autonomous province of the EU member state Denmark is the camel's head in the tent but then the Danes have proven remarkably uninterested in using its military in any way that might benefit the EU. But it appears that all the players here are playing a decade long cold war where the threats are limited to what will be built in the next ten years rather than actual deployable assets.


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 Post subject: Re: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:49 am 
Sweden and Finland are part of the Arctic, sort of. As sweeteners before membership referendums in those countries the northern regions where classified as "arctic" and "sub-arctic" and therefore entitled to lots and lots of agricultural subsidies.


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 Post subject: Re: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:24 pm 
"Currently Canada, the US and Denmark are able to deploy dedicated icebreakers to the Arctic".

They break the precious ice? What about the polar bears? Oh the inhumanity!


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 Post subject: Re: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:19 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 6:06 pm
Posts: 356
Thanks Pat, that's good information. Is there any possibility that Greenland would become an independent country? Does Greenland have any mineral or energy resources? I seem to recall that the US has a naval or air force contigent assigned to Greenland.


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 Post subject: Re: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:54 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:47 pm
Posts: 4434
If there is one sure way to make sure the Arctic Ice disappears, it would be to let the EU run it.


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 Post subject: Re: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:13 pm 
Is this a joke, an early April Fool perhaps? Or is it really true?


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 Post subject: Re: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:38 pm 
Keep your theiving EU nose out of our Arctic.


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 Post subject: Re: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:11 am
Posts: 6700
Hmm, EU meets Sarah Palin...
Rounds 1 & 2 to the EU on points, KO by Palin round 3....

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 Post subject: Re: There's no business like snow business
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:36 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:10 am
Posts: 30
Location: Huntington Beach CA USA
Sonomaca-Greenland is an independent country though it's foreign affairs and military protection are still the responsibility of the Danes. I forgot that Greenland had withdrawn from the EU in 1985 because of the fishing quotas and as much as some of the younger Greenlanders are anti-US they are more hostile towards Europe. But I doubt if the Greenlanders are masochists enough to become completely independent as half of their national budget is a subsidy and its fishing fleet is protected by the Danes, the Americans and the Canadians and operates without EU quotas There are some known sources of oil and coal but the cost of exploration is still very high, especially with oil at $55 a barrel and still available in places where the prevailing winds are not 100+mph and shorts are worn in public and not just on Baywatch reruns on cable tv.

During the Cold War the US used Greenland as a site for bomber patrols as well as DEW and the subsequent early warning systems. It appears that there still are also operational missile silos but the US and Greenland have agreed that Greenland is non-nuclear so it's doubtful if the US still has any offensive capability in the area. Greenland was not used as a replacement for the bases closed when the US left Iceland which has caused a national epidemic of buyer's remorse recently. Greenland is important for where it is not what it is.


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