While the eyes of conspiracy theorists are permamently fixed on the Middle East and Central Asia as the Last Great Battleground for easy access to oil, it looks like both NATO and Russia are capable of hiring slightly more intelligent people.
At least, those intelligent enough to realize that sitting under the Arctic circle are massive oil reserves, so far claimed by no-one.Â And as the economic crisis continues to deepen, both are considering sending in military forces to show everyone who really owns the oil and gas hidden under the ice.
Russia is especially worried.Â Their much inflated and hysterically claimed resurgence only came about due to stable political leadership, ie; Putin, along with the strategic use of Russian oil and gas reserves to improve the economy and rebuild its military power.Â With the current economic crisis, consumption is down and oil prices have plummeted, putting Russia in a very precarious position.Â Economic growth is not assured and Russia’s economy has not really diversified in recent years, arms sales aside.
NATO claims that global warming means sea routes previously closed would open again, and that military forces in the region could act as a stablizing factor to ensure possible rivalries don’t get out of hand.Â And while this is true, we’d be fools to consider that the Russian interest in massive energy resources is not also a facor.
It is tempting to put a Cold War pun here, but I will refrain.Â But I do wonder how China, Japan and other rising powers (such as India) would react to renewed tension in the Arctic circle.Â Concentrating such a crisis away from Eastern Europe, the Far East or South Asia may have interesting repurcussions on previously stable alliances.
Keep an eye on this one.Â It’s going to be a slow burner.