Well, the race for the control of the Arctic seems to be on. Russia, Norway, Denmark, Canada. Each has its eye on certain sections of the north polar region, and the thus control of the presumed oil and other resourcers under the sea bed. Canada is the latest player to stake its claims. They're already at odds with Denmark over control of an island between Greenland and Ellesmere. Now Canada is opening a military base within 370 miles of the North Pole.
Meanwhile Denmark is claiming an underwater Arctic ridge that Russia also claims. And a Norwegian official today dismissed recent Russia activities as "show business." August 2nd a Russian team planted a flag on the seabed thousands of feet directly beneath the North Pole.
There's been some huffing and puffing from American officials as well, though the Arctic is many miles from Iraq and Afghanistan.
So far nobody is threatening violence.
At stake in this new push for polar territory is not just possible oil deposits beneath the sea, but a chance to control the soon-to-be-created Northwest Passage, a dream of 19th Century mariners. As polar ice disappears, a ship will pass between the Atlantic and Pacific by going north of Canada and Alaska, thus saving many days and miles compared to the current passage through the Panama Canal.
The lovely Arctic region map is from our very own American C.I.A. Fine cartographers, no?