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Geopolitics - Sept 22

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Melting Ice Brings Competition for Resources

Gerald Traufetter, Der Spiegel Online
Climate change is freeing the Arctic of ice -- and spurring a global competition for the natural resources stored beneath. Countries that border the sea are

staking new territorial claims and oil giants are dispatching geologists. But what will the tug-of-war mean for the indigenous people and wildlife?...

  • As the wheat farming zone shifts farther to the north in Siberia, the Russians are looking forward to rich harvests.
  • Farmers in Greenland recently began growing potatoes and broccoli, making the territory less dependant on shipments from the south.
  • US aluminum producer Alco plans to build a huge aluminum smelter near Greenland's capital city, Nuuk. Hydroelectric power from melting glaciers will

    provide the electricity for the plant.

  • As the ice melts, previously impassable shipping routes become navigable. Large amounts of money and effort are already being poured into expanding ports

    like Murmansk, Churchill and Hammerfest.

  • Most of all, the Arctic is releasing unimagined amounts of resources, especially oil and gas, but also various ores...

This is a five part article.
Part 1: Melting Ice Brings Competition for Resources
Part 2: An Arctic Cold War?
Part 3: Russia Flexes its Muscles
Part 4: The Opening of the Northwest Passage
Part 5: The Plight of the Inuit

(19 September 2008)



Russia's ties with Venezuela worrying

Zhang Quanyi, UPI Asia
Ningbo, China — With the situation in Georgia still unsettled, Russia and Venezuela declared they would hold joint military exercises in November in Venezuela – regarded by the United States as its own backyard. Russia’s military move will definitely worsen already tense relations with the United States.
Two Russian bombers have already arrived in Venezuela, and Russian officials have confirmed that Russian naval ships, including the nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser Peter the Great and the anti-submarine ship Chabanenko, will take part in joint military exercises. Venezuela’s chief of naval intelligence, Salvatore Cammarata Bastidas, said the exercises were aimed at strengthening military ties – a taboo phrase from the U.S. point of view.

According to media reports, four warships with as many as 1,000 sailors from Russia's Pacific Fleet could take part in the November training exercise off Venezuela's coast.

In a sign that it is paying attention to Russia’s military moves with Venezuela, the United States has sent navy ships and bombers along the Latin American coastline to keep an eye on developments there. Washington has indicated it will do everything necessary to protect its national interest in this area...
(22 September 2008)



Pakistan stares into the abyss

Leader article, The Independent
Pakistan lies at the centre of American strategic calculations about South and Central Asia. All the United States' plans regarding Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the struggle against al-Qa'ida, involve Pakistan, which is why Saturday's blast in Islamabad is not only a human tragedy but a deeply troubling sign that the crisis in global security is further than ever from a resolution. That terrorists can cause such carnage in the middle of the capital of Pakistan not only makes a mockery of President Asif Zardari's claims to be getting tough on Islamic militants but raises long-term fears for the state's very survival. The fact is that terrorists have been detonating bombs with growing boldness in recent months.

About 30 people were killed earlier this month in Peshawar, while another 78 people perished in twin suicide bombings in August in the weapons factory in the town of Wah. It is only because the victims did not include Westerners and diplomats that these terrible attacks attracted such little international attention.
(22 September 2008)

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