BALTIMORE – New US Arctic strategy is a step in the fight with China and Russia, but it is also noticeable that Washington is losing this fight, said Hal Brands, a professor at Johns Hopkins University.
Russia has increased its power in the Arctic region and established control over key sea lanes, in particular the so-called North Sea Route.
For its part, China is making efforts to fight for the region, intensifying its military presence and acting in accordance with the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, also called the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
“The Bering Sea could become a future Persian Gulf and will have a strong influence on the international scene. However, the US no longer has a place in this region,” said Brands.
Currently realizing the importance of the region, the Pentagon plans to conduct exercises and set up expeditionary groups of Marines capable of acting in an arctic environment, as well as to increase partnership with allies in defense of important maritime routes in the region.
“The US may face serious problems because of the large difference between its objectives and resources,” he said.
Russia has 14 icebreakers, 6 bases in the Arctic and has invested in the development of the region. For its part, China has far fewer means of action, but has been constantly working in this direction, Brands noted.
On the other hand, the US only has 2 old icebreakers, which are not suitable for action in the region. US infrastructure at the site has become obsolete and its renovation would require large financial resources .
Problems with allies and climate change
Conflict of interest in the region is likely to cause the US problems with its allies.
“Canada considers the Arctic Northwest Passage as part of its coastline, which is not in accordance with Washington’s interpretation of international law,” said Brands.
Finally, the professor sees a lack of coherence between the strategy of his country and its climate policy, reported Bloomberg.
“Washington does not cooperate with its allies in the fight against global warming, while it does not consider climate change a problem,” he said.
However, it accuses China of being guilty of climate change and undermining US competition by using a highly polluting industrial model.
Brands says Washington’s “lack of commitment to climate will be a strategic disadvantage of the country” in the future.