President Obama’s Alaskan climate grandstanding was a flop on its two most vital points.
Kenai Peninsula’s melting Exit Glacier that he used as “proof of human-caused climate change” has been melting since trail markers were staked at its snout in 1815 during the Little Ice Age maximum and before industrialization.
The U.S.-led Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement, and Resilience (GLACIER) in Anchorage supposedly “ended with a joint declaration calling for more international action to tackle climate change,” but didn’t.
China Central Television (CCTV) reported, “According to a U.S. Arctic Press and Public Affairs Officer, China and India did not sign the statement.” That sends Obama a troubling signal for the Paris summit, and China sent him a more pointed message: The Wall Street Journal Asia broke the story that while Obama talked, China operated five warships off the Alaska coast in the Bering Sea. No media reported the incredible fact that there are no U.S. military bases on the thousand-mile Alaska coast within the Arctic Circle.
Fox News underlined the importance of the Arctic conference: “Forty percent of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves lie under the Arctic. Melting ice also would lead to new shipping routes, and Russia wants to establish a kind of Suez Canal which it controls. More than a Cold War, Russia may be preparing for an Ice War, and the Pentagon is taking note.”
Getting to the oil and gas takes a fleet of behemoth icebreakers. While in Alaska, Obama announced he would speed up the acquisition of icebreakers. Obama’s unimpressive Arctic fleet has only three icebreakers, two of them moored for years in need of repairs, and the other used only in open-water icebreaking.
The U.S is coming to the Arctic game forty years late, said Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who had just informed a May Senate appropriations committee hearing that the U.S. military Arctic defense policy is falling short. Russia is militarizing the Arctic, and the U.S. is not prepared.
The U.S. is trying to play catch-up with Putin’s Russia, which already has forty Arctic-capable icebreakers, 25 of them nuclear powered.
A month ago, The New York Times reported that “Russia formally staked a claim to a vast area of the Arctic Ocean, including the North Pole…. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the claim would expand Russia’s total territory on land and sea by about 1.2 million square kilometers, or about 463,000 square miles.”
The dire warnings about climate change that Obama gave Alaska and the GLACIER conference seem blind to geopolitical change. Military realities face Obama, but is he facing them?
And this man is leading us against Vladimir Putin, who has activated his Northern Fleet – two-thirds of the entire Russian Navy – as a strategic military command, and assigned a 6,000-soldier Russian Arctic warfare unit to the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya with next generation fighter aircraft in addition to advanced S400 Triumf anti-aircraft systems.
And an Arctic military reconnaissance drone base 420 miles off mainland Alaska just went operational. What will it see?