As the crisis over a ‘mysterious’ and unknown Russian submarine believed to be trapped in Swedish coastal waters escalates, President Vladimir Putin is taking no chances that their Northern European neighbor will use its military to threaten discovered oil fields Russia has made claim to in the Arctic region. And on Oct. 21, the Russian leader has decided to react with force and is deploying troops and robotic sentries to the Arctic to ensure the dispute reaches no further than its current location.
Over the weekend, Swedish news sources reported that a disabled Russian submarine had gone down in the Stockholm archipelago, and that attempts to contact the boat were met with silence. In fact, Russian authorities irrefutably denied that any ship or submarine had entered or was disabled in Swedish waters, but over the past two days tensions have risen between the two neighboring countries that Sweden has now deployed their military in an attempt to track and find this mysterious unknown vessel.
On the heels of Sweden’s military deployment (following the discovery of a damaged Russian sub), it appears Russia is taking no chances with its access to Arctic resources.As Reuters reports, the Russian defense minister announced today that Russian military units will be deployed along the entire Arctic border from Murmansk to Chukotka in 2014.
Interfax adds that combat robots are also being deployed to protect Russian oil and gas infrastructure in the harsh environment of the Arctic. This should be no surprise as The Guardian notes, the Arctic’s hydrocarbon resources nevertheless exert a powerful pull. It has been compared to “a second Middle East”, with oil and gas reserves thought to represent 17% and 30%, respectively, of the global total. – Zerohedge
Control over the Arctic oil reserves is of supreme importance to Russia, and any Northern latitude country that seeks economic and political power for the future as energy resources in the Middle East continue to dwindle. In fact, the past 40 years has seen the U.S., and in particular Saudi Arabia, control a large portion of economic policy around the world through their petro-dollar agreement, and OPEC’s domination of energy production. But as the world quickly moves away from the dollar, and as the Middle East begins to decline from peak production, nations who can control the next energy frontier will have the power to dictate new economic policies which will also equate to political dominance.
More than at anytime since the height of the Cold War, it seems like the entire world is on the edge economically, militarily, and geo-politically. And where something as small as a foreign vessel being believed to reside in another nation’s waters seems trivial in the big picture, the consequences of small events today can quickly lead to escalating tensions, just as the assassination of the Arch-Duke Ferdinand 100 years ago set the dominoes in motion to begin World War I, and a truly global conflict.