On a trip in 2007 to the Arctic Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, said: “Canada’s new government understands that the first principle of Arctic sovereignty is: use it or lose it. Today’s announcements tell the world that Canada has a real, growing, long-term presence in the Arctic.”

Canada then planned to build an army training centre for 100 troops in Resolute Bay, and a deep-water port is to be built on Baffin Island, to bolster Canada’s claim in the Arctic.

The move came after a Russian sub planted a flag on the Arctic seabed. Moscow claims rights to half the Arctic. The US, Norway and Denmark also have claims.

Unfortunately NATO’s role in the Arctic is uncertain and unfocused.

Russia is building up a formidable force in the north. There is a new generation of nuclear powered icebreakers and new ballistic submarines. Two special brigades are to be based in the Russian Arctic.

There is in 2014 a need for a reenergized and refinanced NATO.

Norway has reported growing Russian espionage against the oil and gas sector.

In response to Russian aggressive moves Norway is setting up an Arctic battalion. It will be equipped with snowmobiles, ATVs and other light vehicles.

It is time for the four NATO countries in the Arctic Council (United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway) to act. The opportunity should be used when Canada is chair of the council this year and the United States from 2015.


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