This past fall, Vladimir Putin deployed thousands of Russian ground troops into the Arctic. To most of the world, this move might seem simply like a strategic shift north of Europe, but why put so many men so far away? Although not a single politician or world leader has specifically mentioned the possibility of World War 3 over Arctic oil drilling, many experts feel long term economic pressures may be the driver for war.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine claims Vladimir Putin will start World War 3, and already Russia’s nuclear weapons are being positioned in both Crimea and in-between eastern European nations. But Ron Paul claims U.S. intervention in Ukraine by the Obama administration is responsible for jumpstarting the World War 3 fears in the first place.
Why could Arctic oil drilling cause World War 3? At first glance, it sounds as absurd as saying the polar bears are threatening WW3 over man-made global warming. But in recent times, scientists have come to believe Arctic oil drilling may represent a second middle east, with oil and gas reserves estimated to represent between 17 and 30 percent of the global total. As an example, an older 2008 U.S. Geological Survey assessment claims there are a minimum of 90 billion barrels of oil and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.
Due to this fact, already multiple nations are positioning themselves around the disputed territory. In 2014, Russia officially filed documents to make claim of the Arctic waters and land in order to secure the Arctic oil. Russian officials celebrated the plans as another space race or new Cold War. As recently as 2013, Vladimir Putin seemed to indicate he believed all of the Arctic was unofficially part of Russia already.
“The Arctic is, unconditionally, an integral part of the Russian Federation that has been under our sovereignty for several centuries,” Putin said at the time, according to Al Jazeera. “It will remain such for the times to come.”
The Russian military also indicated they were preparing for any potential invaders.
“In 2015, we will be almost fully prepared to meet unwelcome guests from east and north,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
Russia is not alone in wanting the Arctic oil. Denmark formally claimed the North Pole as their own and Russia already ran a military invasion simulation of Denmark. Such an event would trigger World War 3, since Denmark is a NATO member, and the NATO treaty clearly states an “attack on one is an attack on all.” Canada and Norway have also shown large interest in claiming the Arctic oil, and China and Russia have already negotiated a $400 billion oil and gas deal based upon expectations related to Arctic oil drilling.
In the United States, the Obama administration is expected to announce soon that Shell will be allowed to resume oil drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska. According to the Guardian, U.S. Arctic drilling has typically been not allowed based upon environmentalist lawsuits and fears related to oil spills and climate change, but in 2013 President Obama initiated the Arctic National Strategy, which makes the Arctic a strategic military priority.
In recent times the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, a Pentagon division which uses U.S. spy satellites to gather intelligence, has begun monitoring the Arctic. Director Robert Cardillo says much of the spying will be related to economical and environmental concerns, but there is also a military angle.
“I know there’s more potential for natural resource exploitation then [sic] there ever has been before. Those facts have driven state actions,” Cardillo said, according to Defense One. “Russia, as one of the claimants for the resources and maritime navigation and control, etc., has made decisions based upon those changing facts. Some of those decisions are military based.”
In response to aggression from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the U.S. Army’s Northern Warfare Training Center has become training thousands of troops for Arctic combat.
Fortunately, while some experts claim that economics makes Word War 3 inevitable, in this case global economics has recently given a very good reason for nations to not wage war over natural resources. The recent fall of oil prices makes Arctic oil drilling not nearly as cost-effective, so world leaders are less likely to rattle any sabers. This means Russia’s Arctic oil drilling is suddenly not a major priority.
“It’s been put on hold,” said Leonid Grigoriev, chief adviser of the Kremlin’s Analytical Centre. “But there is no final decision so far.”
The bad news is this is only a short term decision. In the long run, some experts believe global oil supplies may dry up by 2060, and eventually oil and gas prices will rise again. If economics can cause wars, then some believe 2014 showed parallels to the beginnings of World War I.
“Many speakers compare 2014 to 1914 when WWI broke out & no one expected it. A black swan in the form of a war between China & Japan?… Both Abe and an influential Chinese analyst don’t rule out a military confrontation between China and Japan. Memories of 1914?”
The Economist made a similar argument that the conditions for WWI may be repeating themselves.
“The United States is Britain, the superpower on the wane, unable to guarantee global security. Its main trading partner, China, plays the part of Germany, a new economic power bristling with nationalist indignation and building up its armed forces rapidly. Modern Japan is France, an ally of the retreating hegemon and a declining regional power. The parallels are not exact—China lacks the Kaiser’s territorial ambitions and America’s defense budget is far more impressive than imperial Britain’s—but they are close enough for the world to be on its guard.”
What do you think about these economists’ predictions related to World War 3?