The Arctic Arms Race: The New Cold War

The Arctic Arms Race: The New Cold War


As of right now, there is a lot more than Santa’s toy factory up at the North Pole. The Arctic holds 22 percent of undiscovered oil and gas reserves, which is more than Saudi Arabia, one of the most oil-rich countries in the world. In order to reach those resources first, Moscow is currently attempting to expand its military control over half a million square miles of the arctic.

The United States must be wary. Russia’s looming presence may be more dangerous than we think.

This military expansion presents a strong medium for a new arms race.

Although recently elected president Donald J. Trump repeatedly suggested clearing up relations with Russia, their rising military expansion and power presents a clear threat for an arms race in the midst of post Cold War culture.

The uncertainties of the Cold War still linger in today’s society through the tensions between the United States and Russia over issues such as the annexation of Crimea.

Russia’s recent moves in the Arctic have closely resembled the takeover of Crimea in 2014. This has been one of the main causes of tension between Russia and the West since the Cold War. Crimea had for long been part of Ukraine, yet Russia annexed it anyways through military occupation and disregard for international dissent. The Kremlin’s disinterest for international diplomatic boundaries in Crimea is cause for concern. Now, they are doing the same in the Arctic. Though the United States appears to not be interested in competing for the Arctic’s valuable resources, Defense Secretary Mattis points out that it is “not to our advantage to leave any part of the world to others.”

By expanding their reach into Crimea, Russia proved its military capability. While the rest of the world is focusing on other issues, such as ISIS and Donald Trump’s most recent executive orders, Russia is making their way north into unclaimed territory. This is the country’s largest military buildup since the fall of the Soviet Union. The international community is so concerned with other issues that it has become blind to Russia’s strategic expansion. Before we know it, the Russians will have already placed their military over much of the Arctic. This might create a race for resources with powerful competitors, such as the United States: a great military presence in the north. The way the Russians approached the invasion of Crimea is very similar to the way they are now creeping north. If it happened once, it can happen again. Russia has the ability to set off an arms race with a potential nuclear threat.

This begs the question, will history repeat itself?

Russian expansion into the north is both a political and financial threat. The Arctic is not easily accessible, so the Russians are currently in the process of building nuclear icebreakers (including the world’s largest) to create channels for easy access to resources. Russia’s possession of nuclear power is what made it such a great threat in the Cold War. Although the United States military is known for being the largest and most effective in the world, no country other than Russia has a fleet of nuclear icebreakers. Not even the United States themselves. Russia is slowly building its nuclear military power. Soon, there is a possibility that they could surpass the United States as the most powerful military in the world.

But their military is not the only issue. You might ask, who cares if Russia takes over the Arctic? There’s nothing there anyways. Here’s why it matters. If Russians colonize the North, and take advantage of its natural resources, they will have the potential to become a major economic player with complete control over the oil and gas industry. And once the Middle East runs dry, because natural resources are not infinite, the United States and other extremely powerful countries will be forced to rely on Russia for oil and gas. Once that happens, Russia might be able to control major domestic and international political decisions in countries such as the United States.

It appears that Santa’s factories are being replaced by Russian military bases. If the international community fails to act quickly, the Kremlin might soon have a monopoly over the oil and gas industry. World superpowers may not currently be concerned with Russia’s expansion project, but the future may hold unpleasant surprises.

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Because "pretty" is so overrated.

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I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

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The 2020 Race Is Feeling The Bern

Everything you need to know about Bernie Sanders entering the presidential race.


This morning, February 19, 2019, Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders announced he is running for president once again.

Unlike his run in 2016, though, Sanders now joins a crowded field of progressive candidates, one of which is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

In Sanders's own words, this campaign is "about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life". Sanders went on to say that this is a "pivotal and dangerous moment in American history," and "We are running against a President who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction".

In his interview with CBS, Sanders explained that it is "absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated", and described candidates whom he is running alongside as his "friends".

Regarding policy issues, his focus remains the same as in previous years, planning to focus largely on women's reproductive rights, lower prices for prescription drugs, and criminal justice reform.

Sanders is also widely recognized because of his goal of universal healthcare. His Medicare-for-all bill that was drafted in 2017 outlines the establishment of a "national health insurance program to provide comprehensive protection against the costs of health-care and health-related services". According to estimates, however, such a plan would increase federal spending by $2.5 trillion a year.

When it comes to education, Sanders plans to make preschool for all 4-year-olds free, aiming to fund this plan through tax increases on the wealthy as well as Wall Street transactions.

More widely acknowledged is his "College For All Act", which would provide $47 billion a year to states in order to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. Additionally, the act would cut student loan interest rates nearly in half for undergrads.

In terms of social issues, Sanders is pro-choice when it comes to abortion rights and opposes policies which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, such as Trump's push to ban transgender people from the military.

The New York Times discusses the idea that the political field of the 2020 run might leave Sanders a "victim of his own success", in that the multitude of Democratic candidates are embracing policies which Sanders championed in the last race.

"Ironically, Bernie's agenda for working families will be the Democratic Party's message in 2020, but he may not be the one leading the parade," said talk show host Bill Press.

Moreover, victories by women, minorities, and first-time candidates in the 2018 midterm elections suggest that "fresh energy" is preferred by Democrats, which potentially poses a challenge for Sanders.

Conversely, though, Sanders is also starting off with certain advantages, such as a "massive lead among low-dollar donors that is roughly equivalent to the donor base of all the other Democratic hopefuls combined".

Donald Trump responded to Sanders's announcement by saying, "First of all I think he missed his time, but... I like Bernie. He sort of would agree on trade... the problem is he doesn't know what to do about it. But I wish Bernie well."

By and large, Sanders is another strong candidate, and it will be interesting to see if he can generate the same energy and support now that he did in 2016.

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