Russia aren't even going to be able to begin to push for the pole until 2012, and research is progressing with more and more beneficial results into petroleum alternatives and renewable energy sources; the expense incurred by building these floating nuclear power stations and oil drilling platforms will be a moot point, won't they?
This is probably the first time that I'd advocate environmental conservatism, but I really believe that its more ecologically and economically sensible to leave the Arctic Circle as it is; a frozen desert.
To be honest while there's still oil to be sold it will remain economically viable. The energy companies are the ones doing the research into alternatives and while they can still make a profit from oil they will continue to do so at the expense of implementing alternatives.
Laying claim to large parts of the Arctic also has strategic benfits. It would deny us and the Yanks a handy place to park bombers or whatever it is we do with submarines up that way.
Quite apart from all that it's another handy way of cock-waving for Putin.
All this rubbish about an impending rush to exploit natural resources under the polar ice cap must stop immediately. How on earth can Mssrs Richards and Dannat claim that CVF and F-35 et al are 'Cold War mentality legacies' if the Russians are up to such tricks.
Obviously, such resources will actually be secured via proxy wars in a land locked Sub Saharan Africa so we'll just need 120 000 boots on the ground to win hearts and minds.
Being serious though, this issue does I think highlight the usual Army shortsightedness about future defence challenges. Assymetric warfare is merely a response to capabilities. I would argue that, if we completely ditch balanced military capabilities in favour of COIN and 'low end' capabilities, the assymetry suddenly shifts to other areas (eg not having CVF or ASW platforms in this case).
Partly because of the nature of their work, I've always considered the Army as the least effective at identifying emerging defence trends in comparison to the RN (and to a lesser extent my own Service). Remember that the Army is the same service who argued in 1938 that procurement of fighters should be drastically curtailed in favour of large numbers of cheap Army Co-operation types such as the Lysander!
Exactly! One of the good points of last night's programme http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00txmkk was the revelation that the late Fuhrer was a tactical Land man and could never grasp Maritime and Air battlespaces (Gott seit dank).
Last nights BBC2 programme was one of the most balanced assessments I've ever seen on the BoB.
He even identified the myth that it was not the importance of radar per se which was so important (German AD radars such as Freya were actually better than Chain Home) but the exceptionally competant C2 system designed by Dowding behind it.
The only point I disagreed with was the assertion that our airborne radar lagged behind that of the Luftwaffe (When confronted by a captured H2S magnetron, Goering remarked 'I expected the Britishâ€¦to be advanced, but frankly I never thought that they would get so far ahead. I did hope that even if we were behind we could at least be in the same race!â€™) but otherwise a very good documentary indeed.
It still is an ice cap, however, according to the definition of 'desert' by www.dictionary.com; a desert is "any area in which few forms of life can exist because of lack of water, permanent frost, or absence of soil." The Arctic Basin is also listed in www.wikipedia.org as a desert.
Therefore, my description of the Arctic as a frozen desert is still apt, yet an ice cap is a more specific name for this particular type of desert. Its like arguing that a square is still a quadrilateral.
So secret was our airborne radar that some people still believe that it's carrots that help you see in the dark.
As to pongoloid strategic myopia, I do recall that in my day the examination requirements for Sandhurst were less exacting than for Dartmouth and that place in Lincolnshire.
See also thread on ARRSE about the South China Sea which is my favourite for a dust-up with China. China seeking 'discussions' is I think code for 'we are going to move in anyway so better for you to surrender your claims now'.