In recent months, the US has increased its military activity in the Arctic region, and namely near the Northern Sea Route.
Namely, in early March the Cold Response 2020 exercise took place, in Norway. Approximately 1,500 American combat troops traveled to the country, and joined thousands of other NATO troops to exercise a fight against Russia in the North.
According to the Norwegian military, the main purpose of the Cold Response 2020 is to conduct “multinational joint exercises with a high-intensity combat scenario in demanding winter conditions.”
The initial plan was to send 7,500 US troops to Norway, but 3,000 of them were sent to the Middle East.
However, the exercise didn’t run through to the end, it was canceled on March 11th with a bit remaining due to COVID-19 concerns.
In February, the Alaskan National Guard also carried out its Arctic Eagle 2020 exercise.
The goals of Arctic Eagle 2020 are to leverage federal training requirements to improve capability of National Guard units to execute civil support missions, to facilitate combat readiness training to improve federal lethality, to prompt partnerships to conduct multicomponent and multinational integration, and to incorporate innovation with operational test programs.
On May 1st, the US 6th fleet and British navy sailed above the Arctic circle in an anti-submarine exercise.
The United States Navy said in a statement it will work with European partners “to ensure an open Arctic by continuing freedom of navigation and overflight through the region, as well conducting land, air, and sea operations required for deterrence, presence, and Arctic security.“
The U.S. Navy is vague in geolocating the exercise more than saying it took place in the Norwegian Sea.
“Due to operational security, we do not discuss the specific locations of our operational units,” Lieutenant commander Matthew Comer with the U.S. 6th Fleet writes in an email to the Barents Observer.
Norway refused to take part in the exercise.
Other, smaller exercises also take place.
All of them are accompanied by claims of the US that Russia is taking actions towards limiting the freedom of navigation in the Arctic, and specifically in the Northern Sea Route. According to accusations, all Russian military drills in the region exercise specifically on area denial.
Despite the claims, these US exercises are effectively limiting freedom of navigation, and it is quite evident.
And, in spite of the claims, Beijing and Moscow are openly cooperating on various projects, involving the other Arctic states, as well as others such as India. Infrastructure is being introduced to facilitate freedom of navigation and there’s constant calls from Moscow to increase shipping through the region, because it would save time and money, as well as it is a safe passage.
Russia is actively working on the Northern Sea Route infrastructure and inviting all states such as Norway, Finland, Denmark and others to take part and allow navigation through the route for longer periods of the year, and not just a few months annually.
This is yet another very apparent example of the hypocrisy in US diplomacy and policy – similar to its claims regarding space militarization, it claims that it is protecting the sphere (or in this case the Arctic) for every nation on Earth from Russia and China’s “malign influence” but at the same time it also says that it should be leading the way and have premiere access to all the resources, after it gets its turn, then others may potentially follow.
For space – the US wants to allow its private corporations to extract resources, and every US citizen needs to have equal access to space – and that policy needs to be promoted in front of other, allied states.
In Syria – it is allegedly fighting terrorism, but it’s actually the Syrian government, Iran and Russia doing the heavy lifting, the US simply occupied the oil wells and is primarily concerned with that.
Why would the Arctic be any different?
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- U.S. And UK Carry Out “Freedom Of Navigation” Exercise In Arctic, Norway Refuses To Join
- In Video: Russia Checks Combat Readiness Of Bastion Coastal Defense Systems In Arctic
- NATO Drastically Increased Military Activities In Arctic
- India May Become First Non-Arctic Country to Extract Resources From Region By Cooperating with Russia