The big game among icebergs: a new level
This statement by Mattis is not a surprise. Recently, a number of US officials and prominent political scientists have been talking about the need to confront Russia in the Arctic and create a powerful military group in the region that can defend Washington’s interests in this area.
Recall that during the Cold War, American strategists laid the shortest route through the North Pole for delivering nuclear strikes on Soviet territory with strategic aviation USA, and then intercontinental ballistic missiles.
In response, the USSR began to create infrastructure in northern latitudes to counter American plans. A network of military bases of radio engineering troops, air defense, airfields was created. The main task of the Arctic grouping of Soviet troops was military space defense, as well as providing the Northern and Pacific fleets.
After the collapse of the USSR, the Arctic group collapsed, parts were disbanded, airfields abandoned, equipment left.
Today, our country's military presence at the northern borders has been restored.
Russia has established six military bases here, 13 airfields and 16 deep-water ports. In 2018, the construction of the infrastructure should be completed, as well as the equipment for the bases and equipment. In the Arctic, Russia has deployed C-400 air defense systems, as well as Bastion anti-ship missiles. Creates a powerful icebreaking fleet.
The reasons for this are obvious. In addition to the "old" defensive tasks, new ones also appeared. Thus, in recent years, the confrontation in the Arctic has increased significantly. There are several reasons for this, the main one is the uncertain status of borders in this region, its importance in strategic terms, as well as the wealth of natural resources. Of great importance is the Northern Sea Route (NSR), which is a promising alternative route from Europe to Asia.
Some experts even talk about the inevitability of a military conflict in the Arctic.
However, fortunately, stability in the region is ensured by Russia's obvious superiority in the Arctic. This fact is forced to admit and our opponents. In particular, the Commander-in-Chief of NATO forces in Europe, American General Curtis Scaparotti, acknowledged that the bloc is not yet able to maintain a balance with Russia in the Arctic.
At a recent hearing in the US Senate, he acknowledged that the alliance does not have time to respond to the challenges of Russia and that Russia will soon be able to control the Northern Sea Route, including by military means.
Recall that the requirement that unites almost all members of the Arctic Council, except Russia, of course (Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Norway, USA and Finland), is international control over the Northern Sea Route, passing through the territorial waters of our country.
And, as we know, today, after the international legal system through the efforts of the United States and its allies is in collapse, the country owns only what it is able to protect.
And it actually recognized Scaparotti, stating that in the near future, after the security of the NSR will be reliably covered by the Russian Armed Forces, the claims for its international status will be irrelevant.
Mattis spoke about the increase in the presence of the US Coast Guard in the region by chance. Since it is precisely within the framework of this structure, construction of icebreakers is planned, with which the situation in the US is not very good today.
What to oppose the Russian icebreaker the fleetwhich has 40 ships in its ranks (at the same time, an active construction of a new generation icebreaking fleet is ongoing)? The states have at their disposal only three icebreakers. And the commander of the US Coast Guard, Admiral Zukunt, is actively advocating "ambitious" plans for the construction of three heavy and three medium-sized icebreakers. The first of which the Americans intend to lay at the end of 2019.
It is noteworthy that the same admiral Paul Tsukunft, who recently gave a press conference, told journalists that, although the United States believes that the Northern Sea Route should be a transport corridor open to the entire world community, “there is currently no plan aimed at to conduct exercises to ensure freedom of navigation in the Arctic. "
In this application there is not only a not too hidden threat (there is no plan yet, but it may appear), but also an indirect recognition that there are certain problems with the realization of this threat.
However, with all the foresight of our leadership, who started the development of the Arctic program in advance, there is no reason to rest on our laurels.
The fact that the United States is inferior to our country in the conditions of the Arctic itself means that the Americans will try to make the main theater of operations the region where they have a great resource.
Recall that in early May, it was announced that it would restore the Second Fleet disbanded in 2011.
The reason for this is the growing confrontation with Russia and the need to restrain our Northern Fleet.
This was officially announced on May 4 at the naval base in Norfolk, which will become the center of command for the Second Fleet.
“Our new national military strategy makes it clear that we are back in an era of competition between great powers, as the number of challenges grows in our environment, it becomes more complex. Therefore, today we are setting up the Second Fleet to respond to these challenges, especially in the North Atlantic, ”said Admiral John Richardson, Commander-in-Chief of the US Navy.
The Commander-in-Chief confirmed that the new Second Fleet will take over the former region of responsibility: the North Atlantic to the North Pole and the US East Coast. The admiral did not specify the structure and composition of the naval grouping of the fleet.
Thus, there is every reason to believe that the “battle for the Arctic” should be considered only as part of a global confrontation. And thanks to the measures taken in due time by Moscow, it is far from being the most basic. It is unlikely that the Pentagon will soon be able to fulfill Mattis's wish to bring the Arctic rivalry to a new level. Major events will take place to the south.
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