The Arctic was one of the most important battlefields during the Cold War. Could this happen again?
Has the Cold War returned?
The battle for resources will intensify military activities in the north and the chances of confrontations occurring will increase. Energy reserves elsewhere in the world are in the process of becoming depleted, but there are still huge quantities of petroleum around the North Pole. The potential for conflict over these resources has resulted in a substantial increase in military activities in the Arctic during the last few years. Will we succeed in resolving this forthcoming energy crisis without resorting to the use military force?
The Arctic was an important military area during both the Second World War and the Cold War. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO placed priority on other areas of the world, but military focus on the Arctic has now returned with full force. In the first episode of the documentary series ICE RACE we will see how, like Norway and NATO, the Russians are now building up their military striking power in the north.
Someone who is witness to military developments in the Arctic on a daily basis is Johan Hætta, a pilot with 333 Squadron. From their base on Andøya intelligence-gathering aircraft belonging to the Squadron fly to some of the most inhospitable areas in the Arctic. One of their main tasks is to obtain as much intelligence as possible about the increasing Russian military activities in the area.
- “It is important to keep an eye on what your neighbours are doing,” says Hætta.
The Russian response has been one of considerable suspicion about Western military activities in the Arctic. The reasons for their suspicious are largely historical ones, because during the Cold War the opposing parties were willing to go to extremes in order to win. President Ronald Reagan's former Security Adviser, Thomas Reed, talks about how the CIA sabotaged a Soviet gas pipeline at the beginning of the 1980s.
Speaking today Reed says: “The explosion was so powerful that it could be seen from space.”
In the documentary series “Ice Race”, Episode 1: “The War Game” shows that a global lack of oil and gas, food and other resources is turning the Arctic into one of the most important and most explosive areas in the world. How will this affect the world and what will the consequences be for the Artic?