A concerning report from Russia published earlier in the month announced that the nation seeks to expand its control of the Arctic Circle via the construction of a class of nuclear-powered, laser-equipped Arctic patrol ships dubbed “combat icebreakers.”
According to the Russian news agency Sputnik, these mammoth-sized vessels will contain mounted lasers designed to “perform precision cuts” through ice, thus providing the Russian Navy with a considerable advantage over its U.S. counterparts.
While this laser technology must first be developed, Sputnik noted that “engineers have already taken the first step in the creation of lasers specifically designed for this task” and plan to “begin testing of a 30-kilowatt ship-based laser, designed specifically for easing the movement of ships operating in the Arctic environment,” sometime this year.
Moreover, construction of the first actual “combat icebreaker” itself began in April:
Speaking with Russian media, physicist Viktor Gromov reiterated that the purpose of the laser “is not to shoot something down or destroy it — we’re talking about easing as much as possible navigation through northern regions.”
The purpose therefore is regional dominance, and with the first of these vessels slated to be delivered to the Russian Navy in two years — and reportedly equipped with standard warship arsenal — this potential dominance presents a very real and imminent threat to the United States.
“It’s the attention that Russia is paying to fighting in the Arctic, from icebreaker-warships to rugged antiaircraft missiles,” that is of concern, noted Michael Peck of The National Interest. “That’s more than the United States is doing, and more than a small but Arctic-savvy nation like Canada can afford.”
In short, the U.S. needs to step up its Arctic game or face the daunting prospect of losing any control of the region it may have previously had.
Why though would nations be interested in control of such a barren region? Because of the fresh mineral deposits and new commercial shipping routes that might be uncovered there.
Remember, in the world of geopolitics, regional control translates to immense power and influence — neither of which we ought to be relinquishing to Russia or any other nation, for that matter.
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Source: Conservative Daily