- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 15, 2019

The old Cold War has not completely disappeared. It’s gotten colder — frozen, in fact. Russia is mighty active in the Arctic, home to untapped mineral, natural gas and oil deposits plus newly expanded shipping lanes. Indeed, Russia has recently resumed fighter patrols over the North Pole, bulked up northern air bases and tested the fearsome Kinzhal Dagger hypersonic missile in the region. Also on their to-do list: perfecting a fleet of ice-hardened shipping vessels and burly ice breakers — including the Arktika, a nuclear-powered vessel which is 568 feet long, has a crew of 75 and can crush through Arctic ice 10-feet thick. There will be four more in this class, and initial sea trials began last week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “is betting big on climate change to thaw the Arctic” advises The Maritime Executive, an industry source.

“A power game is unfolding between great powers Russia, the United States and China that deepens tensions in the region,” said the Danish Defence Intelligence Service in a new risk assessment of the region.

All that said, a round of applause, please, for Sen. Dan Sullivan, chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security. The Alaska Republican recently convened a hearing to address “expanding opportunities, challenges, and threats in the Arctic,” with a particular focus on the role of the U.S. Coast Guard.

“The changes occurring in the Arctic are monumental,” the senator said, citing the existence of previously unreachable oil and strategic minerals, plus the increase of lucrative commercial activities. So. Is the U.S. lagging behind Russia and China?



Not content to dawdle, Mr. Sullivan is organizing a bipartisan push to ensure that the U.S. is a major player here. With Sen. Ed Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, Mr. Sullivan has formed the U.S. Senate Coast Guard Caucus — and will soon introduce the Strategic Arctic Naval Focus Act of 2019 — meant to hammer out a strategy to coordinate Navy and Coast Guard activities in the Arctic region.

“This isn’t a call for a giant Navy or Coast Guard base. It’s simply the ability to have an icebreaker or a national security cutter or a Navy destroyer to pull up to a port in America’s Arctic,” Mr. Sullivan noted.

The Coast Guard, meanwhile has already issued its own strategic outlook for the cold zone, with an eye on a “safe, secure, and cooperative Arctic.” Take a look at their mission at USCG.mil/Arctic.

HISTORIC INSIGHT

Other factors besides strategic minerals and shipping lanes are driving Russia’s activities in the Arctic.

“For Russia, in many aspects geography is destiny. It is very important to understand that the Arctic is an integral part of Russia’s identity and that Russia views itself as an Arctic nation,” Marya Rozanova-Smith, an Arctic researcher associated with George Washington University, tells Arctic Today correspondent Martin Breum.

“The Arctic is a great source of national pride in Russia and deeply rooted in its past achievements. What else does the Russian people have to be so proud of today?” she asks.

“The Arctic is the national resource base for the whole of Russia. Ultimately, it is not just about national pride, not just about identity or about the peoples living in the Arctic, but also about the country’s future economic prosperity” Ms. Rozanova-Smith says.

“More than 10% of Russia’s GDP and some 20% of all Russian exports are generated in the Arctic,” writes Mr. Breum, who refers to the Arctic as “the ice silk road.”

NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT

The grassroots tea party movement is essentially marking a decade of activism focused on conservative values, fiscal responsibility and patriotic common sense. The tea party, in fact, is still having a say.

President Trump continues to deliver on his promises to the American people. Just think how much more could be accomplished if the Democrats shared the president’s pro-growth, pro-America priorities. Instead, they are too busy engaging in petty and destructive political stunts. Rest assured: The American people will remember the Democrats’ squandered opportunities in next year’s election,” predicts Jenny Beth Martin, chairman of Tea Party Patriots Action.

WILL THEY GET A $10 BILLION WORTH?

Analysts speculate that candidates will drop $10 billion on carefully calibrated political ads in the 2020 presidential election. Will they get their money’s worth?

“As they say, impressions create impressions, so yes, the large volume of ad spending does in fact have an impact,” Michael Priem tells Inside the Beltway. He is founder and CEO of the Minneapolis-based marketing firm Modern Impact and has been a brand adviser to Target, Harley Davidson, General Mills and other companies.

But the relationship between ads and consumers has changed, he says.

“In the past, advertising was much more monologue — a message sent in one direction to be heard. Today’s audience demands that advertising is a dialogue — and they have a conversation in reaction to advertising,” Mr. Priem says, noting that the newly woke consumer audience has been empowered by social media.

If this audience doesn’t approve of an ad, they speak out — they “cancel” a relationship with a brand, he says — which is what happened when the public recently rejected a Peloton commercial as sexist. Politicians might experience something similar.

“There is no debate that consumers and audience want and will use their influence to affect advertising in ways we haven’t seen. This is very true in the political realm as well,” Mr. Priem says.

POLL DU JOUR

79% of U.S. voters say President Trump will not resign amid impeachment proceedings; 88% of Republicans, 75% of independents and 74% of Democrats agree.

64% say Mr. Trump will not be impeached and removed from office; 82% of Republicans, 61% of independents and 52% of Democrats agree.

39% say the proceedings will help Mr. Trump win reelection; 65% of Republicans, 37% of independents and 19% of Democrats agree.

38% say the hearings will not help him win reelection; 16% of Republicans, 34% of independents and 59% of Democrats agree.

23% do not know or are unsure if the hearings will have an influence; 18% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 22% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,994 registered U.S. voters conducted Dec. 6-8

• Helpful information to [email protected]

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide