Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Friday, February 02, 2007


This is coolbert:

Many folks have suggested that the current situation of amicability and cooperation as seen in Antarctica is a model for the rest of the world to follow. A model precluding the use of military force to resolve conflicts involving that part of the world.

The normal machinations of the nation-states that comprise the international community are not present, or SEEM to be not present, for those nations having bases [temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent] or territorial claims on the southern most but frozen and ice covered Antarctic continent.

At present time, a number of nations make territorial claims to the Antarctic continent. England, Norway, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and France [??] all lay claim to various parts of the Antarctic continent.

The United States [Palmer] and Russia [Bellingshausen] also can JUSTIFIABLY lay claim to portions of, OR EVEN THE ENTIRE Antarctic continent!!

At present, these territorial claims have been put in abeyance. This has been so ever since the International Geophysical Year [IGY] of 1958. The IGY of 1958 was felt to be an unqualified success. So much so, especially with regard to scientific exploration of Antarctica, that the various nations of the world agreed that Antarctic should, would, and has become a refuge from international intrigue. Science first, other considerations later!

The military, however, has always been inextricably linked to the discovery and exploration of the Antarctic continent:

* The voyage of Captain Cook [Royal Navy [RN]] to “discover” the southern continent that was felt to exist, while not successful [almost succeeded], was a military expedition.

* Scott’s [RN] various British expeditions to the South Pole were organized along military lines and incorporated military personnel [Captain Oates]. Members of the military were felt to be most suited for the rigors accompanying Antarctic explorations. More amenable to discipline and displaying a team spirit necessary for success.

* U.S Navy Antarctic expeditions of the 20th century, commanded by Admiral Byrd, are perhaps the archetype in military endeavors of this sort. Again, the military was felt to be most suited in terms of equipment, discipline, resolve, etc., for this type of “adventure”.

Military uses of Antarctica have been proposed in the past, but never came TO ANY FRUITION!!

Large icebergs, breaking loose from the Antarctic continent and floating FOR YEARS in southern waters [south Atlantic and Indian oceans], were conceived as being naturally occurring aircraft carriers. NO LESS person than Churchill himself suggested that this idea be pursued. Air bases would be set up on large ice bergs, allied aircraft from these bases hunting German submarines that ventured into the “southern oceans” unhindered an unopposed!!

One can see that with the American expedition of 1946, Operation Highjump, an obvious military objective. The polar regions, Antarctica included, were seen as the IDEAL place for military airfields. Airfields from which long-range nuclear weapons equipped bomber aircraft [American of course], could range over the entire planet. CONTROL OF THE POLAR REGIONS, NORTH AND SOUTH, WAS SEEN AS KEY TO WAGING SUCCESSFUL NUCLEAR WAR, IF SUCH A WAR NEEDED TO BE WAGED!!

[this was of course before the advent of the intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM]].

As I have said, the current territorial claims to Antarctic lands have been held in abeyance. AT LEAST FOR NOW!


Who knows?

One can ask themselves the question, “for what reason would anyone in their right mind WANT to have territorial aspirations on the Antarctic continent??” Surely the MOST inhospitable place for human life on the surface of the world!

[and territorial claims that would be hotly contested, including the use of military force?? The various EXISTING claims have overlapping boundary lines that would be disputed, if claims WERE exercised!!]

A continent that is covered for the most part with a two mile thick layer of ice!! Inhabited, as it is, by penguins, seals, whales, and some sea birds! Prior to modern discover, there WAS ABSOLUTELY NO HUMAN HABITATION WHATSOEVER!!??

What would motivate nations to exercise territorial claims and defend those claims using military force if necessary?

In one word, OIL!

I can think that ONLY the presence of oil, the belief in the presence of oil, the desire to EXPLORE for the presence of oil, at this time, is the ONLY motivation that would stimulate and Antarctic conflict.

Think of the Gran Chaco War, the Falkland Islands War, the Spratly Islands, etc. Wars, being fought, in the case of the two former, for the possession of lands THOUGHT TO HAVE OIL OR POSSIBLY HAVE OIL!!

[in the case of the Falklands, the Argentinian desired to exercise territorial claims NOT ONLY to the Falklands themselves, but ALSO to South Georgia island and the South Sandwich chain of islands. MUCH further far afield from the Falklands. Well out into the south Atlantic Ocean. Even more desolate and inhospitable!! The belief that OIL MAY BE found in the vicinity of these islands WAS a motivation for the war in the first place? So a precedent for fighting and waging war over remote chunks of frozen ice can be found?]

I would have to think that anyone just trying to EXPLORE for oil in the Antarctic regions would be faced with just hazardous and impossible working conditions. NOT to mention extraction of oil and getting to market. Conditions are just too brutal. Costs would be prohibitive.

Military adventurism in Antarctica? Just not needed.





Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home