Don't Fight Putin Over the North Pole

December 16, 2014 4:38 PM

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It's tempting to link incidents like the averted collision between a passenger airliner and a Russian spy plane not far from Copenhagen to the to the conflict over Ukraine. But Russia's growing military activity in the Nordic region, and the subsequent uptick in close encounters between Russian and NATO forces, may have just as much to do with another tug-of-war, one that began long before Kiev's attempted break from the Russian sphere of influence.

Control over the Arctic's uninhabited expanses of ice is far more important than it might sound. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Arctic holds 22 percent of the world's undiscovered, technically recoverable resources, mainly oil and natural gas. Climate change makes those resources easie...

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