Slate has called into question the wasteful government practice of providing Santa Claus with a fighter escort on Christmas eve. "First of all, NORAD needs to establish why Mr. Kringle warrants government protection. Has U.S. intelligence uncovered a credible threat against Santa Claus? If so, the chatter must’ve been dramatic to prompt such drastic action—despite being a high-value target, Santa has no known enemies."
But now it can be revealed that the threat to Santa is real. Moscow has announced it is expanding its military presence in the Arctic. The Associated Press reports "Russia will restore a number of Arctic military air bases that fell into neglect after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union."
Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, which is believed to hold up to a quarter of the planet's undiscovered oil and gas. In 2007, Russia staked a symbolic claim to the Arctic seabed by dropping a canister containing the Russian flag on the ocean floor from a small submarine at the North Pole.
However that Russian flag may have landed on a Canadian seabed. Canada has signaled its intention to claim the North Pole. "The country has made a formal submission to the United Nations covering 1.2 million square kilometers of territorial claims in the Atlantic. It follows a decade of surveying the country's eastern and far north seabeds and gathering supporting evidence."
The data gathered has been presented to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for evaluation.
Foreign affairs minister John Baird said the filing mainly concerns the outer limits of Canada's continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean.
"We have asked our officials and scientists to do additional work and necessary work to ensure that a submission for the full extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic includes Canada's claim to the North Pole," he said.
However that claim may end up, the Russians and Canadians will have to live with American atomic submarines crawling all over the place. "Sometime apparently in August, the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Seawolf eased out of the port of Bremerton, in Washington State, on what was probably her fifth or sixth deployment since commissioning in 1997."
A month later the U.S. Sixth Fleet, in charge of ships in European waters, posted a series of photos to the Website Flickr depicting the U.S. ambassador to Norway, Barry White, touring the 350-foot-long Seawolf pierside at Haakonsvern naval base … in southern Norway. Thousands of miles from Washington State.
How Seawolf got to Norway—and what she might have done en route—offer a rare and tantalizing glimpse into some of the most secretive quarters of the most poorly understood aspects of American naval power.
For it seems Seawolf traveled to Norway along a path rarely taken by any vessel: underneath the Arctic ice.
The highly capable Seawolf class of submarines, including the heavily modified USS Jimmy Carter, are all in the Bangor Annex of Naval Base Kitsap, Washington along with the big boomers. Nobody talks about what they do. But Vladimir Putin believes that whatever it is, they are altogether too good at it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week that U.S. military capabilities in the Arctic Circle leave his government little choice but to maintain a strong foothold in the frigid north, where tensions between the former Cold War adversaries in recent years have heated up as the polar ice thawed.
The newly released DOD paper announces the debut of the United States Arctic Strategy. Secretary Hagel claims that Global Warming may open the area to "tourism, commercial shipping, migrating fish stocks and energy exploration" and therefore the Navy stands ready to protect the Arctic environment and incidentally detect, deter, prevent and defeat threats to the United States, and continue to exercise U.S. sovereignty in and around Alaska.
The Chinese, who have limited access to the Arctic, are thinking about claiming the moon, where presumably there are no American atomic submarines.
Under the headline PLA dreams of turning moon into Death Star, says expert, the report cites “experts in China” who are wargaming how the moon, “Can be transformed into a deadly weapon. Like the Death Star in Star Wars, the moon could hypothetically be used as a military battle station and ballistic missiles could be launched against any military target on Earth.”
“Various weapons testing sites could also be established on the moon,” the article adds, noting that the launch of the Long March-3B rocket is the start of “a more ambitious program.”
But Russia is not so sure. "The United States is moving toward the militarization of space and this will change the face of war in the near future, an academician with the Russian Academy of Engineering Sciences has warned."
Judging by recent developments, the idea of formidable space weapons prowling the last frontier is no longer limited to the realm of science fiction.
The US has published tactical guidelines over the past three years on the use of force in outer space, while systems that may be used as orbiting weapons are undergoing rigorous test flights, said Yuri Zaitsev, Academic Advisor with the Russian Academy of Engineering Sciences.
In a security document released in October, the US Department of Defense (DoD) said that its space-related activities are designed to “maintain and enhance the national security advantages afforded by the use of outer space.”
These developments make it imperative that Santa, who was officially given Canadian citizenship in 2008 by Jason Kenny, the minister for Citizenship, get a fighter escort from NORAD, whatever the peaceniks may say. Canada is part of NORAD and it is almost certain that the United States will interpose no objection to precautions when he comes to visit the United States later this month.
The warlike preparations of the USAF for Santa's arrival are shown below.
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