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hebrandRecently, the Arctic Ocean has been melting to such an extent that we could be forgiven for thinking that the "battle for the Arctic" has begun, writes Patrick Hebrard. There are those who hope that, as the ice melts, they will have access to new trade routes, fishing areas, sources of hydrocarbons and minerals buried at the bottom of the sea. Others are concerned about the effects of thoughtless exploitation on the environment and indigenous peoples. Still others fear potential conflicts in the region.

Behind the veil of sustained political rhetoric, national posturing and media hype about unresolved territorial claims, vast hydrocarbon resources and the disappearance of the polar bear, there lies a complex web of controversial scientific debate fuelled by inadequate information and unreliable predictions. A constantly changing situation of this type is obviously a source of opportunism and faulty judgement. The most likely scenario,
however, is that of a natural or human disaster on a scale that no single country could hope to contain, a disaster that would require coordinated action, including military support.

philip dunne rusiAs part of the MoDernising Defence Programme (MDP), UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson asked Philip Dunne, minister for defence equipment and support from 2012 until 2016, to conduct an independent investigation into the contribution that 'Defence' (the UK armed forces, Ministry of Defence (MoD) and industry) makes to the UK economy. The report notes that Defence's direct contribution to the UK's GDP includes over GBP7 billion (USD9.25 billion) in exports generated on average each year in addition to the MoD budget of GBP37 billion. The U K Defence Forum's Nick Watts wrote of the subject for Jane's Defence Weekly - this is an edited version.

Fulfilling a campaign promise, on May 8, 2018, President Trump announced the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and begin reinstating economic sanctions on Tehran. As the UK and NATO await visits from the President, Joseph E Fallon explains on the next page what's going on.

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