Articles and analysis

logoThe geopolitical significance of the Arctic region has been recognized for two centuries - first by the Russians, later by the Americans, writes Joseph E Fallon. Then and now, the principle reason to lay territorial claims to this inhospitable polar wilderness is not economic, but strategic. As J. Painter observed, "There can be no politics which is not geographical."

In 1763, Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov observed: "The power of Russia shall be increased by Siberia and the Arctic Ocean."
In 1935, U.S. General Billy Mitchell told the US Congress: "Alaska is the most central place in the world for aircraft. He who holds Alaska holds the world."

nickwattsIMG 20170907 0924504International society is being atomised, according to the London based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS). Launching the annual Strategic Survey, IISS notes that 'neither balance of power, nor international rules based governance serves as ordering principles'. It adds 'International institutions have been marginalised', reports Nick Watts.

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The Amazon, the largest, most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world, an irreplaceable ecosystem, is being burned, writes Joe Fallon. Set afire intentionally for profits by logging, mining, and agribusiness interests (cattle ranches, soy and palm oil plantations), and by Brazilian colonists who invade indigenous lands to engage in "slash and burn" farming. "The non-indigenous population of the Amazon is exploding. From the 1960's until the late 1990's, this number grew from 2 million to around 20 million." The corporations and the colonists achieve short-term gains that produce long-term losses. The result " chaos. Chaos, chaos, chaos," lamented one senior official from Brazil's environmental agency, Ibama" who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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