Despite rhetoric, Canada unlikely to resort to military action to protect Arctic claims
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While some media reports have attempted to link Canada and Russia’s increased military focus on the Arctic as evidence of a desire for military confrontation over Arctic resources,53 there is little in terms of strategic intent that would lend credibility to such claims. In Canada’s case, it has long perceived the need to demonstrate a tangible presence over the vast Arctic territory it claims as its own. The sheer scale of the territory in question, and the costs and logistics associated with maintaining even a modest presence in the Arctic, has historically led to Canada talking tough on Arctic sovereignty, but doing little by way of action. As the Arctic now becomes more accessible, Canada merely recognises the need to match its actions more closely with its rhetoric. If the Canadian government follows through with the majority of the initiatives mentioned above, it would only serve to reinforce Canada’s Arctic sovereignty claims and be seen by its own public to be taking action on a highly topical issue. These actions will not destabilize the Arctic, provided that the Canadian government is clear and consistent in communicating its intent.
"The Implications of Ice Melt on Arctic Security
." Defence Studies
. Vol. 11, No. 2 (June 2011): 297-322. [ More (6 quotes) ]
Despite the rhetoric, disputes over Arctic resources are unlikely to devolve into conflict as states have to date been operating in a cooperative manner and there are sufficient international forums and structures (including UNCLOS) in place to manage disputes if they should occur.