January 19, 2018 By Henry Holloway
Moscow and Washington are both seeking to steal a march on the other and seek control in the frozen wastes of at the Arctic ocean.
The region is believed to hold more than $22 trillion worth of resources hidden beneath the ice – with 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 cubic feet of natural gas.
US Coast Guard officials have confirmed they are looking to “weaponised” their icebreaker ships, which are used to smash and clear paths through the frozen seas.
Fears of a new and very real cold war loom over the move, while Russia also bolster its forces in the Arctic.
Icecaps thawing has opened sea lanes which have long though to be impassable, sparking fears of a new war in the North Pole.
Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft said the service are looking at equipping their icebreakers with weapons.
He said: “We’ve been able to find offsets to drive the cost down and reserve the space weight and power necessary to fully weaponise these.
"We need to make these a capable platform offensively in the event this world changes in the next five, 10, even 15 years from now.”
The US has just three icebreakers, while Russia have up to 40 as they patrol the largest Arctic coastline in the world.
And Russian leader Vladimir Putin is said to be launching the largest expansion programme into the Arctic since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Up to 22% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas is thought to be beneath the Arctic, and this treasure trove is viewed as key by Russia.
US Army Captain Douglas Cohn wrote in his book WW4: “Despite all the diplomacy and talk of goodwill, rule of law and rational behaviour, the fact remains the riches of the Arctic are drawing nations like miners to a gold rush.”
He added: "In the end, the natural resources of the region will simply be too alluring for Russia to back down.
“The Russian economy has been built on natural resources, especially oil and gas, and the NATO nations, not fully comprehending the extent of such dependence, will likely downplay the Russian threat until it is too late.”
Russia is believed to be building two revolutionary warships called “icebreaker corvettes” – which will be armed with missiles.
US Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis has described Russia as taking “aggressive steps” towards the Arctic.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has talked up the claiming the US’s global dominance over oil and gas.