Putin – Teaching Polar Bears Russian

by DR. ROBIN MCFEE September 28, 2015

The Alaska times headline will soon read "Polar bears forced to learn Russian as US cedes the Arctic to Putin." One of the little publicized effects of Putin annexing the Arctic for the Russian Federation is the new requirement that polar bears become bilingual - they must learn Russian.  This requirement will filter down to Eskimos, Native Alaskans and Canadians in the near future, as ice cities under Moscow's control emerge.

And in anticipation of the growing Arctic tourism, Russian language programs are being offered in newly built 5 star hotels made of ice, to encourage exotic education travel, not unlike those during Winterfest in Scandinavia and Quebec. At the Stoly-Ice Excelsior, a luxury residence under development, you will be able to enroll in vodka sommelier classes and caviar culinary institutes. Putin sure understands how to turn an energy rich region into a business enterprise and travel destination.

Consider in the first three months of this year the number of international tourists visiting Russia increased by 16 percent compared to the same period last year and reached 7.3 million, according to Rostourism, citing data from state statistics service Rosstat. Not exactly an unbiased source, but still not bad numbers.

My contacts in Moscow have told me Putin is planning on creating, and competing in a Russian version of the Iditarod to the North Pole, with Santa handing out the awards. In anticipation of Putin's victory, they are already etching his name on it. One presumes he will win anyway, nyet?

And what about Christmas-land, now that Russia has annexed the North Pole? Putin has named himself CEO, but will allow Santa to be the chief operating officer, and elf-in-chief. Not surprisingly the Village will now be heated by Gazprom, not good-cheer magic.

Remember last year I warned the reindeer to avoid Russian airspace, since Putin ordered them to be captured, and studied? Well Vixen strayed (any doubt how he got that name?), and was picked up by members of the FSB. Although the Russian Polytechnic Institute did spend several days studying the reindeer propulsion system to improve their cold weather fighter jet capabilities, Putin in deference for Santa, ordered the release of the flying corsair. Fortunately Putin was dieting and gave up on venison, not to mention decided to leave the 9 corsairs as a team, with Rudolph still in the lead.

Santa's elves didn't do as well; they are being relocated to manufacturing facilities in Siberia - Russia code for work camps. But in all fairness, Russia does have a higher percent of their economy in heavy industry than we do in the US, and Putin promised to increase bell-collared jobs to his workers. Santa has protested, and as a subtle warning to the generous Bishop, Putin sent him a copy of The Gulag Archipelago lest St. Nick get too protective of his loyal team.

OK I made most of this up. But if I had the money, I would invest in the North. Actually Arctic tourism is growing. The caviar will come later.

Let me back up a minute - yes, Putin has for all intents and purposes annexed the Arctic, including Santa's Village in the North Pole. Fortunately Santa is multilingual.

To which Obama did NOTHING! Let me repeat, Obama has done NOTHING. Ok maybe not nothing. After 6 years being briefed by the military about our vulnerabilities, including a pitifully small and inadequate capability to operate in Northern waters, POTUS ordered the fast-tracking of one, count it one new icebreaker. At least Canada is willing to assert her territoriality. Yeh, good luck with that Ottawa! You have a Northern response force between 100 and 400; Russia has an ARMY capable of fighting in the Arctic. And it is moving into the region that Putin claims for Russia, not just actual Russian territory.

Not only does Putin have an army and navy capable of being rapidly deployed there, he is planning on developing bases and extensive infrastructure. He is not spending the money just to win a virtual game of Stratego® - the Arctic is part of his global energy and geopolitical strategy. Vladimir has a map, and knows how to use it.

Putin is a man of carefully chosen words. "Russia is actively exploring this promising region....and should use all possible channels to protect its security and national interests." This in response to Canada asserting similarly large swaths of territory in the Arctic.

Any doubt about the measure of Putin's resolve in terms of the Russian Arctic should have vanished with his recent display of military might - a modernized and large Russian Northern Fleet that is capable of functioning in the harshest ice-filled climates of the world - much of which abut or are claimed by the Russian Federation.

Contacts with high level sources along with public comments by US Navy flag officers and military experts have long expressed concern about our inability to fully function in hostile northern climates - our lack of facilities, material support, and especially ships, including ice breakers. In essence, we are poorly defended in the north. Sadly, whether his mishandling Iraq, ISIS, the Arctic, Benghazi, Syria, and well, point is, Obama ignores our military on virtually all things, military.

Russia knows this. And Putin has exploited our weakness. Putin knows Obama is anti-military, anti-fossil fuel. Obama is a weak leader, and Putin is a strong one. That alone settles the match. Obama is gutting our military. Putin has spent his petro Rubles on rebuilding their military. And it is paying off.

As one of the leading defense industries, and arms dealers in the world, Russia is building alliances for advanced generation strike fighters, missiles, and drones. China and Russia are working closer together. India and Russia are in collaboration on various military technologies. Even Israel has a more measured relationship with Russia on emerging technologies. And where is the US? Our most advanced strike fighter is mired in cost overruns, and test failures.

Putin has recognized, like any good running back, a gaping hole in the defense, and has exploited it. He recognizes the US has weak political leadership, which cuts our military at a time when it should be increasing our national investment in the single most important tool for national defense. If anyone thinks the pitifully lame - too little, too late - effort by Obama to order a third ice breaker for the US Coast Guard on the heels of Putin's latest northern fleet exercise, then you are drunk on the Kool-aid ®!  Obama's new onset sense of urgency is laughable. And meaningless. The US needs a comprehensive, not piece meal, expansion of our Navy, with components that are fully capable of defending our nation - from Alaska throughout the Arctic, into the Med, through the Gulf, into around and through the Pacific and Atlantic, able to push off and challenge China and Russia, Iran and anyone else.

Plus, any guess how many jobs are created in the construction of an aircraft carrier, or ice breaker or submarine? Think employing a town full of people. Speak about going from welfare to work at the sign of a document. That's an executive action Obama should do! And now.

Let's talk numbers. Russia has 40 icebreakers. The US has three on the books. Two float. One works. I guess if we added the USS Constitution to the list, and maybe the Charles W. Morgan whaler -two ancient but floating vessels that have survived ice and cold, tossing some weapons and modern electronics on them - we could double our capacity in the short term.

Russia plans on adding an additional 40 vessels to their fleet in the next few years, including new submarines, and an Arctic Air force with fighters and bombers capable of functioning in the harsh climate. Additional Russian Air Force flights are scheduled over the Arctic, as well as fly bys in or near US airspace.

Sadly, even Scandinavia has more ice breakers than we do. Canada is planning on advancing their fleet with new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS).

It takes a long time to build big, bad, and powerful navy vessels. Trust me - I've been monitoring Russia's progress, and they have been busy, busy, busy over these ten years.

Malte Humpert, who heads up the Arctic Institute recently opined "Russia is ready for anything that happens in the Arctic, and China is getting ready to have those capabilities." Let me repeat....Russia is the ONLY nation that can fully operate in the Arctic, including being consistently capable of mounting search, rescue, recovery and military (aggressive or defensive) actions.

And apparently Russia's "Love Boat" cruise in Northern waters has finally awakened Rip Van Obama - he now suggests we should consider building more vessels Arctic capable in the future. Well look who woke up! Except that the future is yesterday dude. We are so far behind the curve it is staggering. Thankfully we are talking about Americans, and when push comes to shove, we can get it going. And we should.

What's at stake?

It is estimated that 15% of the world's untapped oil and 30% of the natural gas is in the Arctic. This doesn't include a potential treasure trove of natural resources, fishing, and other benefits, including shorter shipping lanes.

Any good leader would want to improve the lives of his countrymen, right? That's the promise during election season. Yet the US is woefully low on the list in terms of opportunity for high tech jobs. Tiny Israel is significantly higher on the list than we are. Russia has more of its people working in manufacturing than we do.

If you want jobs - build things. If you want something to show for tax dollars - build things. Build industries. Hire people. Putin recognizes the future of his country is intertwined between manufacturing, energy, and the military. He is integrating the three, and staking it all on this strategy.

Let's be clear - whether in Russia or the US, there isn't a money problem. For us, there is a spending problem in Washington. We have the money. We spend it unwisely. Welfare is not the way to build a nation. It is a way to build a government.  

But herein lies the problem - Obama is more concerned about the Arctic as a shared land mass belonging to the world, a region that is experiencing climate change, instead of viewing it as a valuable US asset, and resource through which he can improve the lives of countless Americans - directly through jobs, and indirectly through energy and economic benefit. He actually believes the UN has oversight on this matter (technically maybe, but possession is 9 tenths of the law).

Putin is not so blinded, delusional, or restricted. Several years ago a Russian submarine planted the national flag on the bottom of the ocean claiming an expanded underwater landmass as their territory. This summer he sealed the deal planting the Russian flag in Santa's Village.

As I've written years ago, Putin recognizes what our current political leaders hope you will overlook - the ability to have energy independence from the Middle East, to control one of the largest reserves of fossil fuels accessible on planet earth, and a means to create an entirely new industrial base - the Arctic.

Like the mystical, magical Northwest Passage, which is becoming a reality thanks to shifts in ice flow and weather patterns, and may offer a reliable shortcut in shipping transit, the Arctic energy region holds enormous economic, research scientific and energy potential for anyone willing and able to explore and control it.

We could have been realizing benefit from the region already. Alas we have blown it. Pure and simple! Canada recognizes it, but neither has the clout or military to utilize the region, unless Russia approves it.  Other nations with some territorial claims to the Arctic have weighed in, but their best hope is a partnership with either Russia or the US. Even collaborating among themselves, they are too small and too weak to take on the Russian Northern Navy, especially with Vlad the Conqueror on seek and acquire mode.

Not wanting to say ‘I told you so' but as my military, energy, and political sources have confirmed my assertions since I first wrote about the Arctic, the only two players who could fully, responsibly, and rapidly benefit from the Arctic are the US and Russia (with China not far behind). It is a region with untold promise. Tapping into the Arctic can and will help any nation willing to go "all in" in terms of economic, geopolitical and global influence. Imagine creating cities of the future to tap into the scientific as well as economic treasures to be had in our northern territory. To be sure it isn't without risk. Anything worthwhile has them. And challenges lead to innovation - how to create cities of the most northern regions of our world, employment - many people, unemployed or underemployed in the US and Russia live in cold weather climates with skills transferable to the fuel industry, leading to less energy dependence - which means we (the US and the West) no longer have to play nice with, or live at the mercy of terrorist, jihadist, regressive or just plain dictatorial regimes that are sitting on desert oil and gas (Iran, Iraq, Libya for example).

Vladimir Putin has made it no secret for the last, oh I dunno, let's say DECADE, that part of his acquisition list includes the Arctic. Anyone who studied world history, KNEW the Ukraine was about to become Russian territory. Georgia, the ‘Stans, and the "L's" - Lithuania and Latvia - aren't taking any chances, and have been polishing up on their Russian language skills.

Apparently that has come as a complete surprise to POTUS, but then almost anything not mentioned in Golf Digest is a surprise or inconvenient truth for L'Enfant Roi Obama, who like Rip Van Winkle seems to have just awakened to discover the United States is woefully, hilariously outgunned and outmatched militarily in the Northern reaches of our national interests. So is NATO.

While Obama is worrying about climate change, other countries are taking present day clear and present dangers to their sovereignty and the Arctic into consideration. Let me sum threats up in one word - "Putin."

Conclusion

So while Obama is pandering to the Polar Bears, the stock market is in free fall, our economy is stalled or in shambles, cops are being shot, race relations have deteriorated, welfare recipients get better medical care than veterans, China is challenging the sovereignty of Pacific Rim nations, and waging cyber war against the United States, and the Russian President is becoming the dominant power in the Middle East, rebuilt an Arctic military that the US would have a difficult time pushing back in extreme climates. A military infrastructure that can handle brigade strength is being readied. Putin has laid claim to the Arctic, and willing to invest heavily in the region, is focused on improving the life of his citizens, has invested in new technologies for LNG and expanded his efforts to control fossil fuels.

Putin has also tied up many of the companies capable of deep sea drilling that would normally be at our disposal. Smart, da?  And it is not just oil or gas. Nickel, platinum, copper are also up for the taking, difficult at first though it may be.

And what have our leaders done while Russia and China are trying to move their influence and national interests forward?

The GOP has lost focus and is not advocating for America or Americans. Petty party bickering, loyalty pledges, and focusing on fringe issues. Expect the voters to not be amused at election time. Note to the RNC, this is not the way to help our great nation. The voters gave GOP candidates a mandate based upon promises that have been reneged upon. The RNC has let us down, and Main Street feels abandoned.

The DNC is at least true to itself - ideology, ecology and identity politics being their holy trinity, and remains their mantra, their mission, above national interest. The Democrats stay on message, and have convinced enough people towards unwavering devotion to the mission. The group-think is moving socialistic and ever more ecology first. This doesn't align with the needs of Main Street either.

This leaves Main Street...."we the people" ... voters and patriots who have been left to our own initiative with political leaders who are challenged by a lack of clarity or lack of appropriate concern beyond sound bites.

Memo to the GOP and DNC....Carville was correct when he said during the Clinton/Bush election "it's the economy stupid."

Ceding a region that holds significant promise for the American worker e.g. economy, to Russia, at worst a strategy Putin employs either simply to deny us use of the region, or at best will take advantage of the enormous resources contained therein - either way without pushback from POTUS - Putin grabbing the Arctic is a detriment to our nation.

But Obama and his followers only care about climate change. Not terrorism, not energy independence, not the economy, not Main Street USA. So while the polar bears don't vote, and are according to various scientific sources adapting to climate change better than predicted, Team Obama will allow our nation to be outplayed, our workers unemployed, and our energy needs subject to the whim of OPEC to protect that which he has squandered - the Arctic.  Good news Polar Bears - Obama has ordered Rosetta Stone or Berlitz trained veterinarians to teach you to speak Russian. Oh wait, you'll be hibernating? Get those headsets ready for subliminal learning.

Putin - Teaching Polar Bears Russian. It won't be the first region to return to that language. And now might be a good time to start offering it in our community colleges. Dobro pazhalovat' v Ameriku. Just sayin!

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Dr. Robin McFee, MPH, FACPM, FAACT, is a physician, and clinical toxicologist. As medical director of Threat Science - and nationally recognized expert in WMD preparedness, she consults with government agencies, corporations and the media. Dr. McFee is the former director of the Center for Bioterrorism Preparedness (CB PREP) and bioweapons - WMD adviser to the Domestic Security Task Force, the former chair of the Global Terrorism Council of ASIS International, and a member of the US Counterterrorism Advisory Team. She has coauthored two books: Toxico-Terrorism by McGraw Hill and The Handbook of Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Agents, published by Informa/CRC Press    

 

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