Melting of the Arctic and National Security?
Since the 1970s the ice cap has retreated by around 12% each decade according to “The Economist,” June 16, 2012. Last year the summer minimum was 1.67 million square miles which is almost half the average for the 1960s.
Additionally, the glaciers of Greenland are retreating and the land is thawing’ The area covered by snow is about a fifth less than the 1960s.
Alien fish, birds, animals and plants are moving north. Some normally Arctic species will probably die out. Much has been in the news of polar bears drowning because they cannot swim to nearby ice flows to hunt.
Then there is the concern of pollution, bilge water, mining effluent and spilled oil from drilling.
Another concern is that the melting ice may have a calamitous effect on the planet. It could impact ocean currents with the Gulf Stream mixing with cold Arctic water. Additionally, the thawing permafrost will cause the emission of carbon dioxide and methane which will cause more global warming.
What does this mean to U.S. national security? No one has an answer for that for now.
However, Russia has planted a titanium flag beneath the North Pole and a NATO American admiral stated that disputes in the Arctic have been dealt with peacefully before but climate change could alter the equilibrium.
One thing is for sure, the cost for inaction could be serious.