Great Power Competition

Mike Wallace

New Member
I searched for content on great power competition (GPC) in the forums but couldn't find any. Its a concept listed in the latestUS National Defense Strategy as the next big thing.
  • The US believes that GPC, not terrorism, is the next threat.
  • A new strategic calculus is developing where China is the main focus of US strategic planning.
  • That is why US forces are making new deployments in the Pacific.
Here are more details: Great power competition heats up with US deployment in the Pacific
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I guess this thread is as good as anywhere to post this link about Antarctica’s future in the new era of Great Power rivalry. One missing piece is no mention of Russia’s modern nuclear icebreaker fleet which could easily see deployment to the southern ocean and the West’s very limited capability wrt icebreakers.

 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I guess this thread is as good as anywhere to post this link about Antarctica’s future in the new era of Great Power rivalry. One missing piece is no mention of Russia’s modern nuclear icebreaker fleet which could easily see deployment to the southern ocean and the West’s very limited capability wrt icebreakers.

Quite a good read and it says a lot of things that I have been saying for the last few years. Unfortunately I believe that to many still hang on to the belief that the Antarctic Treaty will protect the continent, but it only will until it suits some parties. Once they have reached a point where they can either extract the resources they want or have to extract those resources then they will do so regardless. The second point is that both the PRC and to a lesser degree the Russians are quite adverse to foreigners being around their Antarctic facilities, so one would have to wonder, especially in the case of the PRC, how much they are violating the Treaty especially WRT the military capabilities clauses.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
If stuff hits the fan, China and Russia will have a lot of Southern Hemisphere countries making transit to Antarctica very difficult. The critical factor in Antarctica’s future is climate change IMO. A massive ice melt might make mineral extraction easier but the economic gain would be minuscule compared to the damage to coastal cities around the world.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
If stuff hits the fan, China and Russia will have a lot of Southern Hemisphere countries making transit to Antarctica very difficult. The critical factor in Antarctica’s future is climate change IMO. A massive ice melt might make mineral extraction easier but the economic gain would be minuscule compared to the damage to coastal cities around the world.
But that won't stop avarice states from going after the resources anyway.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
If stuff hits the fan, China and Russia will have a lot of Southern Hemisphere countries making transit to Antarctica very difficult. The critical factor in Antarctica’s future is climate change IMO. A massive ice melt might make mineral extraction easier but the economic gain would be minuscule compared to the damage to coastal cities around the world.
You're assuming countries will face the options of melting the ice or not. It's completely plausible that the ice simply will melt, and the option countries get will be "exploit or not exploit".

Quite a good read and it says a lot of things that I have been saying for the last few years. Unfortunately I believe that to many still hang on to the belief that the Antarctic Treaty will protect the continent, but it only will until it suits some parties. Once they have reached a point where they can either extract the resources they want or have to extract those resources then they will do so regardless. The second point is that both the PRC and to a lesser degree the Russians are quite adverse to foreigners being around their Antarctic facilities, so one would have to wonder, especially in the case of the PRC, how much they are violating the Treaty especially WRT the military capabilities clauses.
I suspect the Arctic, much more than the Antarctic, will be the scene of great power clashes (military and political). The stage there is already set. Russia firmly believes that the Northern Sea Path is theirs to control, and that there is a giant continental shelf that entitles them to large swathes of territory, and these territorial claims go back some time. Russia is also actively and openly building up troops for combat in those conditions, and investing in military infrastructure in the region. Russia is also envisioning a future nuclear ice breaker fleet that puts current capabilities to shame. And while China doesn't have a direct claim on the area, they certainly would love to have an alternate shipping lane, and one that can't easily be blocked by the US.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
I think Russia's icebreaker fleet would struggle to come to Antarctica. The Arktika class are generally thought of as being impossible to transit the equator due to thermal reasons. Russia and the earlier Soviets, have never sent a nuclear breaker to Antarctica. Also the Russians have not had good experiences with Antarctica, it is a far away place to get stuck.

The nuclear cargo ship Sevmorput, failed in its mission to get to Antarctica during summer, in an attempt to deliver their new base. They will try again this year, perhaps.

The Akademik Shokalskiy got stuck in ice in 2014, which was then attempted to be rescued by the Chinese ship Xuě Lóng, which then itself became stuck and the passengers were rescued by the Australian ship Aurora Australis.

So Russian capabilities have been pretty spectacular failures. Unlike the Artic they are very, very far from friendly help.

The Chinese are more of a concern, having set up a rash of new bases. They have also been investing heavily in Antartic Krill ships. They now have oversized krill ships, that are not designed to sustainably fish Krill. While sigining up to deals with the EU, it is expected the Chinese will openly break those deals.


China presents a number of headaches.

Climate change in Antarctica isn't a problem for just nearby and claimants. It will be a global problem. Its already happening, and has been happening for quite a while. I don't see it being a great place to source fresh water from. However, the global impact of the melting will be very significant.

IMO some of the biggest issues will be fishing. We are already seeing fish stocks collapse in many parts of the world, and the Chinese fishing fleet now operate globally, and threaten fishstocks in every ocean. Beyond that, as stocks collapse it puts pressure immediately on other fish stocks else where to make up shortfalls. Taking huge amounts of krill out of the food chain is likely to have significant upfood chain impacts.

China in particular refers to Antarctica as a "global resource", and one they intend to utilize for the benefit of China. There is no interest in ecological management or anything like that. They don't want to make a claim to Antarctica, and reserve a special piece, they see the entire continent as a resource for the taking, and first come first served.

 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
And Australias hopefully building a big airport in antarctica.
You wouldn’t expect anything else from the “Turnbull Times” oops Guardian.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
And Australias hopefully building a big airport in antarctica.
You're new on here and we have an expectation that posts consist of a minimum of two lines of text. Please remember that in the future.

The US National Science Foundation and the NZ Antarctic Program have an aviation facility, Phoenix Field, at McMurdo Sound from which both programs operate. It's an ice runway and a civil field under the jurisdiction of the FAA. USAF C-17A and LC-130H, along with RNZAF B757 and C-130H operate out of it along with rotary wing assets. USAF C-5s have also flown in and out of the previous ice runway, Pegasus Field. The RNZAF has also operated a P-3K2 Orion out of there on occasion, undertaking surveillance patrols of the Ross Sea for IUU fishing vessels. So it does make sense for Australia to build a permanent aviation facility for its Antarctic operations.
 
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