With tensions subsiding in the South China Sea, the Chinese Oceanic Administration announced that the research vessel Snow Dragon was dispatched from Shanghai on its seventh Arctic voyage. The Snow Dragon is equipped with state-of-the-art research equipment and will carry 128 scientists specializing in oceanography and geophysics. The expedition is scheduled to last 78 days.
Xia Limin, who is commanding the expedition, noted that sea ice levels in the Arctic have been diminishing at a rate of 13% per decade, which has an effect on ocean currents and other environmental systems. The team hopes to gather data on how these changes impact humanity.
The Chinese and their allies in Russia have invested heavily in opening up Arctic expeditions, not only for science but for economic reasons as well. The area is believed to be resource-rich and, with the shrinking ice cap, more navigable. Although the United States was the pioneer country opening the polar regions, our declining educational system and irresponsible government spending have made Arctic research and exploration a very low priority.
Paul Zukunft, commander of the LGBTQ-friendly US Coast Guard, stated to Newsweek recently that "We're not even in the same league as Russia or China right now. We're not even in the game at all." Zukunft noted that icebreakers are essential to Arctic navigation; and that the US currently only has two working icebreakers---both built in the 1980s---while Russia has 27 modern icebreakers deployed in the Arctic.
"There's no money for new icebreakers." Obama's head of the moribund US Arctic Research Commission explained to the Newsweek reporters, "they can cost up to a billion dollars and it takes years to get one built."
Actually, China constructed its first two icebreakers last year, and expect to have two more completed by the end of 2016.
So far, the only voice lobbying for increased US presence in the Arctic has been the Shell Oil Company, who has drilling rights in the Arctic. Shell is actually a Dutch-owned company; but a major US employer. Shell has not only been unsuccessful at generating American interest in the Arctic, its own development efforts have been hamstrung by bureaucratic red-tape and frivolous lawsuits. Russian and Chinese developers face no such restrictions.
"New construction would require the world's biggest environmental impact statement." lamented Ann Pickard, a Shell executive, "the earliest actual production could begin between 2025 and 2030. The barriers to construction have nearly caused Shell to give up. We've come close to walking away more than once."
Small wonder, then that the Reagan Era was the last period in our history when domestic oil production vastly outpaced imports.
Aside from the mineral wealth in the Arctic, the region holds vast scientific treasures relating to climate and water quality technologies, which is the purpose of the Chinese expedition. China's recent advances in these fields have attracted scientific interest from all over the globe.
What is the future of the US in the Arctic? Given that most Americans can't find the Arctic Ocean on a map and seem more concerned with integrating perverts into the military and giving up their freedoms as quickly as possible, it is likely that the BRIC countries will gain dominance over the world poles. But the Ameroboob won't notice: Americans can fly to the top of the world anytime they wish, with any of the dozens of amphetamines available.
CHINA TACKLES THE COLD
WHILE AMEROBOOBS GET LEFT IN THE COLD