The Scavengers Are Circling Overhead

Like vultures, they gather. They circle over a carcass as yet barely visible through receding ice. Today they’ve landed in Moscow, squawking and arguing with each other over who’ll have what part.

No-one wants to fight over it, they say. But they will. One way or another, they’ll fight. Because that’s the way of vultures. Today, they may sit around, eyeballing each other with suspicion, pretending to divide up the spoils between them. But the weak know the strong will grab the best for themselves, and leave only the bones for them. Because that’s the way of vultures.

And the carcass is not yet warm.

Russia, Canada, the US, Norway, and Denmark have today sent representatives to Moscow for an international meeting intended to slice up the spoils waiting to be devoured under the Arctic ice shelf. With seaways barely navigable for more than a few months of the year, already the major powers are moving in to exploit vast oil and mineral reserves beneath the North Pole.[1]

In far off Russian yards, the sounds of shipbuilding fill the frigid air. But these are not ships being constructed. Eight floating nuclear power stations are planned for launching, the first in 2012. They’ll be arrayed along Russia’s northern coastline, within the Arctic Circle, and will supply the power for Russia’s push to the Pole.[2]

Canada disputes Russian claims to Arctic territory. A Russian spokesman says his country wants no conflict with other nations. He says Russia wants compromise. Then added, “Of course, conflict is always possible.”

And it is.

Because that’s the way of vultures.

[1] “Arctic summit in Moscow hears rival claims” BBC, September 22nd 2010

[2] “The struggle for Arctic riches” BBC, September 22nd 2010

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2 Replies to “The Scavengers Are Circling Overhead”

  1. And while initially they (nuclear power stations) will be positioned next to Arctic bases along the North coast, there are plans for floating nuclear power stations to be taken out to sea near large gas rigs.

    Well – isn’t that nice! A double whammy if anything should “go wrong” (cf. Gulf of Mexico).

    On the bright side, it’ll give Ms Palin something to watch from her kitchen window as she does the washing-up. 😉

  2. I’m like you RJA, riveted on this conflict, knowing how it’s played out, like an awful car crash on the side of the road, you can’t look, then you can, is there blood?

    This is really really bad, my friend.

    I hope you spend time in your lovely house before it all goes sideways on us.


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