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.
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.
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.
 “Arctic summit in Moscow hears rival claims” BBC, September 22nd 2010
 “The struggle for Arctic riches” BBC, September 22nd 2010
Filed under: Scavengers