Complete disclosure; I think the people that create U.S. foreign policy are fundamentally idiots. Since I have disclosed that bias I will proceed to outline my thoughts regarding the need for cooperative U.S. and Russian Arctic security policy that is cognizant of environmental and historical-cultural concerns for all parties.
Firstly the U.S. should not overburden Russian concerns about security on a broad front since it is not in U.S. nor European interest to do so. Each underestimate the significant role Russia has played for a thousand years in deflecting Asian aggression from Europe and via trickle down to the U.S. Today Russia is also a main block of security for the west regarding Muslim expansionism. If the west weakens Russia to much radical Islamic powers may swell to take much of that nation for themselves and intimidate the remainder into submission.
If Russia were to weak it might also allow greater Chinese expansion in northwest Asia and the North Pacific and that would not be good for Alaska. SecDef Carter visits Alaska this week or next to confer with Senator Sullivan on the need for an Arctic security policy-yet neither understand U.S. security interests well enough to formulate a rational policy.
Political leaders tend to be assertive and aggressive rather than intellectual and thoughtful. They make irrational and uninformed decisions that affect the interests of the nation and national security badly. In the case of an Arctic policy, solving the situation in order to maintain peace and security effectively at lowest cost while factoring in the need for environmental security is desirable. That means recognizing real Russian interests.
Russia is basically the primary Arctic nation. It has a legitimate claim on a 200 mile natural resources exclusivity zone along its coast and islands except where it overlaps with shared borders. The United States has a comparatively small Arctic coast; Russia has more than 5000 miles while the U.S. has just Alaska. Canada, Greenland, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Nunavut, Sweden and Svalbard have concerns too. No one else essentially is involved, and the middle oceanic region beyond 200 miles of a coast should be permanently undeveloped and left for world environmental security. That makes boundary issues very simple.
Russia has a comparatively small population and sufficient resources to not need to develop anything offshore at any rate, for that matter neither does the U.S.A. have a pressing need to develop the Arctic. With peaceful relations established and perhaps an Arctic American Russian Cooperation policy (AARCO) in effect security needs would be lower militarily speaking and environmental security could be accentuated.
The United States should build three icebreakers and several Arctic winter hovercraft for all around participation. Maybe it could schedule building a new icebreaker one a decade. Russia and the U.S.A. as well as Canada should construct several seasonally submersible beneath the ice scientific and environmental habitats for walrus and polar bear haul outs.
Billy Mitchell said that Alaska is the crossroads of the world regarding aviation. Military aircraft in Alaska including drones based here can serve U.S. interests globally rather than just regionally. If peace and cooperation is firm with Russia then military needs would be less and useful elsewhere in the world.
I should comment that military tactical victories in battle that the United States military has some proficiency with-or did before the gaying of the military, cannot achieve victory politically or comprehensively in the modern era. Politicians need to deploy forces rationally with cognizance of the entire political and territorial circumstances of deployment and with awareness that protracted terrorism and resistance reinforced by global jihadists will probably follow. The military isn’t designed to substitute for intelligent political leadership.
In the ancient world military forces were happy enough to kill civilians too if they resisted and sometimes not so terrorists had nowhere to hide. That is not acceptable policy in today’s social environment. Yet the people in D.C. never seem to calculate correctly what the limitations are for the military in achieving victory amidst people that have fundamentally different values. Unlike the Japanese or Germans following world war II that just became westernized, jihadists have religious values antipathetic to submission to full western values. With the Supreme Court decision to allow homosexual marriage and the decades ahead of public school saturation with homosexual educators with homosexual values corrupting youth, even Americans are somewhat antipathetic to federal cultural values forced from above.
World civilization is something that politicians often do not learn while calculating their personal rise to power. They make bad decisions that create poverty and strife for decades, and are happy with that.