Arctic Thaw May Lead to NATO-Russia Chill

New Euro chief warns of competition for resources
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2009 2:00 PM CDT
NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – NATO’s new European commander is wary of Russian intentions in the Arctic, where climate change is opening up trade routes and access to billions of barrels of oil. James Stavridis looks “at the high north and I think it could either be a zone of conflict, I hope not, a zone of competition, probably.” The US Navy admiral's assessment matches that of NATO’s secretary general, who has said climate change in the Arctic has “potentially huge security implications,” the Times of London reports.

Stavridis says he holds out some hope NATO and Russia will resolve their standoff over the Arctic. “It could also be cooperative,” he said. “And as an alliance we should make this as cooperative as we possibly can.” Stavridis also affirmed his commitment to the mutual defense clause in the NATO treaty and the alliance’s action in Afghanistan. Still, he said, NATO should not be considered a “world policeman.”