The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Is a war with Svalbard finally coming?

May 29, 2008

I have repeatedly criticized the Bush administration for failing to recognize the Svalbard threat. Its policy of drowning the Polar Bear forces into submission might prove successful, but it also risks provoking an attack–whether via proxies, direct strikes, or bio-engineered sea reptiles–before it accomplishes its objectives.

But now there’s hope that the administration will take action before it leaves office.

Oil and shipping interests are putting more pressure on Norwegian authorities to open up more areas of the Arctic for oil and gas exploration. Now they’re eying the area around Svalbard.

Oil and shipping interests are urging oil and gas exploration off Svalbard, home to Norway’s polar bears.

Three major oil and shipping organizations have teamed up to form KonKraft, a cooperation among the oil industry’s national association (Oljeindustriens Landsforening), another industrial group (Norsk Industri) and the Norwegian Shipowners Association (Norges Rederiforbund). Also included in KonKraft is the labour federation LO.

It all depends on whether US oil interests are willing to concede these resources to the Norwegians. With the possibility of drilling in ANWR remote, the US might just yet set its sights on Svalbard.

And not a moment too soon. With Svalbard’s scientists embarking on a crash program to discover the secrets of the aurora borealis, it is only a matter of time before they perfect inter-dimensional travel and the fearsome “subtle knife” superweapon.

Contra Robert Farley, only after we deal with Svalbard can we turn our attention to the dreaded robot menace. Although the potential threat posed by the new monkey cyborgs is, indeed, grave, I believe that we can deter the robots for the time being. The same cannot be said of inter-dimensional panzerbjørn secure in the knowledge that they posses a doomsday vault.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.