The coldest continent in the world, Antarctica, remains a territory free of military weapons and protected by the Antarctic Treaty. Even so, the territory has a great economic and geopolitical interest. And as events continue to destabilize around the world in the context of the waning Atlanticist Empire, Antarctica is quickly becoming the object of growing imperial designs.
The agreement was first signed in 1959 by 12 countries and now has 53 signatories. In 1991, treaty members signed a protocol banning the extraction of resources on the continent unless it is done for scientific purposes.
The agreement will remain valid until 2048, when subscribers should review their terms. The cold continent is full of natural riches and many find it unfair that the territory remains almost intact.
Under the cover of Antarctic ice there are huge reserves of natural resources: according to scientific assessments, the region’s oil fields contain between 36 and 200 billion barrels of oil.
Although mankind is increasingly using green and renewable resources, oil and gas will continue to be the major assets in coming years, says Izvestia columnist Vladimir Dobrynin, referring to OPEC Secretary-General Mohamad Sanusi Barkindo. The latter made it clear that most cars in 2040 will continue to use internal combustion engines.
That is, the energy demand makes the continent even more attractive to many countries, even to those who signed the treaty.
In addition to oil, Antarctica appears to have unprecedented amounts of diamonds. However, according to the author of the article, the main treasure of the white continent is fresh water, accounting for about 70% of the world’s reserves.
Among the countries that intend to obtain land in the continent are Australia, Argentina, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Norway, France and Chile. And there are two more states seeking recognition of Antarctica as their territory – Russia and the United States.
Both claim that they had citizens who discovered the territory. The Russians say that it was the Russian explorers Bellingshausen and Lazarev who discovered the continent. The American side assures that the territory was discovered by Captain Nathaniel Palmer.
The Independent expert, Klaus Dodds, stresses that Russia takes the issue seriously and devotes much of its resources to studying Antarctica.
In addition, part of Russia’s strategy may include using the cold continent to expand the development of Glonass, a global satellite navigation technology with which it intends to compete with North American GPS, said Héctor Estepa, an analyst at El Confidencial.
According to the columnist, the Russians already have on the continent three monitoring systems of Glonass satellites and intend to build more. There are those who claim that Russia has the capacity not only to receive signals from space, but also to suppress or alter the signals of foreign satellites.
Although China is not on the list of interested countries in the territory, Beijing also wants to profit. So far, the Asian country has three satellite monitoring bases in Antarctica.
As for the scientific bases, these sometimes serve not only to conduct research, but also to demonstrate their interest in the area and confirm their presence there, says Dobrynin’s article.
If countries had only scientific interests, they could equip their bases in Antarctica with equipment to monitor nature at a distance
The fact that states try to build more bases and send more researchers means that their interest goes beyond science, the article concludes.