Friday, August 31, 2007

The North West Passage, Arctic Resources, and coming conflict

I'm currently writing my thesis on the topic of land use in Churchill Manitoba. I can actually thank the New York Times - particularly their multipart series regarding the changes in the Arctic - for first informing on the subject. The "Great Game" was, in simplified terms, the Cold War of the 19th century. It was a face off between Britain and the Russian Empire and is rarely taught in any history course. It was omitted from the entirety of my history degree at CWU, even though it explains the British invasion of Afghanistan, the expansion of the Russian Empire in the effort to obtain a warm water port, and many other events). Now to compare it to the current state of Arctic claims may not be fair. Not every contest of independent nations is a "Great Game" or "Cold War" situation. What you seem to need is diametrically opposed ideologies and foreign policies designed to confound a specific designated enemy (proxy wars). That hasn't happened yet, but two factions seem to be gearing up for it - an energetic and increasingly fascist Russia and western nations that, while they bicker over the exact claims, are more likely to have a problem with Russia's far more extensive claims (all of the Arctic and good portions of Mars) and will band together to oppose them. The stakes are high enough to precipitate another "Great Game" scenario in the near future.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

First post

This is my first post on my new blog. I plan on talking about a variety of geography, but often just anything on my mind. I don't expect anyone will read this, but today I'll be talking about the sorry state the Republic. It's a fairly popular topic these days to be sure. Now more than ever because of an increasingly unpopular war, but it is interesting to consider we always seem to be perceiving ourselves in some kind of crisis. In the 80s/90s it was competition from the Japanese and a burgeoning crime rate, in the 70s it was the end of Vietnam, Nixon, outrageous inflation, and the resurgence of folk music as a legitimate thing to preform I would put forth it is the result of the younger generation at the time having finally grown old enough to recognize the extraordinary gap between what little they have learned in school about the founding and the course of the nation to this day. That isn't to in any way suggest what we are going though isn't really a crisis. The problem is the crisis isn't as noticeable and dramatic as the war itself. The problem is the precedent being set by this administration - the idea that the president is entirely above the law and not accountable to anyone. The best part is it is utter hypocrisy. So many of this White House's policies are centered around accountability - No Child Left Behind for instance - that only when it applies to them does it seem it unnecessary. It is sad, because many that work in government really do so out of a sense of civic virtue (it doesn't otherwise make sense that they work for the government, because they could be employed in the private sector for much greater compensation). These people are almost never elected, they have to be employed by their merits. I am privileged to work with folks like this at the Salt River Project, a federal reclamation district that serves the city of Phoenix and nearby towns. It has been my intention to work for a public agency of some kind because I feel I could best serve the interest of this nation (and therefore humanity in general - for though our hegemony is not perfect by any stretch, I believe incessant fighting between bickering nations of roughly equal power is certainly more likely to happen in the absence of said American hegemony and is less pleasant for everyone involved). Though I would hardly oppose working for a socially responsible private company.