The Arctic is almost eight million square miles of mostly ice at the top of the world. (AP)

The Arctic is almost eight million square miles of mostly ice at the top of the world. (AP)

As the ice caps melt, icebergs

As the ice caps melt, icebergs "calve," or break off. (AP)

Less ice means more open water for boats to sail up to the Arctic. (AP)

Less ice means more open water for boats to sail up to the Arctic. (AP)

Tourists and researchers travel on icebreaker boats to observe Arctic icebergs. (AP)

Tourists and researchers travel on icebreaker boats to observe Arctic icebergs. (AP)

Arctic wildlife, like polar bears, are another big draw for countries who want to claim parts of the wild icy wilderness. (AP)

Arctic wildlife, like polar bears, are another big draw for countries who want to claim parts of the wild icy wilderness. (AP)

Battle for the Arctic

Posted: November 1, 2017

Zip up your parka and pull on your thickest socks. We’re going to the Arctic—an area of almost eight million square miles at the very top of the world. The freezing seas there will make you shiver. The snowy land has no trees. In summer, the Sun shines all night. In the winter, it barely shines at all. Not your idea of a vacation spot? Believe it or not, this frozen expanse is prime real estate. Almost no one lives there right now. But leaders from several countries are ready to pounce on its icy surface and yell, “MINE!”

People have bickered over access to this chilly part of the globe for 100 years. But until now, they were interested mostly in tourism and fishing. Some leaders said, “Our territory doesn’t stop at the end of our land. We own waters all the way up to the North Pole!” Russians planted a flag on the ocean floor, claiming, “This part is ours!” It was kind of like the nations were sitting at the movie theater and had to share an arm rest. Little by little, they each tried to nudge another nation’s arm so they could have the whole thing. The problem has never really been solved, and no one minded too much—until now. These days, the battle for the Arctic is becoming less like a friendly nudging match. Instead, it seems like a real fight might break out!

Most of the Arctic Circle is water with an ice cap on it. Right now, the cap is getting meltier and meltier. As it shrinks, the area around the North Pole becomes easier for boats to explore. Nations start to lick their chops. (At least, they would if they had chops to lick.) This uncharted space holds treasure—fuels and minerals worth at least hundreds of billions of dollars and probably much more. So Greenland is seeing green. Russia is Russian to the Finnish line—and wouldn’t it be Swede if Sweden got there first? Or will America’s northern neighbor win the treasure? We Canada tell yet.

Actually, no one is sure what will happen. Some people compare this kerfuffle to the Cold War, and not just because it’s actually freezing in the Arctic. Just like during the Cold War, soldiers aren’t actually in combat. But it seems like a battle could break out at any time.

Nations will always wrangle against each other for power until Jesus comes back. But God decides who will succeed. In fact, He decided long ago exactly which parts of the world people would live in and control. (Acts 17:26)