Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The coming confrontation with Canada over the Northwest Passage

With the polar icecap shrinking, the Canadians are gearing up for a confrontation eventually over whether other nations’ ships will need their permission to transit the Northwest Passage. They say it’s an internal waterway; we maintain it’s an international strait. Here’s an article exploring how the Northwest Passage is central to Canadian identity. I think ...

booledozer/flickr
booledozer/flickr

With the polar icecap shrinking, the Canadians are gearing up for a confrontation eventually over whether other nations' ships will need their permission to transit the Northwest Passage. They say it's an internal waterway; we maintain it's an international strait.

Here's an article exploring how the Northwest Passage is central to Canadian identity. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of these in the future.

This is one way the BP oil disaster is going to have second and third order consequences: Anytime the United States asserts a right to passage, people can just hold up a photo of the oil mess in the Gulf of Mexico, and say, "Hey, you guys can't take care of your own waters, so stay the hell out of ours."   

With the polar icecap shrinking, the Canadians are gearing up for a confrontation eventually over whether other nations’ ships will need their permission to transit the Northwest Passage. They say it’s an internal waterway; we maintain it’s an international strait.

Here’s an article exploring how the Northwest Passage is central to Canadian identity. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of these in the future.

This is one way the BP oil disaster is going to have second and third order consequences: Anytime the United States asserts a right to passage, people can just hold up a photo of the oil mess in the Gulf of Mexico, and say, “Hey, you guys can’t take care of your own waters, so stay the hell out of ours.”   

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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