Bering Strait Betrayal
A recent Soviet Analyst produced by World Report Limited reported Britain’s loss of the strategic real estate known as Faraday Base, located in Antarctica. Faraday Base, Britain’s oldest base on the peninsula, established during the Graham expedition in 1934-37, has now been turned over to the Ukraine.
Under the guise of continuing their research program in Antarctica, since 1993 the Ukraine has sought control of the area so “Ukrainian ‘scientists’ would be able to continue their scientific research program.” Ignoring the fact that Soviet military would be interested in the site, the
foreign office agreed to the handover.
This handover followed the similarly shortsighted U.S.-USSR Maritime Boundary Agreement of 1990. “A comparably stupid handover of priceless territory was secretly agreed, following negotiations which had continued since the end of the Ford administration, between the former U.S. Secretary of State, James A. Baker iii, and mvd General Eduard Shevardnadze, when he was still operating as Soviet foreign minister, on June 1, 1990. Specifically, these two signed a U.S.-USSR Maritime Boundary Agreement” (Vol. 26, no. 2, Feb. 2000).
The agreement effectively removed Wrangel Island, Herald, Bennett, Henrietta and Jeanette Islands in the Arctic, and Copper Island, Sea Lion Rock and Sea Otter Rock on the west end of the Aleutian Chain from the previous control of the United States. These islands effectively control passage through the Bering Strait.
In addition, the territorial seas of these islands, the assets and seabed, also previously controlled by the United States, passed to Ukrainian ownership.
“The secret accord also delimited the territorial sea and seabeds of Little Diomede Island at less than the normal 3-mile or 12-mile extent. Simultaneously with signing this secret agreement, James Baker signed an executive side-accord with Shevardnadze stating that, pending the entry into force of the proposed treaty agreement (of June 1, 1990), the two governments agreed to abide by the terms of the proposed treaty agreement, with effect from June 15, 1990: In other words, this secret side-agreement basically overrode ratification” (ibid.).
The Soviet Analyst now reports that the state department and Moscow are negotiating for the redrawing of maritime boundaries which will additionally remove 40,000 more square miles of ocean and seabed from American control. This area regularly yields 300,000,000 pounds of fish a year. For this added transfer to Russian control, the United States would receive little or nothing in return.
“Among territory to be lost under the existing accord are the 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic and fishery conservation zones around the islands already ceded” (ibid.). Not decided, as yet, is the future of the oil and gas reserves in the areas, which are considered to be worth billions of dollars.
Loss of control over the strategically important Wrangel Island is a potential disaster for two reasons.
First, it is in prime territory for radar and satellite tracking locations, missile deployment systems, and missile submarines pens which would threaten the northwestern coast and interior of the U.S.
Second, and perhaps far more critical in the short run, is the probable loss of passage to American warships through the Bering Strait.