The prove the importance carried by strategic chokepoints

 

The
importance of trade has already been stated above in this essay, but another
point worth looking at is the timeless importance for nations to have control
over it.

The stories
about what people is capable of to have more power and control are numerous throughout
history like the 1956 Suez crisis and the 1989 Panama invasion.

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It was 1956/not
long after WWII when the conservative Anthony Eden got elected Prime minister
of the UK and, with France and Israel as allies, tried to occupy Egypt. The aim
of this action was to take/get control over/of the Suez Canal and the removal
of Nasser from power with the intention/plan to create a regime less hostile to
the West.

But
Eisenhower didn’t approve such a drastic action, and when, during the invasion,
the UK found itself in need of support, the US refused to back them up and
caused the UK to leave and realize their new position in the world: the empire
was long dead.

The
relationship with the US grew stronger as the UK realized that they weren’t the
first superpower anymore and that advice from the US president needed to be
taken seriously.

The Suez
crisis is an important milestone as it sets the basis for Colombian (owning the
Panama Canal) discontent with the anti-colonial movements taking place around
the world.
Unlike the Europeans though, the Americans were perfectly able to handle the
situation by themselves, managing to keep control over the Panama Canal until
2000, when the US handed it back to Panama because of its interests moving away
from security and shifting towards commercial. Thus leaving China to dawn in one of the
most strategic operation the world has ever seen.

 

These two
examples aimed to prove the importance carried by strategic chokepoints around
the globe, as 7.5% of world trade passes through the Suez and with the 9300
miles saved by the Panama Canal for ships traveling between the Atlantic and
the Pacific Oceans by not having to route down around the tip of south America.

 

While the
Europeans created the Suez canal and the American created the Panama canal, it
is Climate change that is opening the Northwest passage and the opportunity for
new powers to take control over world trade.

 

The diagram above shows the changing levels of
Arctic sea ice over a 30-year period. Due to climate
change, glaciers have been melting, opening a
sea route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Canadian
Arctic Archipelago. 

Sovereignty over these waters are
contested between Canada, claiming its location in Canadian internal waters,
and the U.S. (backed up by various European and Asian countries), asserting
that the Northwest Passage is an international strait and should therefore allow
freedom of navigation, essential for the United States naval activities
worldwide

 

Control over this passage by the Canadians would mean more security for
all North America by having the power to control and search every vessel passing
through but less freedom of movement having to sign treaties and compromise
with Canada.

An ice-free Arctic would also open
the doors to new undiscovered oil and gas reserves as an estimate says the Arctic
contains as much as 40 percent of world oil and gas reserves (Theutenberg 1988,
303). The more viable the passage the more conflicts we’ll see as all Denmark,
Russia, Norway, Canada and the United States have all used various
interpretations of the Law of the Sea to advance territorial claims to parts of
the Arctic seabed, in order to exploit their considerable oil and natural gas
reserves (Revkin 2004)