Whether the Arctic will become a platform for cooperation or warfare has been a question often posed throughout the past 150 years.
As early as 1875, a vision for Eurasian-American cooperation was becoming realized as leading Americans and Russians alike foresaw the construction of telegraph and even rail lines across the 100 km Bering Strait crossing separating Russia from Alaska.
Proponents of this policy on the American side included Lincoln-ally and Colorado’s 1st governor William Gilpin, was driven by rail lines across all the continents and featured the Bering Strait rail connection as its keystone.
Many of Gilpin’s co-thinkers in Russia grew in influence and even convinced Tsar Nicholas II to endorse the project in 1905.
The fact that the newly completed Trans-Siberian Railway was modeled on Lincoln’s Trans-Continental Railway and carried train cars built in Philadelphia made this concept very feasible in the minds of many people in those days.
But not the British Empire that desperately wished to see this potential destroyed.
Although a few assassinations, a Russian revolution and Wall Street/London-funded wars disturbed this paradigm of cooperation from unfolding as it should have, hopes again ran high as Franklin Roosevelt and Stalin recognized that they had much more in common with each other than either did with the British Empire’s Winston Churchill.
This partnership re-opened discussion for a Bering Strait rail connection during World War II after decades of dormancy. When FDR prematurely passed away in office and his leading American co-thinkers began to be targeted by the FBI-led “red scare”, Stalin ruminated that “the great dream had died”.
Churchill’s Iron Curtain ushered in a new age of Mutual Assured Destruction whereby all talk of the Arctic as a domain of cooperation perished.
Later efforts of certain leading figures such as John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert in America, or Enrico Mattei of Italy and Charles De Gaulle in France to establish cooperation between east and west also stranded.
The growth of what has today come to be known as the “Deep State” and with the creation of NATO, and technocratic infiltration of all western governments led to a trail of dead bodies of nationalist leaders.
The west celebrated the collapse of Communism, and puppets like Sir Henry Kissinger and Sir George Bush ushered in the New World Order of NAFTA, NATO, the Eurozone, and WTO during the 1990’s.
But a new alliance was forming, and soon the emergence of such institutions as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS, APEC, and later Eurasian Economic Union occurred.
With these new institutions, the designs for a Bering Strait rail tunnel were once again revived when Russia signaled its willingness to construct the century-old project in 2011 offering over $65 billion towards its funding.
In May 2014, China too gave its support to the construction of the Bering Strait Tunnel.
Most importantly, a vision for this growth process was tied to the creative spirit of scientific discovery that distinguishes the human species as unique among the biosphere.
Scientific and educational centers wanted to integrate universities, research institutions and the private sector with the productive industrial processes underlying the “real economy”.
This last component of an Arctic vision brought into focus Russia’s partnership with China brilliantly, as a strategic agreement on scientific cooperation was signed between the two allies.
The fact is that the polar Silk Road is a reality. The ports and shipping lines opening up along the Northwest Passage express only the beginning phases of it.
But as Russia continues to develop rail and scientific capabilities with China’s assistance across its Arctic, the rail will follow and the dream of Governor Gilpin and Tsar Nicholas II to unite both worlds new and old with rail will occur.
Russia Insider / ABC Flash Point Development News 2019.