In the last few weeks, the U.S. has been kicking itself for not thinking to place a flag on the sea floor at the North Pole. But Russia is not the only country to have laid claim to the oil-rich area; other competitors include Canada, Denmark, and a pack of Siberian huskies that have been peeing there for ages.
However, all of them are certainly in for a disappointment, because on Friday the U.S. struck back, by sending out a team of scientists to map the area. Just as Lewis and Clark did before, the U.S. hopes to use the survey data as a foundation for political and economic expansion into the explored regions. Rock beats scissors, map beats flag.
Of course, the U.S. Senate has not ratified the UN Law of the Sea Convention treaty, which took force in 1994 (despite years of urging from Presidents Clinton and Bush). So technically the U.S. doesn’t have a seat at the table as critical decisions are made on how to divvy up the ocean bottom.
As Grist reported, U.S. State Department spokesperson Tom Casey scoffed, “I’m not sure of whether they’ve put a metal flag, a rubber flag, or a bed sheet on the ocean floor. Either way, it doesn’t have any legal standing or effect on this claim.” Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay went on to add, “You can’t go around the world these days dropping a flag somewhere — this isn’t the 14th or 15th century.”
No kidding. When was the last time that happened?