Alaska, at the center of international tensions
Much to the dismay of Alaskans, Alaska is on the chessboard of a dangerous “game” of international strategies and tensions in which the United States and Canada play a decisive role. Three unidentified objects flew over Alaskan skies this February: the first was a Chinese spying device. The origin of the other two was unknown as this edition of Sol de Medianoche goes to print. All three were shot down in Montana, Alaska, and the Canadian part of Yukon, respectively.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy is right about one thing. But on another, he’s not. He is right when he says that Alaska is the closest U.S. territory to Russia, China, Korea, and other countries in geographic areas that are “very sensitive” for world security and peace. But he is wrong when he insinuates that the President of the United States, Joe Biden, has not known how to act firmly and has wanted to imply that these serious and worrying incidents would have been tackled with Donald Trump in the White House.
There were previous spying flights during Trump’s presidency. The intelligence services of different countries in America and Europe estimate that there have been at least forty flights of suspicious devices in as many countries, the United States among them. Trump accused China of using the high technology of apparently harmless cell phone terminals, and household appliances manufactured in the Asian country to collect all kinds of information, which these devices passed on to unknown destinations through the Internet.
Under Trump, the two Chinese technology giants, Huawei and ZTE, were again accused of these practices. We say again because they had already been accused in 2012. But it was Biden who, in November 2022, banned imports of these two Chinese manufacturers.
As for the balloons, the first one was a Chinese spy device. It entered the United States via Alaska. It flew over the Bering Sea and passed between the Aleutian Islands and Kvichak Bay, on the northeast side of Bristol Bay, south of this state.
The Chinese spy balloon went up to Unalakleet in the Nome Census Area, crossed eastward over the Yukon River, flew over the vicinity of Fairbanks and Eielson Air Force Base, entered Canadian territory, and re-entered the United States over a number of sensitive sites and Billings, Montana, which hosts several nuclear weapons and intercontinental missile silos, and is one of the three most strategic locations in the United States. The balloon was shot down by the US military.
In his State of the Union address, which marks the halfway point of his term in office, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, February 7, “If China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country.” Days later, a second device (this one of unknown origin at the time of going to press) returned to Alaskan skies and was also shot down. And a third suspicious and unidentified device was also shot down by the combined Canadian and U.S. air forces over the Yukon region of Canadian territory.
The fighter that fired on this third object belonged to the Canadian military. Again, Biden and Canadian President, Justin Trudeau, let the world know that they will act decisively in the face of any threat. A warning that many interpret as a clear message towards Beijing.
Alaska has been involved in tensions between world powers in many occasions. Frequently, Russian fighter planes and bombers pass so close to the Alaskan coast that it is obvious that these are provocative maneuvers. They force the U.S. and sometimes Canadian air forces to respond with other fighters to intercept them. Vladimir Putin is very fond of this dangerous “game,” even when all his military efforts have been concentrated on the invasion of Ukraine for a year.
Putin wants to measure the reaction capacity of the U.S. armed forces and is using the Alaskan territory for this purpose.