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Canada’s comeback

The country that used to be synonymous with soft power is getting more muscular

Defending the Northwest passage was an easier job in centuries past. The impenetrable Arctic ice kept everyone out until 1906, when Roald Amundsen finally conquered the passage.

More recently, however, a warming climate has made the idea of a circumpolar shipping route a real possibility. It has been speculated that the Northwest passage could be open for commercial traffic in as little as 15 years, nearly halving the distance by ship between Tokyo and London. For Canada’s new Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, that means more effort is required to keep it Canadian.

Long-standing US policy holds that navigable straits…

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