As far as I can tell, the Antarctic Treaty is the only device that governs the continent of Antarctica. Various countries have laid claim to certain bits of the continent, but not all the other countries recognize those claims. Seems pretty much like a free-for-all is to be had by any willing and hardy mob.
So what’s to stop me from using a bit of modern technology and establishing a mineral/fisheries/greenhouse produce-based economy and moving in with 50 or so friends–eventually building a self-sufficent colony with a population checked only by our ingenuity?
Assuming the technical logistics could be sufficiently addressed, when/why would other treaty members boot us off the rock? At what point could we bot them off the rock?
Heres a link to the treaty and here from the UN. They will probably explain why you can’t do what you want to do and who will remove your butts from said rock. Of course if you manage to become more powerful (politically and militarily) you can force them to do what you want or leave you alone as the case may be.
I see that you have overcome the problems of other small groups living in isolation by only inviting friends to join. This seems to be a novel approach that I am sure will succeed where others have failed.
Defensible posession is, in this case, ten-tenths of the law. If you can manage to establish a defenisble, self-sustaining stronghold on Antarctica, you can own as much as you can defend and/or convince others to stay off of. That would be helped by the general worthlessness of the land: The only people who’ve ever gotten excited about Antarctica were explorers and researchers, and unless you find oil or gold that is unlikely to change.
International law is all about convincing everyone else that it would just be easier to go along with you. In this case, that should be pretty easy.
I suspect that if someone, for no apparently good reason, were willing to spend enormous sums of money to establish and support a good-sized base on Antarctica, the governments of one or more countries would use all means necessary, including force of arms, to stop it. The point being that someone would feel it was important to prevent a precedent being set.
There’s absolutely nothing down there. Nothing except ice, rock, and more goddamned ice. Going to war down there is difficult to say the least (ask the Nazis how easy it is fighting in desperately cold temperatures), and it’s so far out of everyone’s mind that no sane country would consent to be sent off to die down there.
Precedent, schmecedent. It simply isn’t worth a war and everyone knows it.
I think recent history proves that the number of “sane countries” is dropping every day, and that even large countries start wars that, by any sane measure, aren’t worth it.
We agree it is extremely unlikely that anyone would set up such a base, and that actually doing it would be fraught with difficulties. Nor have we spoken about the possible motives for doing so, which would obviously be a factor in any nation’s response.
But it would be child’s play for the armed forces of any western nation to take out such a base. Unless it was a nation trying to set up the rogue base (which is contrary to the OP), it would hardly amount to a war. One or two cruise missiles or smart bombs would be more than suffiicient.
It might be bad PR for the attacker, but unlike other recent examples we might name, he would at least have the cover of an international treaty, if not to justify the attack, to condemn the private encroachment onto the continent.
Of course, if ExxonMobil and Halliburton went down there to drill for oil, they’d have the full support of the U.S. military.
I have a vague recollection that sometime during WWII on Svalbard/Spitzbergen, a group of Allied soldiers and a group of German soldiers were actually forced to cooperate with one another in order to survive the winter. However, all I can find out there is an account of Operation Gauntlet, which doesn’t mention the incident.
Perhaps a more current example would be the Argentine invasion of [http://www.naval-history.net/F14sgeorgia.htm]South Georgia Island, and its subsequent re-taking by the SAS, SBS, and Royal Marines. It seems as much effort was devoted to rescuing stranded troops as was directed toward defeating the small contingent of Argentine Marines there.
Derleth may be right. Antarctica is such a big honkin’ inhospitable place, it might just not be cost-effective to prevent a commune from setting up shop there. It would, however, be relatively easy to blockade, so you’d better be able to make your new nation self-sufficient in a hurry, something which to my knowledge has ever been done in Antarctica for any appreciable length of time.
So in other words, this entire thread is yet another thinly veiled anti-Bush, anti-US diatribe, disguised as (of all things) a “General Question” about Antarctica. yawn
Just put a question mark, and you’re golden. Why not make it simpler and more honest by phrasing it thus: “Why IS Bush such a pea-brained, militaristic imbecile, and how DID the US get so uniformly evil as to bully poor, defenseless, harmless countries for no earthly reason?”
Let everyone recall who started this war. It was Saddam Hussein, by refusing to honor Resolution 1441, which the UN Security Council passed 15-0. You can’t get much more international than that. Res. 1441 specifically required him to fully certify destruction of his known WMD programs and fully disarm, which he by no means did. So he is now experiencing the just and proper “serious consequences” provided for, language which also passed 15-0.
Sofa King reminds me of a case that supports my point: The Falklands. There’s a place nearly as remote and unimportant as Antarctica, and yet in 1982 Britain went after Argentina as though they had attacked London. The war cost nearly 900 lives
Yes, there are differences: both Britain and Argentina had longstaning claims of ownership of the Falklands, which is not the case in Antarctica. But it shows the lengths to which a large, supposedly sane country will go to for apparently unimportant reasons.
** hyjyljyj**: Okay, I plead guilty to throwing a few semi-gratuitous pokes at the administration into my posts. But don’t blame everyone else here for that. And that wasn’t the motive behind my first post. Really. Once I got going, I just couldn’t help myself. Sorry.
But please spare us the really pointless, totally off-topic (and dishonest) pro-Bush diatribes.
So why IS Bush such a pea-brained, militaristic imbecile?
hyjyljyj Don’t assist others in turning this post into something it isn’t.
The Antarctic Treaty: Article 1 - area to be used for peaceful purposes only; military activity, such as weapons testing, is prohibited, but military personnel and equipment may be used for scientific research or any other peaceful purpose;
What I’m after is the unexploited mineral wealth of the continent (about 2% of the surface is exposed rock and thus potentially habitable/usable). And assuming the successful establishment of a viable colony with a self-sufficient economy (ala enviro-dome), I’m curious about how vibrant our self-proclaimed nation can get before others take notice and turn a jealous eye upon us. So far the answers have been as I had feared: No one will care if you die out there & everyone will want a piece if you thrive and are unable to defend yourself.
So far I have decided that I would need to apeal to the general affections of the rest of the world by maintaining a “heroic image” or something–something that might create outrage should a “Real” country besiege/attack us as pirates. Maybe we could open up a chain of coffee houses for the visiting scientists?
If it pleases you to turn this into a political debate about current politics, please do so in the pit (you are welcome to link the thread if it pleases you even more). Examples of uppity-ness & such (Falklands) are welcome if relevant & demonstrative of potential hazards to the R of A.
FYI, political stance aside, I have a credential or two in this area: the Master has answered my question about starting your own country. (Damn, there goes my secret identity!)
Although Cecil didn’t really get to the point of my question, the follow-up mentions the best reference I know on the subject, How to Start Your Own Country by Erwin Strauss.
Looking over the book, I note that there was a half-baked plan in the early 1980s to try to settle Antarctica, but with no results. Strauss comments (and this may have been an unconscious source for my first post):
Emphasis mine. (The book was written in 1984, and is available from Loompanics.)
Matchka: If you’re into mining and what not, a major obstacle would probably be the bad PR relating to environmental damage to the “pristine” continent. This could arouse a transnational grassroots response, but whether any nation would be motivated to act purely on environmental grounds is questionable. But that might provide cover, with other issues, such as violation of the Antarctic treaty (whether there’s a real case there or not) to any country that just felt like putting a stop to it.
The Antarctic Treaty doesn’t seem to touch on the issue of new countries (because “real” countries never officially grant the possibility of new countries), but virtually all attempts at new countries have been opposed (sometimes vigorously) by some “real” country for reasons that are often not entirely rational.
But the obvious question is, what minerals could be there in sufficient quantity to justify the trouble and expense, even assuming you didn’t have to fight a war to get them?
This is funny, because way back in high school, a few friends and I established (for amusement purposes only) The Republic of Antarctica. Wrote a brief constitution, and designed a flag (solid white field with a penguin in the middle - an attacking enemy wouldn’t know if we were carrying our flag into battle, or surrendering!)
There is a difference between uninhabited and unclaimed territories.
IIRC Japan has claims to some small uninhabited islands to effectively extend its territorial waters. If you tried to inhabit and claim these islands as a new country I am sure the Japanese would have something to say.
Likewise with Anatartica - It is largely uninhabitated but it is not unclaimed territory whether by treaty (the Antartica Treaty) or unilaterally (Argentina or Chile ?).
Yeh, I think that gets to the heart of the matter: AFAIK, all of Antarctica is claimed by one or more nations, which via the treaty have agreed for now not to press their claims. But if a group of people decided to become sqatters, the nation(s) claiming that territory would feel they were right- no, obliged- to remove them. Since otherwise the claimant nation would be in the position of either repudiating control of the territory, or implicitly endorsing the settlers, which would be seen as nationalization even if the settlers claimed to be independent.