Thomas E. Dans, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and former Commissioner of the US Arctic Research Commission, believes that the United States should reclaim Wrangel Island from Russia.US columnist believes Wrangel Island belongs to United States
No negotiations regarding the U.S.-Russia maritime boundary have occurred since 1990, when the U.S.-USSR Maritime Boundary Agreement was signed. The negotiations that led to that agreement did not address the status of Wrangel Island, Herald Island, Bennett Island, Jeannette Island, or Henrietta Island, all of which lie off Russia’s Arctic coast, or Mednyy (Copper) Island or rocks off the coast of Mednyy Island in the Bering Sea. None of the islands or rocks above were included in the U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, and they have never been claimed by the United States, although Americans were involved in the discovery and exploration of some of them.
“. . . whoever holds the Arctic, holds the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world.” These solemn words were uttered in 1935 before a House of Representatives Committee by a retired American general and aviator, Billy Mitchell, who presciently foresaw the Arctic as a vital region for early detection against missile and aviation threats to prevent an attack against the United States. But at the end of the Cold War, the Arctic ceased to be a strategically important place for either the United States or the Russian Federation. But by the 2007-2008 timeframe, Russia began to re-prioritize the Arctic both economically and militarily—in keeping with Vladimir Putin’s vision of restoring Russia’s status as a great power and harnessing the Arctic’s economic potential. Now more than a decade later, Russia has returned to the Arctic militarily with important strategic implications for the United States.