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Thread: The Wrangel Island conspiracy

  1. #1
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    The Wrangel Island conspiracy

    This one is new to me, and I wondered how well-known or widely accepted it is in the USA.
    Because of the fact I once wrote something about Wrangel Island (a large island in the high Russian Arctic, west of the Bering Strait and north of the Chukchi Peninsula), I'm slightly beset by a person who believes that Wrangel (and some other islands in the Russian Arctic) rightly belongs to the United States, and is indeed part of Alaska. I was a little surprised to find that this argument has been going on since the Cold War, if not before, with the US State Department cast as the villain because of its failure to pursue this territorial claim.

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    I have to admit I had never heard of this island until this thread, let alone Wrangel’s ownership or any disputes. Residents of Alaska or the Pacific Northwest might have familiarity.

    A cursory view on google maps makes me think the island doesn’t seem like terribly valuable real estate to fuss about.


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    Factcheck.org has a fairly decent summary of it. And includes why it suddenly had new life breathed into it five or six years ago.

    I'm not an American but I'd heard of it. Just from general background reading on the Arctic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    This one is new to me, and I wondered how well-known or widely accepted it is in the USA.
    Because of the fact I once wrote something about Wrangel Island (a large island in the high Russian Arctic, west of the Bering Strait and north of the Chukchi Peninsula), I'm slightly beset by a person who believes that Wrangel (and some other islands in the Russian Arctic) rightly belongs to the United States, and is indeed part of Alaska. I was a little surprised to find that this argument has been going on since the Cold War, if not before, with the US State Department cast as the villain because of its failure to pursue this territorial claim.

    Grant Hutchison
    I never heard of this either. I have no doubt the basis is people confuse Wrangel Island, which is north of Siberia, and Wrangell Island, which is in the Alaskan panhandle.

    Yet more proof that spelling is important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    I never heard of this either. I have no doubt the basis is people confuse Wrangel Island, which is north of Siberia, and Wrangell Island, which is in the Alaskan panhandle.

    Yet more proof that spelling is important.
    If only that were so.
    No, these guys actually mean Wrangel Island north of Siberia, which was claimed on behalf of the US by the USRC Corwin back in 1881. But part of their thing is to claim that it is properly spelled "Wrangell" - which was the way Wrangel's name was transliterated in the 19th Century, when the US (and UK) were taking an interest in the area. That spelling has persisted in Wrangell Island and the Wrangell-Saint Elias Range, but the Russian island is now standardized on Wrangel.

    Grant Hutchison
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    There's no contention. Google clearly shows it as being Russian territory.

    I wish those people would check their facts first.









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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    There's no contention. Google clearly shows it as being Russian territory.

    I wish those people would check their facts first.








    They do check their facts, then just ignore the results if they don’t like them.

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    What's the conspiracy angle?

    CJSF
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    What's the conspiracy angle?

    CJSF
    Or, for that matter, the space and astronomy angle?
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    What's the conspiracy angle?
    That the American government, in particular the Department of State, is conspiring / has conspired against the American People to give away American sovereign territory.
    The perceived usefulness of Wrangel has shifted over the years, from a base for Soviet submarines (it never was), to a location that would allow a maritime claim to oil/gas in the Arctic Ocean, to a choke-point on the Northeast Passage.
    The reasoning (as I understand it) seems odd to me - that the original claim by the Corwin is essentially irrevocable, and no argument from occupation, contiguity or utter lack of interest is acceptable. The US government just doesn't get to ignore or rescind territorial claims made on its behalf.

    Grant Hutchison
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  11. #11
    While hopefully if there is a dispute over the island it will handled the way Canada and Denmark has handled Hans Island.

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    Canada had an opportunity to claim Wrangel, once, after Vilhjalmur Stefansson claimed it for them.
    The problem (apart from the fact that Stefansson was a loon who had founded a "colony" on Wrangel that ended up dead) was that Canada was in the midst of arguing a "contiguity" claim to the Arctic islands to its north, against a claim by Denmark. The Canadian government realized that lodging a claim to an island very much in contiguity with the USSR would be shooting themselves in the foot, so they blanked Stefansson.

    Grant Hutchison
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    What's the conspiracy angle?
    It depends. Who is making money off the claim?
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    I had never heard of this conspiracy before, or, indeed Wrangel Island in any context besides it being the home of the last mammoths.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The reasoning (as I understand it) seems odd to me - that the original claim by the Corwin is essentially irrevocable, and no argument from occupation, contiguity or utter lack of interest is acceptable. The US government just doesn't get to ignore or rescind territorial claims made on its behalf.
    Cool. So if I discover some new island and claim it for Senegal, then it is irrevocably and forever theirs, whether they want it or not!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    I had never heard of this conspiracy before, or, indeed Wrangel Island in any context besides it being the home of the last mammoths.
    You can still pick mammoth teeth, tusks and bones off the ground on Wrangel - they[re weathering out of the tundra. (Somewhere I have a photo of myself holding aloft a mammoth tooth, looking moderately pleased with myself.)

    Grant Hutchison
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    Quote Originally Posted by fullstop View Post
    Cool. So if I discover some new island and claim it for Senegal, then it is irrevocably and forever theirs, whether they want it or not!
    Not in the American C.T.-ists' world view: US claims are automatically valid, regardless of prior discoveries or claims, of which there were several, including by Russia (1764), Britain (1849), and Germany (1866) or international law.

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