Is a War against America Possible?
Login if you are already registered
The cause for lasting confrontation between Moscow and Washington lies in growing differences between them, rather than in Cold War stereotypes. As a result, in the next 10-15 years we are more than likely to witness a Russian-American military conflict. Of course, this forecast is highly hypothetical, but over the past 20 years, the sides have only acted to increase its likelihood.
Another failed attempt at rapprochement between Russia and the United States in summer 2013 revived the talk about the future of the bilateral relationship. Although most pundits are guardedly optimistic arguing that this is "not the first time and not the last," the recent breakdown of the Kremlin-White House dialogue seems worrisome. In fact, Russian and American leaders seem stuck on the issues dating from the 1980s, i.e. winding down confrontational rhetoric, resuming disarmament negotiations, and establishing economic contacts. Since the parties have had to return to these subjects every two-three years over the past two decades, they seem to have failed to build a constructive dialogue on these issues.
From my perspective, the cause for this lasting confrontation between Moscow and Washington  lies in growing differences between them, rather than in Cold War stereotypes. As a result, in the next 10-15 years we are more than likely to witness a Russian-American military conflict. Of course, this forecast is highly hypothetical, but over the past 20 years, the sides have only acted to increase its likelihood.
The Obama Doctrine: The Lord of Two Rings
The post-World War II global order was essentially an Anglo-Saxon project; its key provisions specified by the Atlantic Charter of 1941 (http://www.grinchevskiy.ru/1900-1945/atlanticheskaya-hartiya.php). Up to mid-1942, Soviet diplomats had been talking to Churchill’s cabinet to ensure that the alliance was not directed against the USSR. And it was only in June 1942, that the Kremlin agreed to President Roosevelt's concept of “three policemen,” i.e. the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union as the three powers that would play the key role in the post-war world. The allies compromised, and this allowed them to build the foundations of the Yalta-Potsdam arrangement in 1943-1944.
The world order underwent its first change in the mid-1950s, when the USSR and the United States joined efforts to dismantle the British and French empires. Consequently, a bipolar order emerged on the basis of the competition between two superpowers whose relations were built on mutually assured destruction (MAD) and extreme ideological confrontation . Until 1962, the risk of a head-on clash between them was minimal, as both sides were chronically short of reasons for a war, and, more importantly, lacked the technical assets needed to occupy their opponent’s territory. Neither Moscow nor Washington had many political zealots at the top who were ready to risk it all for victory in an Armageddon. Besides, the two superpowers had no territorial claims to each other, ruling out a clash of interests in accordance with the First World War scenario .
The second transformation of the world order dates back to the late 1980s, when perestroika put an end to the Socialist commonwealth and the USSR. However, the Yalta-Potsdam principles remained, chiefly:
- Missile and nuclear parity between Russia and the United States.
- Russia and the United States holding a qualitative and quantitative lead in nuclear potentials vis-à-vis other nuclear powers.
- Monopoly of Russia and the United States over manufacturing a comprehensive range of weapons.
- Russia and the United States holding a monopoly over the entire range of scientific research.
- Effective Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) of 1968.
When it comes to the power balance, the current world order shows scant difference from the Cold War period, with no second-tier nuclear state, including China, possessing the capability to destroy the strategic potentials of Russia and the United States .
The structure of global governance also remains unchanged, as no international policy documents that set out the post-Cold War balance of forces have been adopted. The UN, more specifically the Security Council, remains the key player. Its permanent membership is still limited to the victorious powers, thereby legitimizing the new world order through the outcome of the Second World War. This also incorporates the limitations on the sovereignty of Germany and Japan by the winner states.
When it comes to the power balance, the current world order shows scant difference from the Cold War period, with no second-tier nuclear state, including China, possessing the capability to destroy the strategic potentials of Russia and the United States.
Against this background, in 1990, Washington vowed to establish a new world order, which seems possible under three conditions: (1) other states lack military assets comparable with those of the United States; (2) other states are deprived of the capability to impede American decisions; and (3) other states recognize the new order’s legitimacy. However, if the Yalta-Potsdam system remains intact, the U.S. leadership may be informal, and this is what serves as the basis for the Russian-American confrontation.
First, the Soviet Union’s military potential was not dismantled, as had been the case with Germany and Japan after WWII, and the Russian Federation remains the only country with the technical capacity to destroy the United States and wage war against it using comparable weapons.
Second, Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and thus able to block American decisions.
Third, Russia has explicitly declared that it does not recognize U.S. leadership, based on the concept of multipolarity proclaimed by Moscow and Beijing in 1997.
With the Russia problem unsolved, the American project for a global world is doomed to falter.
Fourth, Russia is working to establish formal and informal coalitions aiming to obstruct U.S. policies. During many international crises, the Kremlin opted to oppose the White House by playing on French, German and Chinese aspirations, while the Russian-Chinese Grand Treaty of 2001 provides proof that such coalitions can be viable.
Fifth, Russia is independent from the United States in the export of defense technologies, supplying them to the countries that are willing to build up their military potentials to oppose Washington.
So far, the Americans have had to put up with the situation, as they are aware of the shortage of assets with which to punish Russia. (By which genuine punishment is meant, rather than pinpricks such as sanctions against Russian companies or declarations about violation of human rights in Russia.) So, with the Russia problem unsolved, the American project for a global world is doomed to falter.
Back in 1948, the Truman administration defined its main aim in relations with the USSR as diminishing the Soviet military potential to a level that is safe for the United States . After the Cold War, Washington confirmed this approach, as on May 12, 1989, President Bush Sr. said that democratic reforms in the Soviet Union are inseparable from the disarmament process. The need to reduce the Soviet Union’s defense potential was also stipulated in the 1991 U.S. National Security Strategy.
The White House was proud of what it achieved at the 1989 Wyoming Compromise, i.e. new guidelines for strategic dialogue. U.S. leaders linked further concessions with backing centrifugal forces in the USSR, as the Bush Sr. and Clinton administrations backed Boris Yeltsin during the political crises in 1991-1993 in exchange for strategic concessions – from the HEU agreement to closing reactors that produce weapons-grade plutonium. Another significant concession by the Kremlin was the signing of START-2 in 1993 eliminating heavy ICBMs .
With Yeltsin’s positions strengthening, the Kremlin grew increasingly reluctant to fulfill these damaging obligations. The crucial point seems to have been the Russian president’s visit to Washington on September 27, 1994, when he said that, due to the State Duma’ stance, the ratification of START-2 was delayed indefinitely. By late 1994, the Clinton administration realized that disarming Russia would not be achieved quickly. The Russian regime was thereafter rated as hostile. In fall 1994, U.S. pundits began talking about Russia’s “failed democratic transition” and the establishment of “neo-Tsarist” or “neo-imperial” rule in the country.
In the 2000s, the situation deteriorated. This growing hostility in Russian-American relations was not connected with Vladimir Putin’s domestic policies, since in order to attain its goals, Washington was eager to cooperate with regimes far more authoritarian than Putin’s Russia. In fact, Russia rejected the U.S. attempts to launch talks about the dramatic reduction of strategic potentials on American conditions. Instead, Moscow pressed to review the Wyoming Compromise, which was partially achieved within START-3 in 2010. The Americans were also concerned about the Russian president’s philosophy, as reflected in his Munich address of February 10, 2007, as Putin voiced a possible military counteraction to unfriendly steps from Washington.
In the mid 1990s, the United States started developing new approaches to influence Russia’s political environment:
- Arrests of Russian officials and businessmen on money-laundering charges despite the absence of evidence of their transgressions against the United States.
- The portrayal of Russia in the media as a criminal and authoritarian state whose policies contradict the global community’s interests.
- Accusing Russia of energy blackmail toward other states.
- Financing the Russian opposition in the hope of identifying new leaders ready to speed up reductions in Russia’s strategic potential in exchange for support.
- Exploring the possibilities of supporting separatist trends in Russia .
In 1995 and 1999, the White House openly condemned Moscow’s military operations in Chechnya, and in early 2000s, the Department of State regularly received Chechen separatist leaders. American analysts engaged in a lively discussion of problems that were potentially dangerous for Russia such as “the Circassian genocide,” “deportation of people from the North Caucasus,” “inequality of the Northern peoples,” etc. The analysis of the 1920-1922 Far Eastern Republic  with the focus on a possible admission of the Russian Far East to APEC separately from the rest of the Russian Federation also gained some popularity.
The unparalleled rigid reaction of the White House to Putin’s return to the Kremlin had two causes. First, the U.S. establishment regards him as reluctant to make concessions over disarmament. Second, in winter 2012, the Americans understood that no amount of opposition financing could generate a critical mass for a regime change in Russia in the foreseeable future.
In practical policy terms, the United States was fine-tuning approaches to the coercive disarmament of rogue regimes. The first precedent took place in 2003 in Iraq, where the United States and its allies invaded – allegedly to seize Saddam Hussein’s chemical and biological weapons. The next precedent would seem to be Iran – under pressure from the Americans to shut down its uranium enrichment program. Success in this venture would mean revising the NPT that entitles all non-nuclear states to have nuclear energy capabilities. Another promising course of action is disarming North Korea, which Washington is willing to deprive of nuclear warheads and plutonium enrichment assets under the control of the IAEA or the P5 commission. The Americans are pushing Pakistan to establish joint control over its nuclear potential. Syria is a special case – offering grounds for the development of a scenario for the international community’s interference, in extremis, in a domestic conflict in which a rogue government has allegedly used WMD.
After disarming two or three more countries, such as India and Brazil, a similar approach could be applied to Russia. In theory, two scenarios seem likely. One could involve arresting top Russian politicians to put them on international trial on charges of genocide against the Chechens, Georgians or Circassians (mark as appropriate), while also raising the issue of the regime’s right to possess that level of nuclear weapons. The other involves the presence of a Russian government that is more obedient, upon which an agreement on expedient nuclear arms cuts with access for American inspectors to Russian nuclear facilities can be imposed.
The unparalleled rigid reaction of the White House to Putin’s return to the Kremlin had two causes. First, the U.S. establishment regards him as reluctant to make concessions over disarmament. Second, in winter 2012, the Americans understood that no amount of opposition financing could generate a critical mass for a regime change in Russia in the foreseeable future. The United States responded with diversified toughness – from Obama’s demonstrative refusal to meet his Russian counterpart to adoption of the Magnitsky Act depriving a segment of the Russian elite of its legitimacy. In fact, judging by the Dima Yakovlev Law, the Kremlin seems prepared to use every tool in its arsenal to counter Washington’s potentially harmful steps.
In a situation like this, the United States would seem more interested in defeating Russia in a regional military conflict. Judging by the documents, Washington does not rule out armed intervention in a conflict between Russia and its neighbors. A local war like this might aim at punishing Moscow, demonstrating the stability of U.S. leadership, and at laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia. The five-day war in August 2008 with America’s de facto involvement seems like a trial run for this scenario.
That said, Russia does not seem a submissive victim of U.S. policies, as was the case with Yugoslavia, Iraq, or Syria. On the contrary, under certain conditions, the very logic of Moscow’s foreign policy could contribute to a crisis arising.
Russia’s current political system is a modified version of that of the RSFSR . The Kremlin’s deliberately pro-American rhetoric of the early 1990s was generated not by affection for America but by the need to solve three problems: recognition of the Russian Federation within the RSFSR’s 1991 borders, removal of nuclear weapons from the ex-Soviet republics, and the legitimization of Yeltsin’s regime in the context of his confrontation with the Supreme Council. As these problems were resolved, the need for partnership with Washington diminished, and the Kremlin began perceiving U.S. policies aimed at reducing Russia’s strategic potential as hostile.
Consequently, Moscow concentrated on two tracks: maintaining missile and nuclear parity with Washington; and retaining Russia’s privileged world status by preserving the role of the UN Security Council. Naturally, both approaches ran counter to U.S. foreign policy strategy. In order to push the White House toward a dialogue, the Kremlin required military demonstrations, the largest being the Kosovo crisis in 1999 and the five-day war in 2008.
Another element of Russia’s foreign policy strategy is connected to the inherent instability of its political system. During the past 20 years, the government has managed to defend the country’s territorial integrity, but the property remains undivided and the inter-clan struggle is continuing. Most people in the country would not regard the existing forms of property ownership as fully legitimate and would reject (except for a certain segment of the population in the major cities) the ethos of competition. The collective consciousness among people in the regions is nostalgic for the Soviet past, meaning that the authorities need to demonstrate foreign policy feats to prop up their legitimacy.
The demonstratively unfriendly attitude of the Obama administration towards Mr. Putin meant that the Americans had crossed a red line, as the White House had never before made the bilateral relationship contingent on a specific leader.
Russian leaders strongly fear regional separatism. The complex negotiations with Tatarstan regarding the Federative Treaty, two military operations in Chechnya, and secessionist trends in North Ossetia, Karachaevo-Circassia and Dagestan create a perception that, under certain circumstances, the threat of the Russian Federation disintegrating could become a reality. Washington's attempts to build its own strategy toward the Russian regions cannot, therefore, but worry the Kremlin.
The 2011-2012 political crisis has boosted these trends, showing that popular support for Russian leaders is weaker than social scientists believed five-to-seven years ago. This crisis has demonstrated the limits on the government's mobilization resources, as neither the Nashi pro-government youth movement nor the Cossacks nor the Seliger project participants went out onto the streets to disperse the undersized protest marches. This has revealed the fact that society has wearied of the incumbent president. Hence, the Kremlin has ventured a major concession by returning to direct elections for regional heads, meaning that, in the near future, Putin's administration will have to build relationships with local authorities that are more independent .
The demonstratively unfriendly attitude of the Obama administration towards Mr. Putin meant that the Americans had crossed a red line, as the White House had never before made the bilateral relationship contingent on a specific leader. The next 18 months only proved the U.S. was reluctant to deal with Putin after his return to the Kremlin. The Magnitsky Law and the Bout affair have shown that the United States will not consider the Russian elite as "family" and will not provide it with security guarantees. If it were to engage Washington in bilateral dialogue, the Kremlin would likely require either a significant emasculation of the U.S. or a massive demonstration of force.
Hypothetically, a perfect solution could be found in Russia's victory in a regional conflict, which should drive Washington toward a dialogue in the same way as the 2008 five-day war made the Americans wind up the process of NATO accession for Ukraine and Georgia.
Hypothetically, a perfect solution could be found in Russia's victory in a regional conflict, which should drive Washington toward a dialogue in the same way as the 2008 five-day war made the Americans wind up the process of NATO accession for Ukraine and Georgia. Inside Russia, such a trial for all could expedite a line being drawn under the breakup of the USSR and the privatization of the 1990s. This situation appears more appealing, because any outcome of the conflict could be presented as a victory. Just remember the Soviet propaganda that portrayed both the Brest-Litovsk Treaty of 1918 and the Soviet-Polish war of 1920 as essentially victorious, since "young Soviet Russia managed to survive in a hostile environment."
However, it should not be a small victorious war, as Vyacheslav Pleve said. The 2008 experience showed that a rapid victory against Georgia did nothing to reverse any trends. A breakthrough should require a more serious test that could truly consolidate Russian society.
A hypothetical Russian-American conflict would hardly be similar to the WWII or a nuclear apocalypse. It would be more reminiscent of the “Cabinet Wars” of the 18th century, when the sides exchanged several intimidating gestures and then resumed talks. Although such a scenario does not imply nuclear escalation, it cannot be ruled out, since Russian and American military doctrines have been reducing the nuclear threshold, substantiating the admissibility and even desirability of using tactical nuclear weapons within certain limits. Both sides should find it more important to proclaim a victory that would allow them to solve their problems.
Russian-Japanese War No.3
The Russian-Japanese territorial dispute offers perfect grounds for a collision. For Russia, Japan is a strong adversary, at least equal or even superior in terms of surface fleet in the Pacific theater. However, any engagement involving Russian aviation, especially its strategic air force, would undoubtedly see Moscow's final victory. This victory could serve as Russia's historic revenge for the defeat of 1904-1905 (the 1945 campaign cannot be counted because the USSR overpowered Japan jointly with the United States and Great Britain – not individually). Another advantage can be seen in the U.S.-Japanese 1960 treaty of alliance, since war would look like a manifestation of U.S. weakness if America fails to take a role in the action, or as a victory in an intense struggle against an American-Japanese coalition if the Americans do get involved.
The United States could also use the conflict to demonstrate that its interference at the final stage is evidence of American efficiency and the allies’ inability to handle matters without U.S. participation, and as proof of the need to stop or roll back Russian expansion.
Japan is known to have domestic forces that could be interested in seeing their nation's defeat. The 1960 American-Japanese Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security prevents Japan from possessing fully-fledged armed forces and reserves the U.S. right for practically uncontrolled operations on its territory. There are two Japanese parties seeking to restore national sovereignty in the military sphere. One wants to revise the American-Japanese treaty, while the other seeks to provoke a series of regional crises prompting the United States to shirk its obligations. During the past 30 years, all Tokyo's attempts to review the treaty have ended in failure, while a collapsed American security umbrella would allow Japan to rightfully restore its armed forces and possibly put an end to the American presence on its territory.
The devil is not as black as it is painted
Trends observed over the past five years support the Japanese scenario. Among them - talks between Moscow and Tokyo on the territorial issue being in deadlock, both sides rejecting compromise initiatives, as well as clear escalation as a result of such steps as Dmitry Medvedev's demonstrative visit to the South Kuril Islands during his presidential term or the adoption of the law on the occupied status of northern territories by Japanese parliament. The purchase of Mistral helicopter carriers sheds light on the Russia’s views on the main naval theater. A conflict could begin with a Japanese declaration of sovereignty over the northern territories and the landing of several thousand Japanese civilians there. Moscow should respond with a limited peace enforcement operation.
A clash in the far North also seems likely. The Arctic Ocean is currently impassable for day-to-day activities and the continuous extraction of resources. Their presence and commercial viability have yet to be verified, but already the Arctic powers are trading harsh and defiant gestures.
In 2002, the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf returned the Russian application as incomplete, and in 2014 Moscow will present the finalized version, which it hopes will prove that the underwater Lomonosov and Mendeleyev ridges are extensions of the Siberian continental platform. If the Commission rejects this new, improved application, Russia could unilaterally proclaim sovereignty over the Soviet Arctic sector. Other countries could respond with force, as happened in the 1924 collision between the USSR and the United States over Wrangel Island.
Hypothetically, two sub-scenarios seem probable, i.e. a Russia-Canada conflict over the North Pole or a clash between Russia and the Scandinavian countries over the Barents Sea and the status of the Northern Sea Route. As far as the Scandinavians are concerned, Moscow is clearly building a dialog with generous concessions – from the 2010 Murmansk Agreement with Norway to attempts to revive the Barents Sea Conference in 2013. Canada makes quite a different case, as in 2002 the Moscow-Ottawa dialogue was deadlocked, and Canada is portrayed in the Russian media as a completely anti-Russian country. Besides, Russia and Canada still argue about the status of the North Pole. Forcing small Canadian groups out of the Russian sector, possibly following an intense air fight, could be presented as “a hard-won victory.” Significant propaganda dividends could be derived from planting the idea of a “NATO split” if Oslo and Copenhagen step aside. The United States could depict its involvement as putting a stop to Russian expansionist aims. Besides, Washington could use an Arctic conflict as a pretext for launching reforms of the UN Security Council as a body that fails to fulfill its duties.
Territorial disputes in the APR
Experts often build scenarios for a Russian-American partnership in the Pacific, which is exactly the area of their territorial disputes, i.e. the border in the Bering Sea, the status of the Okhotsk Sea (Washington will not recognize it as Russia’s internal sea), the delimitation of the Bering Strait and the ambiguity of the Chukchi Sea frontier . What is more, the United States does not recognize the Northern Sea Route as Russia’s internal route and is not willing to give up its historic claims to the De Long Islands . The Americans could also fuel the situation by supporting secessionism in the Russian Far East.
For the United States, this scenario could mean an attempt to facilitate the Russian Federation’s disintegration. Even if this were to fail, Washington could exploit the situation to dismantle the institutional foundation of the Yalta-Potsdam world order. Russia could present the conflict as a Third Patriotic War, while the issue of the resource-based economy’s inefficiency would be marginalized; just like the 1812 War froze all talk about the inefficiency of serfdom and autocracy for 50 years.
Actually, there are more hypothetical opportunities, primarily connected with a Russia-United States clash in the former USSR territory. The most likely of them are:
- Disturbances in Belarus caused by a possible withdrawal from the Union State.
- Escalation of the conflict over the Kaliningrad Region following territorial claims either from Poland or from Germany, or the emergence of separatist sentiments within Kaliningrad fed by the EU.
- Aggravation of the problem of the Russian language’s status in Estonia and Latvia similar to the Bronze Soldier conflict in May 2007.
- Exacerbation of separatism in Russia’s Northwest, as the transfer of certain capital functions to St. Petersburg could coincide with local elites’ aspirations to establish a special relationship with the European Union.
In theory, a Russian-American armed conflict could also be possible in CIS flashpoints such as the Crimea, Black Sea and Transcaucasia. However, any such conflict would not solve Moscow’s or Washington’s deep-rooted political problems, since for Russia a victory would seem too obvious, and the United States would be concerned over escalation to help its allies.
* * *
Moscow and Washington are piling up differences that generate the potential for a military conflict. The nuclear factor would not guarantee peace. Political elites – in both countries – are more cautious over nuclear assets than other weapons because of their destructive power and the threat of unleashing a nuclear winter. WWI showed that the limited employment of WMD is possible, while WWII pointed to the feasibility of going to war without chemical weapons on the battlefield. The experiences of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl might feed the view that the limited use of nuclear weapons is not entirely unthinkable. What is infinitely more significant is the accumulation of political and psychological grounds for a possible collision.
RIAC’s views may not coincide with those expressed by the author
1. Scholarly literature is full of deliberations about the Russian-American partnership before the mid-1940s, which was allegedly broken by Stalin’s expansion. The standard example given is an episode from the U.S. Civil War, when in 1863 two Russian squadrons entered American ports possibly to launch an attack on British forces. In fact, this is the only example of the kind, since from the early 19th century; the Russian Empire and the United States have been absorbed in an intense rivalry in the Arctic and in the Pacific, aside from the regular condemnation of Russia’s political system by Congress. It was only in 1933 that the United States recognized the Soviet Union, while during the Second World War, Washington would not sign a treaty of alliance with Moscow or recognize legitimacy of the Baltic’s attachment to the USSR. For details see: G.A. Trofimenko. The U.S.A.: Politics, War, Ideology. Moscow: Mysl’ Publishers, 1976.
2. The Treaty of Washington was formally signed on April 4, 1949, although NATO’s institutional foundation was de facto created only after the FRG’s accession in 1955, triggering the establishment of the Warsaw Treaty Organization the same year.
3. The only question able to incite such an escalation was the German issue, because of the level of conflict in the relationship between the GDR and the FRG, as well as the West Berlin conundrum. However, after the second Berlin crisis in 1961, Moscow and Washington took urgent steps to normalize the situation.
4. For a detailed analysis of nuclear assets of second-tier nuclear states see: Nuclear Containment and Nonproliferation / Ed. by A. Arbatov and V. Dvorkin. Moscow: Moscow Carnegie Center, 2005.
5. The Main Adversary: Documents of U.S. Foreign Policy and Strategy, 1945-1950 / Compiled and translated by I.M. Ilyinsky. Moscow; Moscow Humanitarian University Publishers, 2006, Pp. 175-210.
6. Goldgeier J.M., McFaul M. Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy Toward Russia After the Cold War. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2003.
7. The United States has yet to officially support Russian separatism, with the only tentative exception to this being the October 2008 reports of John McCain’s campaign statements about its readiness to recognize independence of certain Russian regions, including the North Caucasian republics and the Republic of Komi (http://www.thenation.com/article/mccains-kremlin-ties#axzz2f6BAG3CR).
8. Wood A. The Revolution and Civil War in Siberia // Acton E., Cherniaev V.I., Rosenberg W.G. (eds.) Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution, 1914–1921. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997.
9. M.N. Afanasyev. The Ruling Elites and Statehood in Post-Totalitarian Russia. Moscow, 1996.
10. It offers a different view of the slogans about modernization and rejection of the resource-based economy that became widespread in Russia in fall 2009. Dropping the resource-based economy suggests a certain kind of mobilization, while modern Russia has developed a sort of anti-mobilization way of life, as many city-dwellers work at home with no fixed working hours, which gives rise to the question on how to convince these people to engage in mobilization projects.
11. According to the bilateral Treaty of March 18 (30), 1867, the new Russian-American border crossed the Bering Strait in the middle, equidistantly separating the islands of Krusenstern (Ignaluk) and Ratmanov (Nunarbuk), and extending “in its prolongation as far as the Frozen ocean.”
12. American expeditions by Adolphus Greely (1879) and George DeLong (1879-1881) discovered the islands of Henrietta, Jeanette and Bennett (part of the De Long Archipelago) north of the Novosibirsk Islands.