Norway as an Arctic frontline state?


Norway as an Arctic frontline state?

The US is opening 12 military bases in Norway to confront Russia in the Arctic (…)
– The main objective is to contest Russia’s Northern Sea Route and the Russian claims to energy resources in the Russian Arctic
– The US has not ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and does not recognise the Russian or Canadian Arctic claims. The US considers this to be “international waters” where it will exercise “freedom of navigation”

– Norway has a policy of not allowing foreign bases on its soil, but this issue was resolved by calling the US military bases “dedicated areas”. Norway is transferring sovereign control over territories to the US military outside that falls under US legal jurisdiction, but they cannot be referred to as military bases. It’s like referring to torture as “advanced interrogation techniques” to legalise torture

– During the Cold War, Norway had a policy of being a good neighbour to the Russians and a good ally to the Americans. The balance meant we were part of NATO as a deterrent but did not invite foreign troops to the high north or host foreign military bases as it would be provocative to the Russians and trigger a response.

– This policy is gone. In the tradition of NATO incrementalism, Norway first had American troops in Norway on rotation to suggest they were not permanently deployed and thus not breaching our policy of no foreign bases. In 2021, Norway and the US agreed on a few military bases but called them “dedicated areas” and reassured us they were not to target Russia. Now there will be 12+ US military bases and Washington no longer conceals its intentions.

– We wrote a warning in the Norwegian media in 2019 that we were being converted into an American frontline state in the Arctic, an Arctic Ukraine. This was dismissed as Russian talking points as US has seemingly no other interest in the Arctic than to offer free protection (…)

– Norway’s interest is to maintain peace and stability on the Russian border, while the US seeks to destabilise Russian borders. RAND, a think tank linked to the intelligence agencies, wrote a report sponsored by the US army in 2019 about how to destabilise Russian borders. Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and Central Asia were identified as key regions to “extend” Russia and drain it of resources (…). In a future update, Norway could be be added to this list

– The West also suspended cooperation with Russia in the Arctic Council, an organisation for positive-sum and friendly cooperation that was previously divorced from geopolitics. With the entry of Sweden and Finland to NATO, all Arctic states besides Russia are NATO states. Russia subsequently invites China, India and other non-Arctic powers in the East to cooperate in the Russian Arctic. Why is there no debate about the logic of suspending diplomacy when there is conflict?

– You may think there would be a vigorous debate about abandoning the balanced foreign policy and instead become a frontline state. But you would be wrong. All discussions are dumbed down to a narrative of good versus evil. We can safely outsource our foreign policy and territory to the Americans as they are our allies and their interests are thus supposedly identical to ours, while the Russians are enemies with evil intentions so there is no need to discuss our provocations. Suggesting that our policies are provocative and may undermine our own security is dismissed as “Russian propaganda”

– In this NBC article about confronting Russia in the Arctic, American soldiers in Norway are posing with a HIMARS system (The)

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