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Scared Straight
Posted by: McQ on Monday, August 25, 2008

Although Norway is nowhere near Georgia geographically, what has happened there has caused some in Norway to be concerned with Russia's intentions in their neck of the woods:
Several Norwegian opposition politicians say Russia’s intervention in the South Ossetia crisis shows that the country has Great Power aspirations, which could eventually pose a threat against Norwegian positions in the High North.
Specifically, the leader of the Norwegian Conservative Party, Ms. Erna Solberg, is concerned about Russia's apparent desire for access to oil near the Spitsbergen archipelago:
It worries me that the Russians are showing disrespect for our right to govern the Spitsbergen archipelago, she says to the newspaper. She also accuses the Norwegian red-green government coalition of failing to nurse relations with the USA.
Notice the last line. She also points out:
"We can not defend ourselves alone, Norway needs a strong army", she says to newspaper Aftenposten.
About that relationship with the US? But I think she's dead on right when she talks about Russia's renewed "great power" aspirations.

As for the Spitsbergen archipelago, Russia has decided it has a right to explore in the area of the archipelago while Norway declares it doesn't:
Russia this week confirmed its intention to start looking for oil and gas in waters near the Spitsbergen archipelago. Meanwhile, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre says in a newspaper interview that Norway has the right to establish an economic zone around the islands and that all industrial activities in the area are subjected to Norwegian regulations.

The two apparently contradictory statements illustrate the existing disagreement between Norway and Russia in the Spitsbergen issue. While Norway claims that the Paris Treaty of 1920 gives it the right to establish an economic zone around the archipelago, Russia and a number of other countries maintain that the Paris Treaty only regulates the situation on the archipelago and not at sea.
Of course, until energy became an issue, Russia pretty well abided by the economic zone Norway had established and policed around the islands. But that was Pre-Putin.

Additionally Norway contends the islands are on the Norwegian continental shelf and thus a part of Norway's sovereign territory. The Russians (and interestingly the UK) both say it has a continental shelf of its own.

Norway, obviously, is not happy with these developments.
It is no secret that Norway fears a more direct Russian engagement in the sensitive issues relating to the Spitsbergen islands. Over the last couple of years, Russian authorities have repeatedly signaled an enhanced policy approach to the area.
Said another way, they've gotten much more aggressive.

Norway isn't the only country concerned about the Russian "great power" complex. Sweden too is rethinking its priorities as well as its relationship with Russia:
An editorial in newspaper Dagens Nyheter today highlights the need for a revision of Swedish defence policies.

"For Sweden, the issue is now to adjust its defence policy to the hard realities", the editorial reads.

The newspaper writes that the South Ossetia crisis to certain extent resembles the Cold War.

"The perception that Sweden does not have external threats is an ill-informed stance, which although it lacks basis in reality has spread through the Swedish defence debate", the editors write.

The newspaper now calls on the Swedish government to stall cuts in the country’s defence in order to bolster national security.
So far, of course, it is all talk, no action, however perhaps, just perhaps, there's a glimmer of hope that Europe will wake up and smell the bear musk. Taking charge of their own defense - which, of course means many more euros spent for defense than is currently being done - would be a good start. If that actually happens, Russia's move into Georgia may turn out, in the long-run, to have been an extremely important event. But not in the way Russia imagined it to be.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Every day that this crisis continues, in one form or another, McCain looks more presidential and Obama looks more and more unqualified.
Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://
Is norway in NATO? They should grow a pair and set up a naval blockade. Is it worth Russia starting WWIII over it?
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://
Gee, a "red-green" coalition govt. (read: red-red) hasn’t bothered to build a relationship with the US.

I’m absolutely shocked.

Written By: shark
URL: http://
Every day that this crisis continues, in one form or another, McCain looks more presidential and Obama looks more and more unqualified
Every day I get more frightened that McCain might get us in a shooting war with Russia.

McQ, the Euro’s will not take control of their own protection because they don’t have to. They know that Uncle Sapp will take up the slack. And no one in either party has the guts to tell them that they have to start paying their way.

They are wealthier than the USA and have much more population yet some how we have to pay for their defense, I suppose forever no end in sight.

I hate to sound like a lefty, or a conspiracy theorist, but does it not strike anyone as curious that just as we see an end in sight in Iraq we now have a new cold war to spend money on? How convenient. Guess that Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower talked about, there was nothing to that after all.

Written By: kyleN
They know that Uncle Sapp will take up the slack.
Maybe you should tell them no, you won’t. I am pretty tired of the laziness of the EU and assorted clowns. Maybe they need a good lesson.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://

France and Norway actually spend a lot on defense, about 60% of what we pay on a per capita basis.

Italy, Germany, Netherlands seem to be the real hard core free riders.

I do notice Taiwan sure pays a small amount considering they are next door to China. Another free rider that should be paying more for its own defense.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Italy, Germany, Netherlands seem to be the real hard core free riders.
Maybe the US should be a proportional spender. If defense matters to them then it matters to the US, otherwise....
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Every day I get more frightened that McCain might get us in a shooting war with Russia.
Yeah, keep talkin Kyle...the man is currently a Senator, and all this is developing without his input. You’d have been brilliant in the 79 campaign when ’Reagan was going to start a war’.

McCain....war!!!!! BOOOOOOO!!!!!! BOOOOOOOO!!!!! Are ya scared yet?!!!!!! BOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Try worrying about Putin.
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