Norwegian Security Policy After The Cold War

Norwegian Security Policy after the Cold War

Despite widespread diplomatic discussion, and sentiment that the UN Security
Council must be expanded in order to maintain its long-term legitimacy, no
generally acceptable formula for expansion has emerged. Concerns for obtaining
or retaining voting power, and for preserving a body structured so as to be able
to take prompt and effective decisions, have prevented agreement. This article
reviews various criteria for evaluating restructuring proposals, and suggests a
formula that, while not fundamentally affecting the distribution of power on the
Council, might satisfy many states\' minimal requirements for an acceptable
package of changes.

The end of the Cold War between East and West has strengthened Norwegian
security, which makes Norway no different from most other European countries.
There are now more dimensions to security policy than there were when the
overriding aim was deterrence by means of one\'s own and allied military forces.
Cold War perceptions of military threat no longer exist. In Norway\'s particular
case, however, it is possible to talk about a remaining strategic threat, when
referring to Russian deployments in the far north. Such a threat is only a
potential one and is not imminent today. Yet it has to be acknowledged that wars
between nations and ethnic groups have hardly been abolished. As a result, it
has become more difficult to identify the risk of armed aggression directed
against Norway The risk would seem to reside in the escalation of a whole series
of completely different political developments. For example, these eventualities
could take the form of the emergence of a nationalistic dictatorship, or the
development of ungovernable political chaos in formerly communist countries.
Because of the existence of some very large arsenals and supplies of military
equipment, it is important to judge the political aims of potential opponents.
These can change over time, not least if they represent irrational and
aggressive attitudes. The nuclear weapons of the great powers do not seem to
have any deterrent effect on "violent ethnic cleansing", and the emergence of
armed conflicts in different areas can be difficult to predict.

But a country\'s security can also be subject to something that has become more
topical after the Cold War: low level threats. These are related to some very
different types of irregular national border transgressions, for example
international crime and various forms of pollution.

The Cold War\'s dominating concept, security by means of deterrence, is
complemented by the concept of collective security. This harmonises well with
the traditional Norwegian approach to security policy of combining deterrence
with reassurance. The potential enemy is also a partner. A small country has no
less a need for allies, but for different purposes.

Following the result of the Norwegian referendum in the autumn of 1994, which
rejected EU membership, the current status of Norwegian security policy can be
summarised as follows:

* We are a member of NATO

* an associated member of the WEU, and

* our Nordic neighbours are members of the EU.


For most of the period following the Second World War, Norway sought national
security through membership of NATO. Up until 1940 the key word was neutrality,
a neutrality that was well disposed towards the British. During the Second World
War Norway was occupied, whilst the legal government sought exile in London.
Norway took part in an "overseas front" on the side of the Allies. An important
Norwegian contribution to the war effort was the achievement of its large
merchant fleet.

Strategic value

A basic premise of Norwegian security policy is the perception of the assumed
military and strategic value of Norwegian territory for the combatants in a
great power conflict. The absence of any political conflict with Norway is the
precondition for such an offensive. War between the Nordic countries is now
looked upon as totally unimaginable and is therefore excluded from all practical
planning. The Nordic countries together make up a "security community".

Norway was not involved in the First World War because it was mainly limited to
the European continent. It was a land war during which Norway was protected by
the British fleet at the same time as the German fleet was mainly held to its
own naval bases.

Norway was drawn into the Second World War as the result of a strategic German
invasion undertaken as part of its war against England. This war was fought on a
much wider geographic scale and also developed into a war at sea. Norway, with
its long coastline, became a theatre of war. Furthermore, Norwegian territory
was used as one of several launching points for Germany\'s war against the Soviet