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Policy statement of the norweigan point of view of the securi

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.

Norwegian Security Policy after the Cold


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 Union. It was the Soviet Union which later liberated parts of Eastern

Finnmark from the retreating German forces.

During the Cold War the military value of Norwegian territory increased. The reason for this was the

build-up of large sea, air, and to a lesser extent, land-based military capacity in the Soviet

North-West. Norway was regarded as the place where NATO could lose a Third World War

should the Soviet Union freely be able to use Norwegian ports and airfields as part of the struggle to

gain military control over the Atlantic.

Not alone

Another fundamental premise of Norwegian security policy is the perception that Norway, by

herself, will never be able to effectively repel a great power attack or prevent a serious great power

attempt to occupy the country.

In need of assistance

Consequently, the third fundamental premise of Norwegian security policy is that the country is in

need of military assistance from countries interested in preventing an occupation of Norway. Since

1949 Norway secured such assistance by means of her membership in NATO. The Second World

War demonstrated that Allied help has to be agreed upon and preparations for it made in

peacetime, if it is to be effective. The NATO alliance has fulfilled this need.

But even during the Cold War, Norwegian security was not assumed to be so vulnerable as to

necessitate the deployment of foreign, allied troops on Norwegian territory. The political and military

cooperation in NATO was assumed to form an adequate basis for deterring any peacetime attack.

It also provided the basis for Norwegian base policy which was formulated in response to a Soviet

approach before Norway became a NATO member. The government decided that Norway should

not open bases for the armed forces of foreign countries unless the country was under attack or

under threat of attack. For Norway, it became an important diplomatic instrument to be able to

warn that, should there occur Soviet diplomatic or military coercion which might be interpreted as a

threat or an attack, the Government could retaliate by enlisting the allied armed forces.

Norwegian security policy became a tightrope-walk between deterrence and reassurance.

Deterrence was to make it clear that it would be too dangerous to attack Norway, because the

military power of the alliance could be deployed against Soviet territory. Reassurance might serve to

show the Soviet Union that Norwegian policy stood firm as long as the country was not provoked.

In this way Norway has been able to conduct a stable and effective low-tension policy based on


The threat is removed

The end of the Cold War has also removed the threat of a Third World War. It has altered the

perception of threat for all countries. On this point Norway is no exception. Furthermore, it is official

Norwegian policy to state that the country is not exposed to any threat of military attack.

Norwegian authorities do talk, however, of a transition from strategic to political risk. It is said that

one is faced with a dilemma where the most dangerous risks are regarded as the most unlikely - but

where those which affect Norway more indirectly, carry a much greater degree of probability.

Behavioural norms

Norwegian security is dependent on international peace, stability and security. Because of modern

communications, geographic distance no longer affords protection. A first line of defence consists of

all actors in the international arena - whether states or organisations - respecting those norms of

political behaviour which promote peace and toleration. But as the security policy challenge is also

inherent in domestic political developments, it is important that political chaos and conflict do not

emerge. An important perception, which Norwegian authorities share, is that democratic progress in

states which earlier were non-democratic is conducive to peace and stability. The preconditions for

democracy are the sharing of power and a certain degree of economic privatisation. The conflicts in

the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia, which demonstrate an inclination towards

violent ethnic cleansing, have been the focus of considerable attention.

Norway, in common with other countries, recognises two important principles. The first is that

national borders cannot be violated and can therefore only be changed by peaceful means. The

second is that human rights must be respected. Norway is also an adherent of the principle that

European security is incompatible with claims for ethnically clean states.


Developments in Russia represent nonetheless the most vital challenge for Norwegian Foreign and

Security Policy. Norway cannot exclude the possibility of a serious setback in Russian politics. In

consequence of this, efforts to draw Russia more closely towards the democratic cooperation in

Western European have been declared to be of vital interest for Norway. Regional predecessors of

this are the Barents Cooperation, established in 1993 and the Baltic Sea Council which was set up

in 1992.

Big brother

In the opinion of the Norwegian government, it would have been easier to integrate Russia had

Norway chosen to become a member of the EU along with Sweden, Finland and Denmark. It is

more of a problem to be left alone with the Russians in the far North. A small state does not feel

safe as the isolated neighbour of a superpower. In order to prevent the development of a "Big

Brother complex", Norway is interested in not being regarded as an isolated country but as part of a

larger community. For this reason non-Nordic countries are also welcome in regional cooperation.

The establishment of the cooperative bodies in the Barents Region can be looked upon as Norway's

most important single contribution to European East-West politics since the end of the Cold War.

Norway is also interested in further promoting Arctic cooperation by setting up a separate

cooperating council which will be open for all countries with Arctic frontiers.

Military power

It is also of importance that Russia, with its Soviet inheritance, is Europe's largest military power in

both nuclear as well as conventional terms, and that the political changes in the wake of the Cold

War have resulted in a proportionally larger share of Russian arms being deployed in areas

bordering on Norwegian territory. North-western Russia has become the most important base for

Russian naval forces, including the naval component of the balance of terror. The withdrawal of

Russian forces from Central Europe and the former Soviet republics has led to an increase of forces

in areas close to Norway.

Even if Norway accepts that European peace and security have been strengthened after the Cold

War, the country is keen to ensure that it does not become marginalised in Allied security policy as a

result of the Alliance partners neglecting the military situation in the Far North. On a purely military

level, the Russian forces there do not represent the same kind of threat as Soviet forces did earlier,

when they were linked to an offensive military capacity in Central Europe. This is because the Soviet

forces have now been brought back home. There now exists a more advantageous security policy

situation, benefitting Norway as well. However, even though these far northern forces are not

perceived as representing a direct threat against Western Europe, certain worries are nevertheless

expressed by Norwegian politicians regarding the emergence of different ideas concerning shared

security. This is one of the reasons why Norway takes part in the formation of special NATO

emergency forces. The intention is to make a contribution to solidarity abroad in order to maintain

security at home.


Norway is deeply interested in already existing disarmament agreements being respected, that

disarmament continues to take place and it is extended to new areas.

Norway does not want the CFE-agreement to be renegotiated at too early a stage.

The country is following with great interest the implementation of the START-II agreement which

reduces the number of nuclear weapons in Russia and the USA respectively to 3000 and 3500 by

the year 2003.

Furthermore, Novalja Semlja is Russia's only nuclear testing ground. Norway is working for a

complete test ban. The country is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and is engaged in

international efforts to prevent the emergence of new nuclear powers.

Norway holds a prominent posi

tion in the campaign to abolish chemical weapons.


Military based pollution in north-western Russia represents a particular problem. It is caused by

obsolescence, dumping at sea and by overflowing stockpiles on land. Norway has worked towards

involving the USA in the disarmament related pollution problems of North-western Russia, and has

been allocated some of the funds in a programme started by Senators Sam Nunn and Richard


A considerable pollution threat, albeit a non-military one, is represented by the nuclear power plants

and other industrial instal-lations in the area, such as the nickel smelters there. Pollution in Norway

emanating from Russia is more extensive than total pollution from Norwegian sources.


Put simply, Norway would like to see as much international cooperation as possible in order to

solve her security problems in as wide a context as possible.


It is the Norwegian view that transatlantic relations with the USA are in a class of their own. During

the Cold War, no other country was able to play such an important role for Norwegian security as

the USA. There is still a widely-held belief that nobody can replace the American commitment,

within the NATO framework, to ensure Norwegian security.

No other country can rival the USA's position as the leading proponent of disarmament, where both

nuclear and conventional arms are concerned.

Within NATO, Norway has entered into a number of special agreements with the USA, such as

pre-positioning of weapons and materiel for the marines and air force (COB), as well as other forms

of explicit military cooperation. Norway has helped limit the scope of cutbacks affecting such

measures, thanks to Defence Minister Kosmo's effective diplomacy. But Norway has also other

agreements with other NATO countries which ensure allied support, for example the agreement with

the German-American unit NCF (NATO Composite Force).


Norway supports NATO's new strategy and forces concept enabling it to meet unforeseen

challenges threatening member countries of the alliance.

Norway has put an IRF battalion, an air squadron and a frigate at the disposal of NATO for

immediate emergency deployment.

In the meantime, two aspects have changed.

During the Cold War, the greater strategic significance of Norwegian territory was so considerable it

was reckoned that alliance partners would quickly come to the assistance of the country in an


The threat against Norway was then so great that Norwegian forces had but one task - the defence

of Norwegian territory.

Now, by virtue of her participation in the IRF, Norway has proclaimed her willingness to deploy

military forces, in an allied context, outside of Norwegian territory. Moreover, this can be seen as

the expression of Norway's new resolve to demonstrate solidarity with her allied partners abroad, in

order to strengthen security cooperation with the same partners on home territory.


From a Norwegian viewpoint, every transatlantic debate in NATO has been fraught with a certain

anxiety lest the European and the American members of the alliance should develop such

disagreements that Norway would have to choose sides. Important strategic considerations link

Norway to the USA in a special way. However, Norway is part of Europe geographically,

historically, commercially and in other vital areas.

American policy represents two challenges. The first is demilitarisation and withdrawal from Europe.

The second is the call to Western European countries to assume greater responsibility for their own


Both challenges have a bearing on how Western European NATO members organise themselves. It

is of central importance in this connection that the Western European Union (WEU) has been

chosen as NATO's European pillar. Norway is an associated member of WEU.

At the same time WEU has been named the defence arm of the European Union (EU). Full

membership of WEU is only open to states who are EU members. Again, it is only EU member

countries who can take part in EU's joint foreign and security policy (FUSP), which gives security

policy a much broader basis than the purely military. Thus the Norwegian EU question is explicitly

linked to foreign policy considerations.

Norway had since the Spring of 1994 an accession treaty for EU membership, which was defended

not least from a security policy standpoint. But in the referendum of November 28th 1994 a

majority of the Norwegian people voted against membership.


Foreign and security policy cooperation between Nordic countries has developed rapidly following

the Cold War era when Swedish and Finnish neutrality gave rise questions of credibility.

Governments looked upon such cooperation as a step towards anticipated EU-membership for all

Nordic countries (Iceland excepted). There are, however, no indications of a Norwegian willingness

to establish any form of isolated Nordic defence cooperation. The idea of a Scandinavian defence

union was tried and rejected in 1948/49. Norway wants to remain in NATO, and as an associated

member of WEU at the very least.

But following the Norwegian people's rejection of the EU, there is a greater requirement to stimulate

more comprehensive Nordic cooperation. Norway is a part of the European Economic Area

(EEA), and as such is a sort of economic member of the EU, but without regular voting rights.

Rejection of EU-membership does not mean the rejection of other types of cooperation. Also on

grounds of security policy the Norwegian Government considers it important to fully exploit the EEA

agreement's regulations and semi-annual consultations.


Norway's support of the UN as the guarantor of international peace and security is dependent on

superpower cooperation not being paralysed by veto. Norway has a long tradition of taking part in

UN peacekeeping operations. More than 1 per cent of Norway's entire population has served on

UN assignments. This is probably a UN record.

After the Cold War the UN has regained much of its original strength. Norway has extended her

UN involvement by increasing the number of officers and troops on UN alert to 2000. Norway also

supports the thinking behind a greater role for the UN by strengthening the UN's apparatus for crisis

management and operational leadership. Norway supports the new concept: keeping the peace,

which in certain cases means a willingness to take up arms in order to restore peace.


Source: Essay UK -

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