German and Norwegian Perspectives on Euro-Atlantic Security
Chapter 2: Norwegian Foreign and Security Policy: From the Arctic Frontier to the Afghan Battlefield
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Norwegian Foreign and Security Policy:From the Arctic Frontier to the Afghan Battlefield
The main task of any nation is to protect its sovereignty and core values, to safeguard its economic interests, and to promote its political aspirations. No nation’s security, interests and ambitions can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in cooperation with other nations and institutions. As a small power with extensive global economic and political activities and interests, Norway is particularly prone to work for a robust rule-based international order that can enhance peace and stability and protect against encroachment and discrimination. In a world of anarchy, however, Norway cannot base its security solely on international rules and regimes, so a second line of defence is to maintain national military capabilities and to pin down Western powers to the defence of Norway.
In order to capture the essence of these ambitions and tasks, I shall examine four dimensions of Norwegian foreign and security policy: the High North or the European Arctic, the transatlantic, the European and the global dimensions.1 This four-dimensional approach is a fruitful analytical tool for capturing Norwegian policy in the 20th century as well as today. In discussing the four dimensions, I shall address the weighting between continuity versus change and the balancing act between internationalism versus aloofness. My analysis of Norwegian foreign and security policy will emphasise a strong continuity in position and strategy: while the many upheavals and catastrophes of the 20th century...
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