German and Norwegian Perspectives on Euro-Atlantic Security
Chapter 10: Norway and NATO: The Art of Balancing
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Norway and NATO: The Art of Balancing
Paal Sigurd Hilde and Helene Forsland Widerberg
The claim that NATO is the cornerstone of Norwegian security policy may easily be found in official Norwegian documents. NATO significance for Norway is highlighted both by its non-membership in the EU, and, more importantly, by the traditional affinity with the United States found in Norway in general, and in the Norwegian security policy establishment in particular. To a large extent, NATO is and has always been a multilateral framework for bilateral relations with the USA; a claim that holds true for many European NATO members. Given Norway’s reliance on NATO, the country has often taken an activist line in its NATO policy. At times, this activism has gained Norway an influence that exceeds its relative size among allies. At times, it has evoked opposition and frustration in allied capitals.1
The aim of this chapter is twofold. First, it aims to analyse Norwegian policy – Norway’s intricate balancing – towards and within NATO since the Cold War. Particular emphasis is placed on the period since 2007. Second, by doing so, the chapter will allow for a brief, concluding analysis of what the Norwegian case may tell us about smaller states within an Alliance like NATO.
Norwegian NATO policy has its origin both in deeper, cultural and ideological factors, and more importantly in the perceived geopolitical exposedness of Norway in the European Arctic, what the Norwegians call the High North. The...
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