German and Norwegian Perspectives on Euro-Atlantic Security
Chapter 13: So Similar, Yet so Different: Explaining Divergence in Nordic Defence Policies
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So Similar, Yet so Different:Explaining Divergence in Nordic Defence Policies
Håkon Lunde Saxi1
When looking comparatively at the Norwegian approach to security challenges, the group of European countries which perhaps most easily lend themselves to comparison are the other Nordic states; Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. After all, the Nordic states are often held to be politically very similar entities, and there is a long tradition for studying them comparatively. The “Nordic model” of liberal democracy is said to include such characteristics as social democratic, consensual, corporative, and welfare state capitalist democracy.2 With the exception of Iceland, which maintains no armed forces, one would therefore also perhaps expect to find something like a “Nordic approach” towards utilising force and employing military power? One way of examining where such a “Nordic approach” exists would be to examine the case of the Nordic response to the 2011 Libyan War.
In February 2011, civil war had broken out in Libya, which soon drew outside intervention. On 17 March 2011, the United Nations (UN) Security Council passed Resolution 1973, which established a no-flight zone over Libya and authorised member states to take “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians. French, British and American air and naval forces began attacking targets in Libya on 19 March, and on 31 March the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) assumed command of the operation to enforce the UN resolution. The ← 257 | 258 → operation continued until 31 October 2011. While ostensibly...
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