Newsletter: NATO in the North: Is the Norwegian Base Policy Outdated?

Jens Stoltenberg

NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in conversation with Harald Stanghelle during the Arendal week. (Photo: Trine Jonassen)


Dear reader. Should NATO establish bases near the Russian border in light of Russia's blatant aggresion? Yes, believes researcher and ex-military. No, says the Conservative Party. We should listen to the latter, believes Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm.

Norsk versjon.

Yours truly have spent the week in Arendal in the south of Norway with large parts of the Norwegian media, politicians, researchers, and the business sector. 

And for the first time in ten years – back then he was the prime minister for the Norwegian red-green majority government – Jens Stoltenberg visited the Arendal Week, now as NATO's Secretary General. 

Stoltenberg was very clear on the role of NATO in Europe's peacetime. But less clear on NATO's new role in a united Nordic region against the border with a belligerent neighbor.

In contrast, both NUPI Researcher Karsten Friis and former Norwegian Army Chief Rune Jakobsen told HNN that Norway must stop being so afraid of provoking Russia and believe we must talk about NATO bases in the north. (Norwegian only) 

However, the gents received a cold shower from the Norwegian Conservative Party. 

Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm also urges caution in this week's commentary: 

"To claim that the Norwegian base policy has been at a standstill the past years is to overlook that the High North is under constant allied military presence. We should listen to the Conservative's Hårek Elvenes before we draw new conclusions," believes Holm. 

And Norway is steering towards new outsiderness if we are to believe the leader of the Norwegian Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Because with Sweden and Finland in NATO, Norway and Iceland will be the only two of the five Nordic NATO countries not to be EU members as well. Something that could have unexpected consequences for Norway.

Now, it has also been made clear that Ukraine is moving towards a possible NATO membership as soon as the war is over. 

And the military forces are not having lazy days while the Chief is in Arendal.

Since the beginning of August, a response force of the US Marine Corps has been training with Norwegian and Italian forces in inner Troms in Northern Norway. (Norwegian only) 

The Chief of the Norwegian Air Force Initiates Arctic Air Operations Center. 

"The idea of a Nordic air operations center has been very well received, and we are now looking toward such a center in an Arctic format," says the Chief of the Norwegian Air Force to HNNs Hilde-Gunn Bye. 

From Russia 

A looming tanker war in the Black Sea as part of the larger Ukraine conflict could elevate the strategic importance of Russia’s Northern Sea Route, experts say to HNN. 

Read about this and more at High North News. Remember to follow us on social media and feel free to participate in the debate. 

Wishing you all the best for the weekend,

Trine Jonassen, News Editor

HNN's Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen has translated this newsletter.