We need a new and independent foreign policy

I think is obvious to everyone that the world is changing fast. In Europe and the USA we witness the intensification of right-wing populists, the differences between ordinary people and those who have money and power, are growing. Lately there have been many terrorist attacks in the middle East, and Europe.

The war in Syria continues, Turkey is our NATO ally, is moving toward dictatorship. We also see that China and Asia are ready to challenge the economic dominance of the United States. We are moving to a world in which the US already does not occupy such a leading position as before. And in this troubled world country, which should be the guarantor of our security, manages the Donald trump.

Stupid policy

At such development of a situation we can respond in two ways. We can pretend that the world does not change, continue as before and hope that “itself will pass”. To be satisfied with what Donald trump is our plan A, b and C. this Is the strategy of the government.

During this period, neither the foreign Minister nor the Minister of defence did not make any independent steps in foreign policy. The government has led to the emergence of ambiguities around the base of Norwegian policy and placed in Varese (Værnes) American soldiers, despite the fact that it leads to growth of tension in relations with Russia. The government is studying the question about Norwegian participation in the “nuclear shield” of NATO, although most experts agree that it is ineffective and can lead to an arms race.

The Norwegian government sends soldiers to participate in the actions of the us coalition in Iraq and Syria, though Norway much more would benefit if it strengthened our humanitarian contribution to the region and contribute to finding a political solution. The government is spending 270 billion for fighter planes and building up its armed forces, more focused on combat operations abroad than on the defense of Norway. The government voted against the proposals on the cessation of arms exports to repressive dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia.

And yet the government prefers to side with the US and the nuclear powers, instead of together with Sweden and NATO member the Netherlands the lead in the UN negotiations on banning nuclear weapons. The government conducts foreign policy on autopilot, refusing to take control into their own hands. This is silly and not too focused on the future. The government thinks in patterns, although the time is now urgently requires new thinking.

Norwegian forces to withdraw from Syria!

Needless to say, we want Norway had alternatively a private, progressive and independent foreign policy. Foreign policy, the purpose of which would be peace and disarmament, not a desire to always do what the US wants. It would be reasonable, responsible and would be in the interests of Norway. In the short term an independent foreign policy that would include a number of specific measures we can take immediately. In particular:

• To withdraw from Syria and Iraq Norwegian forces participating in US-led operations.

• To participate in the negotiations on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, what he wants, according to a recent poll, the vast majority of the Norwegian population.

• Send American soldiers of Vernesa home.

• To say “no” to the Norwegian participation in the NATO “missile shield”.

In the future, we also need to look for alternatives to U.S. security policy and to think in new ways in our national defense policy. A long-term plan of Armed forces involves the army, focused on serving NATO to conduct military operations abroad. I think instead we ought to dare to reduce the number of combat aircraft and reallocate the money for the benefit of our own national defence to maintain readiness and presence in Northern Norway.

And we should develop military cooperation in the European North. When security guarantees from the United States have become increasingly fuzzy, we should strengthen our ties with Nordic countries, our closest allies and in terms of geography and in terms of values.

The fact that the government has announced that it will pay more attention to the defense cooperation between the countries of the European North — positively, but we must not be afraid to be more ambitious. Thorvald Stoltenberg (Thorvald Stoltenberg) in 2009 developed a specific plan of intensification of cooperation in the European North in the sphere of defense. And this plan must be followed. Experts in the field of security of the countries of the European North stress that such cooperation opens up significant opportunities. And, together, the Northern Europe will have a real military force. All the Nordic countries military aircraft more than Britain, more tanks than France, and three times more guns than any European country.

The government hides its head in the sand

The problem with current government is that it refuses to discuss foreign policy. Yes, they are afraid to think in new ways. They are not only against what we offer, they don’t even want to discuss how effective is actually what we are doing today. When the socialist left party has proposed to assess the war in Libya, the government first voted against it. When the socialist left party proposed to evaluate our policies in Israel and Palestine, the government voted against it.

When the socialist left party has proposed that plans for participation in hostilities was discussed at public meetings of the Storting and thus would have had under a democratic framework, the government was against. And when the Commission appointed by the government, conducted an evaluation of the Norwegian contribution to military action in Afghanistan and came to the conclusion that the only thing we have achieved after 15 years of warfare, is that we become a good ally of the United States, it has not had any effect. The government, as before, is to send soldiers to war abroad. The government thinks best in a changing world — it’s just silent.

In the NRK TV debate a few weeks ago, the Minister of defense accused the Socialist left party is that party presentation on foreign and defense policy is far from reality. It’s a strong word, considering that this was said by the member of a government that wants to take care of security, making in a changing world, everything is as before. This is the traditional thinking of the government is far from reality.

They quite seriously believe that we should not look for alternatives, even when all the experts point out that U.S. influence is weakening.

We are not saying that we have all the answers to the question of how we can create a world in which peace and disarmament, not war and arms race.

But we have the courage to think in new ways, while the government hides its head in the sand.

Audun Lysbakken (Audun Lysbakken) — Chairman of the Socialist left party of Norway