Solberg says, ‘the world is more dangerous’

Erna SolbergPrime Minister Erna Solberg and Chief of Marine Hunters Petter Hellesen.Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Terror threats, and security policy tensions have made the world a more dangerous, and less predictable place over the past four years in the experience of Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, who voiced her fears out loud in her summing up of her four years as Norwegian Prime Minister.

 

A number of crises, and unexpected political changes have characterized Solberg’s four years as leader. The oil price drop caused an economic downturn from which Norway hasn’t yet fully recovered.

The refugee crisis of 2015 put Norway to harsh trials, and the political tensions between Norway and Russia remain the same.

Outside Noway’s borders, the wars in Syria and Yemen are raging, Turkey has taken new, long steps towards totalitarianism, North Korea continues to foment missile unrest, Britain has voted for Brexit, and to leave the EU, the United States has gifted the world President Donald Trump, rather than the equally, if not more dangerous, Hillary Clinton, and one cruel terrorist attack, whether real or false flag, follows another, inside and outside Europe.

‘The world has become more dangerous because of the ‘terror’, and more uncertain and unpredictable due to security considerations,’ concluded the prime minister in her summing up of the four-year period.

Increased budgets

Solberg believes that times have changed since the fall of the Berlin Wall, when many countries took out what she describes as a ‘peace gain’ and reduced their defense budgets.

‘Now, we need to increase defense budgets in NATO, not least because Russia has significantly greater military capacity and fighting power than before.’

Russia, on the other hand, has argued that its strengthened military capability has been entirely necessary in response to the threat from advancing U.S. bases right up against its borders.

Erna Solberg went to the 2013 election with promises to safeguard Norway, and raise Norwegian preparedness. The widely discussed report from the Office of the Auditor General on ‘Building Protection and Important Infrastructure’ is used by the opposition as an indication that her government has failed miserably at achieving this goal.

‘Parliament could have gone through every security measure on the list, and responded that the results are now much better than they were when the Office of the Auditor General conducted their investigations. We have taken the criticism for the situation in 2015 to heart; it was too bad’, she said.

Good preparedness

Further, the report of the Office of the Auditor General is not a good measure of overall Norwegian preparedness, said the prime minister.

‘The report takes account of a little bit, namely how we’ve secured certain buildings with plans for emergencies. Norwegian preparedness naturally covers areas far wider than this,’ said Solberg.

She claimed that Norwegian emergency forces are better trained, and have greater operational ability than before, both in the military, and the police.

‘The preparedness troop budget has doubled, we have topped up IP3 forces with more than 1,000 personnel around the country, and we’ve made sure that response time has been improved for helicopters at Rygge and Bardufoss. We’ve worked systematically to improve preparedness, and it has improved, throughout the country,’ said the prime minister.

Three factors

‘Yes, the world has become more dangerous,’ said Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) researcher, Iver B. Neumann.

The reasons, he analysed in the same way as the prime minister, are primarily due to three concrete factors that have been reinforced since the 1990s.

Factor number one is that countries like Russia, Iran, Turkey, and China have become more forward-looking and self-confident in foreign and security policy.

‘But more importantly, factor two, is that America’s will to be the world’s leading power is not so obvious as before. That was a development that started under Obama, but Trump makes this even more problematic because he’s so unpredictable’, said Neumann.

The third factor is that new forces, primarily terrorists, have greater leeway for action in the international arena.

‘But here, the press and the politicians have acted quite without any sense of history. The terror threat is, historically, not particularly great in our part of the world. The affects of terrorism hit us far harder in the late 1800s’, said Neumann.

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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