A look into what Joe Biden’s ascension to the US presidency in 2021 will mean for Norway.
Before Joe Biden and Kamala Harris‘ win was confirmed by official sources, we explored what the US presidential election of 2020 might mean for Norway.
We covered the Biden/Harris win, and Erna Solberg‘s initial reaction, here.
Now, we’ve spoken to Dr. Scott Gates, US-born political scientist and economist currently based in Norway. Dr. Gates holds degrees in political science and anthropology (BA) from the University of Minnesota, political science (MA) from the University of Michigan, applied economics (MSc) from the University of Minnesota, and political science (PhD) from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Gates is a professor at the University of Oslo‘s Department of Political Science, and professor and former director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)’s Center for the Study of Civil War (CSCW). He has also held positions at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Michigan State University (MSU).
A Trump presidency vs. a Biden presidency
On whether there will be differences in effect on Norway between the two politicians’ presidencies, Dr. Gates comments, “Yes. Considerable differences.
“What we have seen from Trump the last few years would be nothing compared to what he would have done had he been reelected.
“A Biden presidency will be distinct from Trump’s last four years, but the difference between a 2nd term for Trump and Biden is absolutely huge.”
As for public discourse and concern in Norway about the US election results, Dr. Gates notes that there is “More concern over Trump’s unwillingness to acknowledge his loss.”
In the US, public discourse over the presidency turned to violence in some cases. In Norway, Dr. Gates says, “Fortunately, the unrest has been limited.
“Some actors of bad faith have tried to provoke violence, but for the most part, they have been unsuccessful. Violence has been minimal and I am very much relieved.”
On mutual interest between the US and Norway in each other’s politics, Dr. Gates comments, “I am afraid that the relationship is asymmetric.
“The US has more of an impact on Norway than Norway has on the US.
“Interest reflects this asymmetry.”
Trump vs. Biden effects on international relations
“Norway has managed relations with Trump extremely well.
“Stoltenburg‘s role at NATO has been exemplary. Solberg has also handled her relationship with Trump extremely well, especially with regard to security policy and coordination.
“Nevertheless, Trump’s attacks on international institutions have definitely run counter to Norway’s orientation to being an active facilitator of the international order.
“Trump’s cutting the funding of WHO is particularly problematic.
“A Biden presidency will focus on promoting the international order much in the manner that Norway desires. WHO funding is expected to be restored. The Paris Agreement is likely to receive support once again from the US.”
Security, climate change, and conflict
“US-Norway security policy has gone well. I anticipate no change with a Biden presidency.
“Climate and promotion of international institutions relations with Norway shall improve enormously with Biden.
“Conflict is more interesting. Trump has started no wars and has reduced US troop presence in many parts of the world.
“The Socialist Left Party of Norway would like to see the demise of NATO, but the present government would not. The budgetary costs of re-establishing European security without the US would be high. The danger of the US leaving NATO under Biden are low, but under Trump they were high.”
Governmental differences: Norway’s multiparty system and the US duopoly
“Actually I have heard on many occasions Norwegians complain about all of the small parties in Norway. Indeed, some would prefer a duopoly of the Conservative Party (Høyre) and the Labor Party (AP).
“I suspect that is not a majority view – certainly not for the supporters of the Socialist Left Party of Norway (SV), the Liberal Party (Venstre), the Christian Democratic Party (KFP), or the Center Party (SP).
“Duverger’s Law states that majoritarian systems will tend towards two-party systems with both parties moving to the center.
“Assuming a unimodal normal distribution of political attitudes, this makes sense. Clearly, though, the US is not unimodal but is bimodal or maybe even trimodal with the node of the right moving increasingly rightward.
“Whether the public is leading the Republicans or if the party is leading the voters is being hotly debated.
“The left-wing of the Democrats has grown too, but the moderate wing from which Biden and Harris come controls the party.
“If the US had a proportional system, instead of a majoritarian system, there would conceivably be a Religious Conservative Party, a Business/Security Party, a moderate Liberal Party, a Social Democratic/Green Party. There might also be an African-American Party, a Latino Party, and LGBT Party.
“The Republicans are currently a coalition of religious conservatives, business interests, and security hawks. The Democrats are a coalition of Union members, liberals, greens, identity politics (Blacks, Latinos, LBGT, etc.), leftists (a quickly growing group that has historically been tiny in the US).”
What are your thoughts on US-Norway relations? Let us know in the comments.
Source: Norway Today