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Increased military activity in the northern areas increases the risk of crises and conflict

Russia folkerettsstridige anneksjon of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine 18. march 2014 came seemingly surprising in the West, and led immediately to an already strained relationship between the two was further exacerbated.

Columnist Jacob Børresen

is a retired flaggkommandør with a long military career behind him in the Navy. He has been military secretary to the secretary of defense and led international NATO operations. Børresen writes about defence and security policy for the Newspaper.

Last published post, We have to get to the bottom of sinking the Target was regimeskifte NATO is weakened - and it is not caused by Trump How can military leadership take so wrong? Norway must be prepared to do more alone

Since that time, tensions between the parties continued to increase. The EUROPEAN union and the united STATES have imposed economic and political sanctions, NATO has responded to deploy more forces in Russia's near abroad in Europe. Russia, that NATO is militarily inferior, threatening with nuclear weapons.

the united STATES has accused Russia of placing the mellomdistanseraketter in violation of the INF treaty, so that they can threaten targets in Western Europe, and president Trump has announced that the united STATES will withdraw from the agreement.

Moscow has on his side the inconvenience over Nato's rakettskjold in Europe, which they believe is aimed against Russia.

Last turn in spenningsspiralen is Russia's hijacking of the Ukrainian krigsfartøyer 25. november. They had attempted to sail into the Azov sea through the Kertch strait, which Russia after the annexation of Crimea consider Russian.

Ukraine responded by declaring martial law and calling upon help from NATO. The risk that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine increase tensions between NATO and Russia further, and spread, is with it been significantly larger, although I think president Porosjenko can shoot a white arrow after direct military support, intervention from the NATO.

In the bottom of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is Moscow's fear that Kiev will orient themselves towards the west, towards NATO and the EU, and the consequences of that for Russia's access to the Svartehavsflåtens base in Sevastopol, and with it, Russia's security interests in the Caucasus and the middle East.

Svartehavsflåten is Russia's most important maktinstrument in the country's middle East policy, and also essential for the defense of the region which has been termed as "Russia's soft belly". It is about geopolitics.

For the increased excitement between Russia and the West is not only caused by Russia's anneksjon of the Crimea.

One underlying cause is that the balance of power between the united STATES and the Soviet union/Russia, their control over and influence in Europe, which was established after 2. world war with the Jaltaavtalen, was sharply shifted in America's favor after the fall of the Soviet union in 1991.

After an initial tøværsperiode with the sincere hope on the western side that Russia was heading in the democratic direction, and sincerely hope in the Kremlin that Moscow would gain influence in european foreign and security policy, corresponding to Russia's stormaktsstatus, has Russian policy been about systematically to reduce the american, and increase Russian influence in Europe, weaken or divide NATO – so far with little luck.

On Russia f. ex. could get Turkey out of NATO, and over on the Russian side, it would be a tremendous triumph. Nato's control of the Bosphorus would be broken. Russia's access to the Mediterranean sea with kampfartøyer in crisis and war and the nation's ability to prevent us sjøstridskrefter to penetrate into the Black sea would be strengthened.

Events for 2014 is currently only the last act in this drama. In historical context it is fascinating to be witness to what is happening now, not only in Ukraine, but also in the relationship between Russia and Turkey, and Russia's efforts to strengthen its ties to and control over their slavic, orthodox christian brethren in the Balkans.

the Consequences of the Russian expansion and the Turkish decline and vice versa has been a recurring theme in european security policy in over 600 years, and was among other things, it directly led to 1. world war. The geography is constant. Geopolitics is therefore often a recurring theme with variations.

What does it mean for the Uk? in general, the consequences for Norway of that tension between Russia and the West increases, that the conditions for constructive cooperation with the russians on joint interests in the high north is weakened that defence - and security policy interests of the more frequently get the trump trade-, research-, government -, and cultural-political interests.

Increased military activity in the northern areas increases the risk of episodes which can lead to unintended crises and conflict. And break the conflict out in a different location, e.g. in the black sea region, it will, given the Jurisdiction's strategic importance, the very quickly could spread here.

In this situation is the need for tillitsskapende measures have been bigger and not smaller. Avskrekkingslinjen the West, with the united STATES in the lead, and with Norway as the "cleverest girl in the class", has put on is extremely risky.

It is due to the fact that deterrence is a complex concept and such an imprecise instrument. Deterrence is communication. It is about sending signals about commitment and dedication. Signals through the action in as much as with words. The purpose is to block unwanted, and provoke desired behavior from the opposing side.

Then it is a problem that Russia and the West do not relate to each other, but to the (enemy) images they have created of each other. The parties could be misconstrued thus systematic the signals they receive, and the answers they send are not understood by the other party.

Deployment of weapon systems and forces, intended as a defensive measure and a signal to the receiver of concern, affirms the recipient's suspicion of the sender's aggressive intentions, and triggers corrective action from the recipient's side as the sender misinterprets because he had no evil intentions: a classic opptrappingsspiral which often have ended with the armed conflict.

NATO should try to come back to the situation in the first years after the cold war, in the assurance that there is no way for permanent european security and stability without Russia is a part of it.

the Problem is that this is not on the U.s. agenda. Washington considers any Russian success in its new version may come as as a defeat for the U.S., increased Russian influence in Europe as a corresponding weakening of american influence, and it is unacceptable. It is not only in the Kremlin that lies underneath nullsumstenkning.

As a member of NATO , Norway has a seat at the table along with the united STATES and the european powers France, the united Kingdom and Germany.

instead of running for the united STATES should the government use its influence in the alliance to move NATO and the united STATES in a different direction than the konfrontasjonslinjen that now prevails. Help NATO shifts its policies in the direction of greater emphasis on dialogue and reassurance, less emphasis on confrontation and deterrence, in the certainty that NATO is, after all, is the strongest party.

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