26?

Following on a bit from Scott’s post below, here’s an interesting EU-related development following the US elections (via Blood and Treasure):

The reelection of US President George W. Bush could push Norway closer to joining the European Union, Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik said on Wednesday.

“If the distance expands between the two sides of the Atlantic I think that many people in Europe, including myself, will see a need for a closer foreign policy and security cooperation” between European countries, said Bondevik, who figured prominently in the “No” camp when Norway rejected EU membership in a 1994 referendum.

That was the second time Norway, a NATO member, rejected joining the Union after a first referendum in 1972.

“This debate (about Norway joining the EU) could be introduced if the US continues to pursue a policy in which little importance is given to its alliance with Europe,” he told Norwegian public television station NRK.

22 thoughts on “26?

  1. Norway is already in the Schengen treaty, and Switzerland has applied to it too, so effectively Norway is mostly in te EU, except they don’t get heard on what get into the “acquis communautaire”.

    DSW

  2. Well, it looks to me like they’ve been “about to join” for somewhere around four decades by now, so don’t expect too much.

  3. “This debate (about Norway joining the EU) could be introduced if the US continues to pursue a policy in which little importance is given to its alliance with Europe”

    I’ve always wondered if I would see a day where Europe pursued a policy in which it gave more than little importance to its alliance with the US.

  4. I’ve often wondered the same thing myself, Sebastian. Not that I’d ever imagine European nations would think the US important enough to, say, place their militaries under an integrated NATO command structure with those of the US or anything. But surely there could be some more modest showing of more than a little interest.

  5. place their militaries under an integrated NATO command structure with those of the US or anything

    The US itself would not put up with a joint command and putting European troops under foreign control without reciprocity is unacceptable.

  6. “[…]
    The US itself would not put up with a joint command and putting European troops under foreign control without reciprocity is unacceptable.”

    Are you aware that what Mrs Tilton is saying as an hypothetical is the actuality?

    DSW

  7. Are you aware that what Mrs Tilton is saying as an hypothetical is the actuality?

    Yes, within NATO in Europe. In other words, exactly in the area where the chance of actual war is essentially nil.

  8. “[…]the chance of actual war is essentially nil.”

    In this moment it may be so, it was not as evident during the years from 1960 to 1989.

    DSW

  9. In this moment it may be so, it was not as evident during the years from 1960 to 1989.

    Absolutely. Fear is an excellent motivator. I am all in favor of errecting a Ronald-Reagan-Memorial in Berlin, but the past is past and the Cold War over.

  10. If Europe had an opinion the USA might listen to it.

    As those in Europe who are not real allies of the US see their role as mainly carping about anything the USA does, I don’t think any US President will ever give them much thought. Kerry would have been less obvious but the underlying policy would not have changed.

  11. Wow. Norway threatens to join the EU, should the US not pay attention to it.

    That sure should get Washington trembling.

    I’m sure Nowheregians will enjoy subsidizing the budget deficits of Germany and France. After all, Norway is the most affluent welfare state in Europe, and it’s only fair that others get to enjoy their oil wealth.

    But, seriously, it seems that Bondevik is firing some kind of salvo across the bow of the far-right. As I understand it, the pro-US, anti-EU Progress Party over there is making advances in the polls.

  12. The problem with the NATO command response, is that the NATO command was formed to deal with a case when Europe was directly threatened and absolutely needed US military might to help against that threat. So of course Europe was willing to play along with that. They were getting at least equal out of the deal.

    The question is whether or not Europe cares about the US-European alliance when Europe is not directly threatened. The question is whether or not Europe wants to substantially help the US out if the US is the one threatened.

  13. The question is whether or not Europe wants to substantially help the US out if the US is the one threatened.

    Like Germany having substantial number of troops in Afganistan as a direct result of 9/11. Or, NATO offering to invoke Article five offering the full might (as limited as Sebastian thinks it is) of Europe’s military to protect the US. The first and only time this has ever happened in history.

    This is another example of black and white thinking. Most people in Europe thought, and even more now think, that invading Iraq was a bad idea. This is not because anybody liked Saddam but because their internal cost – benefit meters said: cost too high, benefits better obtained another way. Translation into American good-&-evil-speak: Europeans not prepared to honour treaty obligations / Europeans only looking out for themselves.

    Einstein, who appropriately had a foot in both continents, commented that things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. At the moment, this rule seems to be being broken quite frequently.

  14. Europeans not prepared to honour treaty obligations / Europeans only looking out for themselves.

    I wish the latter were true. The road to hell is plastered with good intentions.
    To me to war against Iraq was not a treaty obligation. Does anybody claim that Iraq attacked the US? Whether it was a threat worth taking out is another question, which the US has answered by making facts on the ground. In last consequence the US must decide what it considers vital to its interests. Europe is free to disagree.
    However not only did some Europeans states not only disagree and refused to take part in that war, but Germany and France actively worked to undermine the American position by lobbying members of the security council from Africa and South America. That wasn’t wise and not a behavior fitting for allies.

  15. Firstly, spending political capital on an endeavour that was bound to fail was stupid. There was a certain gain in image in some parts of the world, but image is ephemeral.

    Secondly, the US did not demand that Europe take part in the war. The asked more strongly than appropriate, but they asked. NATO is an alliance, nothing more. Its members promise to defend each other and to practice benevolent neutrality. The latter is needed in any alliance.

  16. Oliver, if you had a wooden house next to a forest, would you mind it if I choose to put fires in this forest?

    DSW

  17. A better analogy would be if the forest was already on fire, would you let other people try to put it out or would you oppose any such action in the belief that it would cause the fire to concentrate on you…

  18. Which fire that was not already contained? What the USA has done is rather to pour fuel on them !

    DSW

  19. Oliver, if you had a wooden house next to a forest, would you mind it if I choose to put fires in this forest?

    I wouldn’t like you to do that. But if I can’t prevent you, I’ll better buy a firehose and cut trees around my house than waste my time.
    Especially if I need your bulldozer to create a firebreak.

    And even that depends. I might approve you starting a controlled fire now rather than wait for the conflagration next year. And even if I don’t think so, what am I to do if it’s your forest? Sue you?

  20. Nice to see that the USA believe that Iraq is theirs to do as they please. No mr. Oliver, the forest is neither mine nor yours to do as anyone please. And before the USA blunder, to be polite, the situation was essentially controlled. It is the USA that have poured fuel in the forest, and then invited pyromanes there. The USA knew beyond any doubt that Saddam Hussein was as controlled as Islam Karimov, or Hamid Karzai. Their purpose is to harm Europe by creating problems where there were none. And since we have seen that the USA has no problem in branding illiterate 14 years old children as dangerous international terrorists, it is criminal negligence to accord any presumption of innocence to any part of the USA.

    DSW

  21. Presumption of innocence?

    I presume the worst about the US, or rather I do not think in legal categories at all. I would consider doing that very foolish.
    The US has taken Iraq and its power is large enough to keep it, albeit with difficulties. That the US has this ability has been obvious for years and it’s equally obvious that this situation will not change for the next ten years at least. We in Europe have been foolish enough to let it come to that to the current extent, but the damage is done.

    The US will do what it considers its national interest, what happens to Europe is secondary. We can discuss for a long time whether the US has recognised its national interest correctly, but as the US has already acted, I see no point in that.
    If you wish to stay in the analogy, we cannot refuse to fight the fire because we didn’t start it.

    What we can do is discuss what Europe should do and how it wants to position itself in the world. This is quite complicated as Europe is not a nation, thus strictly speaking has no national interest. If we come to the conclusion that the European interest is in conflict with the US, this has grave consequences. Morals play no part in that.

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