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LOW VOLTAGE: The High North is APS '«most important peace project», at the same time the defense budget will be increased, NATO strengthened and the arms industry safeguarded

(PS. This article is machine-translated from Norwegian)

For the Labor Party, peace policy is linked to the concept of solidarity – in the traditional social democratic way. The Labor Party's election program for 2021–2025 begins with the statement that solidarity means taking care of each other, and that solidarity creates peace.

This program is clear that Norway should support the international legal order to prevent war, and that the party wants to contribute to low tensions in the North – the election program's most important peace project "concerns the High North. In this, the Labor Party places increased emphasis on security policy dialogue with Russia, and people-to-people cooperation – but also "to focus on a strong defense with a focus on the north". The program is then also generally positive about the military defense of Norway. The Labor Party is a defense party that goes to the polls to increase defense budgets, strengthen NATO and safeguard the interests of the arms industry. The arms industry is mentioned exclusively in positive terms in this program. This at the same time as the same program recognizes that the risk of arms races is increasing.

On the other hand, the program advocates increasing Norway's efforts in conflict resolution diplomacy and reconciliation work. The program also addresses the need for international regulation of autonomous weapons, renewed efforts to combat the proliferation of nuclear weapons and that NATO should agree to introduce end-user declaration requirements for all exports of munitions. The program does not unequivocally advocate raising the threshold for the use of military force, but proposes a fixed practice for evaluating Norwegian military foreign missions in retrospect.

In this analysis, it is also worth noting what the Labor Party does not say about peace in its program. For example, development aid policy is well covered, but then completely without peace policy argumentation. The program highlights five priority focus areas for the Labor Party's development policy. Peace is described here neither as an objective for the development one wishes to assist, nor as a tool for achieving such development. Similarly, it is argued that the community's research funding must go to the areas where society has the greatest need. Many socially beneficial topics are also mentioned, but none of these have anything to do with peace. With the honorable exception of the MDGs, none of the other election programs prioritize increased research efforts for peace, or to minimize the risk of war.

Like all other election programs, the party's program distances itself from discrimination, violent crime and bullying. In some areas, the Labor Party also promotes policies to prevent this. However, the promotion of non-violent conflict management is not pervasive in this program.

Alexander Harang
Harang is the editor of "Fredsnasjonen", the magazine MODERN TIMES published in the summer of 2021.
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