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A "close, close and good relationship with the United States"?

Last week, the newly appointed Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre went out against parts of the SV party program. Berge Furre thinks that Støre's US-friendly doctor resembles Jan Petersens and is unlucky for the new red-green government.


"A close, close and good relationship with the United States" warns Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre in Ny Tid in one of his first interviews on Norwegian foreign policy. .

I was very surprised by the word choice. Can the Foreign Minister really choose such words now? Can a relationship be "close, close and good" to a superpower that is waging a war of aggression – a war these people were and are against? Should this be a bottom line in Norwegian foreign policy?

Admittedly, the Foreign Minister adds a "as to all other countries". But the United States is not just any country. The wording is similar to Jan Petersen's.

And the wording goes sharply across the attitudes a broad peace movement has shown in this country by taking to the streets in the largest political demonstration we have seen in decades – a movement that forced Norway out of a war as conservative forces in that government enough would have liked to have. And a movement that left some of the planks under it says that provided us with a political shift. For them, such an expression must feel rather distant and rather provocative: A "close, close and good relationship" with a superpower in war!

Foreign Minister Gahr Støre's words were not lucky. I can not see that such wording is based on phrases from Soria Moria. There is nothing explicit about the United States. But there are a number of statements that mark a completely different course internationally than the one currently pursued by the United States. "It is in Norway's interest that we have a UN-led world order and not a situation where nations take action on their own… .. Norway will be a driving force in the UN's work for common standards in important areas and the UN's work for further development of international law . ”

Soria Moria question

When it comes to developing the UN and international law, it is a fact that one encounters the United States as an obstacle – whether it concerns environmental conventions or the International Criminal Court. The United States is no driving force in these matters. On the contrary. – the United States seeks to promote interests across the UN and international law.

The Soria Moria phrase states that Norwegian foreign policy must be fixed when it comes to membership in NATO. It was one of the sacrifices SV made on the altar of cooperation. Within NATO, Norway and the United States are allies. There was a normal and correct relationship with the superpower within the alliance. But it is not the same as proclaiming in this situation a "close, close and good" relationship with the United States.

On the contrary, several parties within the red-green color spectrum have said that we will now have a government that shows stronger independence from the United States. The Prime Minister's telephone conversation with President Georg W Bush – about the withdrawal of Norwegian officers from Iraq – was interpreted as a mark of just that.

It is a reality that when the Norwegian government strengthens and develops its efforts for a more equitable distribution of power and resources in the world, a stronger solidarity with countries in the third world that succeed in breaking the neoliberal wave that is still going over the world , Norway will meet the United States with many other economic and political interests.

Perhaps the foreign minister chose the unfortunate wording as a kind of counterpart to the wording from the SV national assembly that "the United States is the biggest threat to world peace". The national meeting wording was certainly not the best. But the Secretary of State must understand that such a formulation can force itself on a national assembly in resentment over the United States' role today as the most powerful military power in history and as a peacemaker. And that the United States' bloody power game in the Middle East can trigger more wars with consequences we have no idea. There is no point in pretending that the United States does not bring peace to the world. They have already shown that they do it – for everyone who wants to see.

No decent uncle

Norway's affiliation with the United States has – as the Foreign Minister says – many sides and deep traditions. Most of us have relatives "over there". And there is much to be gained from American culture and social life. Sure there is. We who may once "hate America" ​​during the Vietnam War have put it behind us. "Anti-Americanism" is a word with a meaningless meaning. And we know that there is another America – without Bush. Of course it does.

But the United States is not a decent uncle. One should not stay much outside Western Europe, for example in Latin America, until one senses the fear the United States has created with its military dictatorship, its weapons supplies, its CIA agents, its coups against democratic regimes – its Monroe doctrine of the United States " right ”to rule in the Latin American“ backyard ”. Politicians from that part of the world meet US envoys – with their fists clenched in their pockets. They know where the power lies and have to bow to it.

It seems that the United States has acquired a kind of historic right to place military forces all over the globe. No other power after the fall of the British Empire has dared to do such a thing. We easily forget this network of armed bazaars – which exert their political pressure almost everywhere. But it's there all the time – a global military activity without a trace. Venezuela was the last country to experience the embassy's involvement in a coup – which did not actually succeed.

Need markings

Jonas Gahr Støre points to his intense discussions with American friends. I have enjoyed such conversations. This is what we want. The dialogue must and must be there – at the private level and at the political level. But we must know that behind the easy-going leaps of thought lies a superpower's military leap, political hegemony and economic means of promoting the neoliberal ideology and US interests. .

Jonas Gahr Støre does not want a "demonstration policy", he says. No, very few people want it. But he adds that "the requirement for Norwegian marking vis-à-vis the United States is easy." I think we need markings – against the pressure the United States exerts politically and economically in the world. It is about political independence for our country – and other countries ..

The United States is the heaviest political and military reality in the world today. When the United States is not mentioned in a word in the Soria Moria phrase, it is not accidental, I think. Within the Labor Party in the older generation, there is an American-friendly tradition from the year of the war – which probably stays dormant as the United States currently does in the Middle East.

SV also has its strong legacy of experience when it comes to the United States in world politics. It is necessary today – and it will be necessary in the future – to balance such traditions and interests within the policy pursued by the government.

Not a lucky word choice

Most people in this country greet a new government with excitement, joy and anticipation. We hope and expect that Norway is at a historic turning point. Augo is aimed at this government – from people and movements in other countries – and here at home. Many have particularly high expectations of a foreign policy with new features.

It is to be hoped that Jonas Gahr Støre will give foreign policy a clear dynamic profile for peace, a contribution to a safer value with greater justice – that we will experience steps that point to "another value is possible".

Why then stick with three little words? Because they can symbolize softness and interpretation and bind in a certain way. It is a case that this government does not abide in the course it is laying down.

We hope and believe in trust – but we do not believe that "a close, close and good relationship with the United States" can be the reasonable starting point.

The Foreign Minister's word choice is not fortunate in this way. For the red-green alliance should be long!






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