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What did Kristin really say?

Kristin Halvorsen's foreign policy speech two weeks ago was about much more than the United States. Mostly it was about Norwegian self-interest.


Party leader Kristin Halvorsen's foreign policy speech at the Norwegian Foreign Policy Institute on Tuesday, August 23, the last week leading up to the election has led to unrest within the SV.

And that may not be so strange. An alternative foreign policy has always been important in SV environments, ever since the party was formed as a protest against the Labor Party's embrace of NATO and the military alliance's nuclear policy.

When the media refer to Halvorsen in his speech that the Swedish government wants to ensure that Norway and the United States are close partners, then there is a short way that an impression of the approach to Aps foreign policy and logging for Bush.

But what did Kristin Halvorsen really say in her foreign policy speech? Is the party sliding into APS's established foreign policy? Or does the SV retain its foreign policy character?

A few days before the election, it may be appropriate to go a little closer through the party leader's speech at NUPI.

Goodbye to an era

Halvorsen's speech – entitled "New foreign policy" – will be 25 pages long when printed from SV's website. Initially, there is at least no doubt that SV's leader believes that the party is facing a new era.

With background in attendance at this summer's funerals for SV's two chieftains, Hanna Kvanmo and Finn Gustavsen, she reflects on SV's history and origins; on the third position, on resistance to nuclear weapons, on aversion to power abuses from both the United States and the Soviet Union, and on blockchain independence.

SF and SV were an important counterbalance to the Cold War's alignment, she states. But, then there comes a motto, expressed in the speech:

"But when we said goodbye to two great people, we all who participated strongly felt that we also said goodbye to a historic era."

This feeling was reinforced by none other than the Labor Party's own giant, Haakon Lie, just a week after Finn Gustavsen's death.

"Haakon Lie has spent a large part of his life fighting Finn and the rest of us on the left. But what did he say now? Government cooperation between SV and the Labor Party has his full support. "

For now, NATO is no longer an obstacle, Halvorsen states.

"And then he added, it's quite impressive how precisely a man who turns one hundred in a month follows, that some now see NATO as a forum to prevent the Bush administration from operating once in the world."

New and radical

According to Halvorsen, a clearer picture that the situation is new is hardly conceivable. Consequently, the SV leader believes that Kjell Magne Bondevik and Jan Petersen's call that foreign policy "must be fixed" is meaningless. On the contrary:

"Norway's foreign policy must be dynamic – simply because the world is changing much faster than before."

And it must not just be dynamic; in his speech, Halvorsen announces that there is a great deal of room for a "new and radical foreign policy".

No sooner has she said this until she has also reassured her with the following:

"But it will also be a policy that has the majority of the people behind it and creates security. It does not help to be right in a case that SV had almost thirty years ago when it came to Loran C, if most people feel insecure. "


Kristin Halvorsen's foreign policy speech addresses four main areas. But before she gets into these, she dwells on the classic contradiction in foreign policy between idealists and realists.

In today's situation, she says, this is a false conflict; self-interest and solidarity can go hand in hand.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Norwegian interests are high in the SV leader's vision of a new foreign policy:

"Norwegian foreign policy must be a tool for defending classic Norwegian self-interests – security policy, economic and others."

At the same time, SV will also emphasize international solidarity.

"But we will resolutely maintain that everything we do for the sake of our ideals of solidarity and justice is also in our own interest."

Better environment, less poverty, more justice, more equality and more peace are in fact "in our deepest self-interest":

“By helping others, we help ourselves. Solidarity is not in conflict with self-interest. International solidarity is a declared self-interest in the 21st century. ”

Foreign Job Number One

The description of the differences between the Labor Party, the Socialist People's Party and the Socialist People's Party is very brief: “We do not agree on everything, but I think the processes between us have shown that we agree on much more than we thought and very much more than what the media gives the impression of."

And this is all that is said about the former mainstay of SV's foreign policy: "SV is against NATO, but no one has demanded that we let the NATO issue stand in the way of government participation."

What the three parties have agreed on is summarized by Halvorsen in four points. At the top, the northern regions are ranked:

"Claiming sovereignty in the High North and safeguarding Norwegian economic, environmental and security policy interests in the North will be the number one foreign job for a red-green government."

Nothing less than job number one, that is. Again, self-interest is controlling:

"Norway must become far better at helping other countries to take positions that are advantageous to Norway as much as possible."

Our interests are in everyone's interest: “Norway currently occupies several positions in the High North that do not have broad international acceptance. If we are to get other countries to join our views or find compromises that are in everyone's interest, Norway must put far greater effort into safeguarding our interests in the north. ”

Military escalation

In her speech, Kristin Halvorsen outlines five points on how Norwegian interests in the northern areas can be better safeguarded.

First, we must "define the High North as Norway's main strategic interest". This means that the High North is not a narrow foreign policy and that it cannot be handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs alone. Instead, the Prime Minister needs far more on the field than now, and a wide range of professionals and politicians must be engaged.

Secondly, the SV leader points out the importance of High North dialogues with all the most important states that have interests in the High North. These will be provided with "increased knowledge of Norwegian assessments and Norwegian interests".

Thirdly, Halvorsen wants great emphasis to be placed on creating positive personal interest in the High North with key heads of state: “Great emphasis will be placed on inviting heads of state and opinion leaders to visit the High North and experience the unique nature and get to know the important issues. ”

Fourthly, "presence and assertion of sovereignty in the north will be a major security policy task". This means a Norwegian escalation of our military presence: “The Coast Guard must be strengthened. The navy must have the resources to sail all year round. ”

And lastly, "but not least", SV will focus on building a far more comprehensive cooperation with Russia: "Our two countries have many overlapping interests in the area and you can only achieve a sound utilization of resources in the Barents Sea if Norway and Russia work closely together. ”

Dark clouds

This is not a simple matter, some "dark clouds on the horizon" threaten:

"Russia does not agree with Norwegian Svalbard policy. Circles in Russia are concerned about the American presence in northern Norway. We do not always agree on fisheries issues or environmental management. And over time, it is not a good situation for a small country like Norway that something as important as the gray zone is still unclear in relation to a great power. ”

Halvorsen believes that it is important that relations with Russia must be based on trust: “In Moscow, many have a feeling that the United States, the West and NATO are advancing their positions and calling in Russia, for example through the events in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan and NATO. extension. We in Norway are happy to tell the Russians time and time again about our noble intentions, but what matters to the Russians is our actions. ”

In order to improve confidence, the SV leader takes the floor for increased trade with Russia, openness of security policy relations between Norway and Russia, and increased military cooperation:

"Here I have great faith in concrete confidence-building measures such as increased practical cooperation between the Norwegian and Russian military (…)"

Peace and Atonement

According to Halvorsen, the second main focus area for a new government will be Norway's international work for peace and reconciliation.

The SV leader's description of this area spans everything from Norway's role as international conflict resolver and peace mediator, through Norway's efforts to uphold the Geneva Convention and other agreements protecting civilians in war, to security policy, terrorism and the relationship Norway has with the UN, NATO and not least the United States.

In Halvorsen's eyes, a strongly intensified peace effort is “an area where SV in a red-green government will continue the party's best historical traditions. (…) Peace is by far the very backbone of a typical SV. This entrenched commitment will be an enormous strength also as Norway's foreign policy ”.

Again, these are also self-interests:

“Almost all long-term threats to Norway are global in nature. This applies to international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, ethnic hatred, environmental or economic collapse, large refugee flows. By contributing to peace mediation in the Middle East or Sudan, the Philippines or Sri Lanka, we secure ourselves while showing solidarity. ”

Into enclosed rooms

In addition, peace mediation can give Norway greater weight in the international community:

“Conflict resolution assignments give Norwegian leaders unique opportunities to build personal networks with other heads of state, networks that in certain situations can be used to also promote other issues that are important from our point of view. Norway is allowed into otherwise closed rooms and thus has opportunities for influence. ”

The SV leader gives the current government boast about the peace and reconciliation policy it has pursued. To further develop and strengthen this policy, she calls for increased resources for work, closer ties than today with NGOs, research communities and others working on peace and conflict resolution, and building international networks with countries and state leaders that are important to international peacebuilding.

Halvorsen also advocates "an international center for state-building in Norway", for "a large international annual peace conference in Norway", and that Norway should to a much greater extent "use development aid funds to support peace-building efforts".

In the Middle East, SV comes with the following promise: “One of the first things a red-green government will do is to contact Palestinians and Israelis to discuss how Norway can help them speed up the process towards an independent and viable Palestine. It will also in turn provide security for Israel. "

Norwegian Security Council

For international peace engagement, it is the same as security policy, according to Halvorsen – and is about Norwegian self-interests:

“It contributes to a more peaceful world. This makes Norway more important for major international players, and their willingness to help us will therefore in all probability increase if we need this in a future situation. ”

Unexpectedly, the SV leader wants the UN and international law to be central to security policy thinking: “Thorbjørn Jagland has repeatedly pointed out the need for gradual development of what we can call an international welfare state and an international legal order. I agree."

There are no specific military threats to Norway now, says Halvorsen. But Norway must be able to monitor and defend the country against attack or sabotage. One of her key words is flexibility:

"If XNUMX/XNUMX taught us anything, it must be that Norway and other countries must have flexibility in security policy, flexibility to meet ever new and unforeseen threats. The worst generals in history have always prepared for the previous war. "

To address the security threat, Halvorsen wants a national security council to be established that can provide ongoing advice to the defense's political and military leadership. The Council should, in SV's opinion, be composed of people from politics, the defense and research communities. The audience during Halvorsen's speech at Nupi is topical, we should believe the SV leader:

"Many of you who are here today will be relevant as members of such a council."

Not anti-American

First, halfway through the lecture, Halvorsen discusses the relationship between Norway and the United States:

"Regardless of the government in both the United States and Norway, the United States will be the world's only superpower. In a red-green government, SV will work for a fruitful and constructive cooperation with the USA. Those who fear or dream that we will pursue an anti-American policy will be disappointed. Our policy will not be anti-American, but non-American. "

And although cooperation between a great power and a small country will never be completely symmetrical, "we must move from poodle to partner with the United States."

The message as a partner to the United States is the following: "We want to redefine Norway as an important player in international humanitarian efforts and as a nation of peace that is more important than our size suggests, rather than as a small military warrior in special missions."

Under the sections dealing with NATO, it is pointed out that SV believes it is wrong to build Norwegian security on nuclear weapons, and that SV is critical of NATO taking on the role of global player through its "out of area" strategy.

"But no one in SV believes that NATO membership should stand in the way of government participation or that we should refrain from using NATO as an arena to fight for a red-green values ​​and Norwegian interests."

Moderate Muslims

Halvorsen's vision is to work within NATO to draw Russia closer to the common European security cooperation. In addition, SV wants Norway to "say no to military missions that are not rooted in international law and that do not have a UN mandate".

One consequence for SV is that Norway must immediately withdraw military contributions from Iraq and the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: "Developments in Iraq fully show that international terrorism must first and foremost be met with answers other than military force."

However, the SV will continue to support the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan, as well as the party's wish to strengthen its support for the UN's traditional peace operations.

In the fight against terrorism, Halvorsen points out support for moderate Muslims: “Through this, we want to ensure that it is the Democrats who win the upper hand in Islam. In this way, we create greater long-term security for ourselves as well. ”

Offensive European policy

According to the SV leader, the last two pillars of a red-green government's foreign policy will be a "far more offensive European policy" and "the fight against poverty and for global justice".

Even though the EU case divides the three parties, this should, according to Halvorsen, "not be allowed to prevent a more offensive line for asserting Norwegian interests in and vis-à-vis the EU".

And this is the essence of her speech on this point, through statements such as "we want to fight for Norwegian interests in and against the EU system", "I think there is far more room for a hard Norwegian interest struggle", and " Tough tug-of-war is the order of the day in Brussels. Nobody thinks it is unnatural for cases to be brought before the courts ".

To make this better, Halvorsen airs the idea of ​​a Norwegian Minister of Europe. For, as she says: “EU politics today is domestic politics in Europe. That is a long way to go for us too, even though we are not members. ”

Political assistance

"Poverty and injustice are best fought by giving power to poor people and poor countries", the SV leader begins his part of the speech at NUPI, which addresses the last pillar of a new foreign policy.

Key words here are the strengthening of the United Nations over the World Bank, international taxes that have a global redistributive function, solutions in the WTO that serve the world's poor, debt eradication, a fund to be able to move quickly in crisis situations, greater focus on women in development policy and alliances with it. large international civil society in the pursuit of a more just world.

And “Aid will increase to 1 percent. Then it will increase further. "

This assistance must be made far more political than it is today, Halvorsen believes: “Development is difficult under regimes where the leaders are more concerned with waging war or plundering resources than with national progress. Therefore, we will purposefully use our aid funds to promote peace, to develop democracy and civil society and to strengthen movements that will bring development to their countries. "

The majority of people in the back

Finally, SV leader Kristin Halvorsen reminds us that SV has a history of important foreign policy opposition.

"But slowly but surely, public opinion has changed in our direction over the past decade. The new realization in the last four years is that it is now SV that manages the majority of the population in the most important contentious issues of the day, "she claims.

This means that Halvorsen finally makes the following promise:

"A red-green government will be extremely aware that it must pursue a foreign policy in which the vast majority of Norwegians feel at home."

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