The New Norwegian Security Challenge

Led by J. Peter Burgess

Feb 2006 – Dec 2006

This project will map out and analyze the coming changes in Norway’s strategic relation to a rapidly evolving EU and NATO. It will explore the assertion that a new global security picture has fundamentally altered these relations. It will compare the new security challenges faced by Norway, EU and NATO in order to draw conclusions about the compatibility of traditional Norwegian security assumptions in the face of the new security landscape. What are the differences in perceptions of threat in the US, the EU and in Norway, and what strategic implications do these differences hold for collaboration on matters of security and defence? Today, the perception of American policymakers is significantly different from that of their European counterparts. Seeing the world through the influential prism of 11 September, American policymakers have distinctive views about the utility and necessity of armed force in battling terror threats. Europeans do not necessarily share these. Managing that difference is among the great challenges for transatlantic relations in the years ahead. The different post-Cold War experiences have made Europeans and Americans speak different political languages. The attacks of 11 September 2001 have brought sweeping changes in US policy and sent a tremor through NATO and EU strategic thinking. In the USA, terrorism has replaced Communism as the new threat of our time. Western states have been forced to take on board, in one way or another, the ‘War on Terror’. The US view is, to some extent penetrating the European discourse. Yet perceptions are still very different in the USA and Europe. Consequentially Norway is left to balance between different agenda.

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