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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/22/11

Britain Spearheads "Mini-NATO" In Arctic Ocean, Baltic Sea

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Britain Spearheads "Mini-NATO" In Arctic Ocean, Baltic Sea
Rick Rozoff

On January 19 and 20 British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted his counterparts from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at the first Nordic Baltic Summit to consolidate an "alliance of common interests."

Cameron's initiative followed by two months a two-day meeting of Nordic-Baltic defense ministers in Norway with the defense chiefs of the same nine nations that participated in the London gathering along with defense representatives from Germany and Poland.

A Russian commentary on the day of the opening of the Nordic Baltic Summit in the United Kingdom stated:

"Europeans have decided to watch the Russians in the Arctic and how they behave there closely. The idea of creating an Arctic 'mini-NATO' was discussed at the [Nordic Baltic] Summit in London on Wednesday. According to analysts, the heightened activity of North Europe is explained by an increased interest in the Arctic and its natural resources."

In addition to economic and energy issues, "experts insist that British Prime Minister David Cameron will discuss with his counterparts a draft agreement on the foundation of a new military alliance."

The author of the piece argued that as part of a Nordic-Baltic military structure stretching from the Barents to the Norwegian to the North to the Baltic Seas "a Scandinavian mini-NATO alliance has long been hovering in the air." [1]  

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization subdivision is to include Alliance members Denmark and Norway, partners Finland and Sweden, and non-contiguous outposts Greenland (Denmark), the Faroe Islands (Denmark) and the Aland Islands (Finland).

The project for a Nordic military pact, modeled after and in the long run subordinated to NATO, was taken up in earnest by former Norwegian defense and foreign minister Thorvald Stoltenberg in 2009 and "provides for the creation of a mini-NATO for Scandinavia and the Arctic." [2] Stoltenberg's son Jens is currently Norway's prime minister.

The Stoltenberg report of 2009, whose formal name is "Nordic Co-operation on foreign and security policy," focused on "13 areas of potential closer co-operation in the Nordic region, such as peace-building, air-policing and maritime monitoring, security in the High North, cyber-security, co-operation between foreign services and defence." [3] More specifically, it called for "creating a military and civilian taskforce for unstable regions; a joint amphibious unit; a disaster-response unit; a coastguard-level maritime response force; joint cyber-defence systems; joint air, maritime and satellite surveillance; co-operation on Arctic governance; and a war crimes investigation unit." [4]

According to the EUobserver: "A Nato-style 'musketeer' clause and closer consular co-operation could form part of a new Nordic alliance, foreshadowing future developments inside the EU." [5]

The Stoltenberg report's recommendations served as the foundation for discussions between the foreign ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in Copenhagen last March which concentrated on "joint monitoring of the Nordic marine areas, the Nordic air space and the Arctic, as well as issues relating to search and rescue services.

"In addition, possible joint efforts against cyber attacks and a possible further development of the co-operation already established in the military area" were topics taken up. [6]

The five above-mentioned nations are to "sign a joint statement on security policy in April next year aimed at strengthening Nordic co-operation and joint actions in cases of peace-time catastrophes as well as military threats," [7] following discussion of the subject at a meeting of the Nordic Council in Iceland last November. At the latter event Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Store stated: "Increased cooperation in Nordic and Baltic defense is an important step in the right direction. It's now time to formalize this cooperation further and confirm Nordic unity in defense." [8]

A week later the meeting of the defense ministers of Britain, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania met in Oslo. British Defence Minister Liam Fox said at the event: "The deepening of our bilateral and multilateral relationships with partners in the Nordic region is well worth exploring. We would like to create a broader framework that makes it easier for both NATO and non-NATO members to have a closer relationship in the region." [9] Eleven months before Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden formalized a mechanism for collective military collaboration, the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO) agreement.

At the same defense chiefs gathering where the nine nations "discussed how they could cooperate more closely regarding security challenges in the High North" and "closer cooperation between the Nordic countries' forces in Afghanistan," Norwegian Defense Minister Grete Faremo stated:

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at:
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