Modern-day warfare brought about Internet attacks just as damaging for a country’s readiness, integrity, economy and infrastructure as last century’s threat of conventional and nuclear warfare, which, of course, is why every nation should be prepared and on high alert, with state-of-the art equipment to counter the attacks we see unfold on a daily basis.
Not about to commend our politicians for their ability to build an effective digital border defence I do appreciate their resolution to improve it – which, in all honesty, is long overdue.
I applaud Norway’s NOK 2.2 billion defence budget rise, even if we’re far from reaching NATO’s two percent of GDP goal – an aim that ought to be within reach, considering our country’s affluence. Thing is, though, that while vital parts of our defence are granted a substantial financial boost, an equally vital part of it, the Home Guard (i.e. the National Guard for American readers), carrying most of the responsibility for our territorial defence, as well as local naval defence, is subject to further troop reductions.
As a matter of fact the current Armed Forces long-term plan indicates that the Naval Home Guard, with its approximately 200 larger vessels and approximately 130 speed vessels, is to be disbanded altogether within a couple of years, whereas the overall National Guard has been reduced from 80,000+ troops at the time I myself was dismissed*, some thirteen years ago, to approximately 45,000 troops today – and counting.
With standing forces increasingly involved in international operations the Home Guard remains the only real defence actually on Norwgian soil, which only goes to show that conventional attacks or invasions are considered less probable, much like the pre WW2 attitude, resulting in very low defence spendings – and the rest, as they say, is history (foreigners without in-depth knowledge of Norwegian history may be grateful to learn that Nazi Germany occupied the country between 9 April 1940 and 8 May 1945, though).
Certainly cyber warfare is a very real threat, materialising on a daily basis, which needs to be met with all available measures.
It does not, however, entail the removal of a conventional, equally dangerous threat, especially in times of an intensified level of international conflict, not least with respect to our closest northern neighbour, Russia.
*Both as a result of the disbandment of my unit, 02503 Santhanshaugen HV-område (company) and the mere fact that I had reached the maximum conscription age (44 in Norway).
Top photograph: Norwegian Home guard soldiers partaking in a squad leader course. Photographer: Julie Hjermstad/Norwegian Armed Forces.
CNN’s fairly restrictive on-air profanity policy should be well-known by now (remember Madonna’s recent D.C. appearance?). Foreign languages, on the other hand, may prove to be a bit of a challenge. This F-16 pilot’s “Helvete!” translates to “Bloody hell!”.
IDK, just felt strangely good to hear Norwegian cussing in international news.
We’ve heard, over and over, how threatened the Kremlin feels by the American deployment to Zagan, Poland, but those who recall the cold war’s first incarnation will of course find Russia’s rhetoric only too familiar.
Like back in the day one party will inevitably claim that it’s fallen victim to the other party’s actions, paving the way for the offender’s concessions or the victim’s right to do likewise – in this instance; deploying Russian troops to regions deemed sensitive to the west.
Regular readers will have noticed this blogger’s long-standing scepticism towards the current Turkish regime, since long before my daughter and wife bought me the above depicted tea mug on a vacation in Turkey some years ago. A vacation in which I neither did nor could or would partake – and a mug which is yet to be used, for very obvious reasons.
Please understand, though, that I deplore PKK terrorism just as much, but you have to sympathise with the Kurds’ frustration and predicament, facing leaders such as Mr. Erdoğan and his criminal regime.
My “Goodbye, Turkey” includes termination of future EU talks as well as the country’s unjustifiable NATO membership, provided the international community is about to wake up – and realise that we’re dealing with a full-blown dictatorship.
And please, ladies and gentlemen of the press, stop referring to Turkey as a European country, when all that is European about it is the three-percent landmass that is the occupied East Tracian territories on the European side of the Bosphorus, granted Turkey in the aftermath of the Balkan wars some 100 years ago.
No. Of course not. And much like you I am inclined to consider the member states up to (and including) 1982 the essence of western democracy, with an exception for Turkey, Spain, Portugal and Greece, as we all know. Text continued below map.
You have to admit that it’s hard not to think of former Soviet imagery, and in all honesty, is expansion at all cost really worth it? When will it end? Judging by NATO’s careless expansion thus far, it won’t stop until we consider these soldiers NATO troops:
Which is fine by me, but please, what some consider a NATO expansion may in reality turn out to be a full-blown Warsaw pact takeover.
We’re all fully aware of Turkey’s shortcomings, in terms of democracy – or the obvious lack thereof, rendering the country’s NATO affiliation membership something of a hot potato.
Nevertheless Turkey remains a member state, raising an urgent need to decide on the country’s future status, especially considering the Erdoğan regime’s zealous genocide on the Kurds, under the pretext of fighting ISIL (my above illustration, drawn last year, reads “The ones to the left? ISIL! The others, too. ISIL, every single one of them!” in English).
Bearing the evolving Russo-Turkish romance in mind, there’s every reason to raise concern over western leaders’ conduct lately, exemplified by Sweden’s former conservative PM’s many initiatives, such as:
Any collapse of the EU/Turkey deal would risk serious destabilisation in Greece and in the Balkans. Not needed. #TheBodrumRT
To mention but two of his numerous pro Turkey-EU relations tweets, leaving yours truly truly flabbergasted – especially considering the fact that Mr Bildt’s statements represent the rule, rather than the exception. Nevertheless, his sentiment seems representative of that of most western leaders, collectively paying homage to this oppressor:
Leaving this blogger at a loss for words.
Then again, with Donald J. Trump a not-too-unlikely future U.S. president, I suppose nothing ought to surprise, even if a NATO exclusion, as well as a full termination of all EU-Turkey talks would be the decent solution.
I’m not saying that it’s easy, what with Turkey’s key role as a refugee and migrant gatekeeper, and the country’s strategic location, but sacrificing one’s last trace of respectability because of it, is blameworthy, to say the least, and I think I’ve made it abundantly clear what I think of actions taken out of self-interest.
Top illustration, translated into English:“The ones to the left? ISIL! The others, too. ISIL, every single one of them!”. Blogger’s own drawing.
In the wake of this summer’s terrorist attack on Turkey’s Atatürk international airport and the failed coup attempt only weeks later, the international community has remained remarkably silent, just up until recently.
For the last couple of weeks we have seen Russian and western leaders falling head over heels in love with a Turkish oppressor, only too eager to sack, persecute and incarcerate any journalist, judge or private citizen failing to comply with his ideas, and all the while Turkish media spew out tidings of one ISIL stronghold after the other falling at the hands of Turkish bombers and troops, which is yet to be confirmed, but appears to be taken at face value.
Thing is, of course, that both Russia and the West have ulterior motives for sucking-up to Erdoğan, mainly due to the country’s strategic position, in the intersection of Europe and the Middle East, as well as the Bosphorus and its access to the Black Sea.
With that in mind, perhaps you cannot blame western politicians for throwing every trace of decency overboard, queueing up to kiss Erdoğan’s ass, paving the way for a Turkish EU membership (on top of NATO), as a thank you for the unsubstantiated eradication of the so-called Islamic State. Or can you?
I’d say so.
And let’s not forget about our quiet acceptance of the attempted genocide on the Kurdish people. Truth be told it makes me sick to my stomach. As do those spineless politicians (among whom I have yet to see protests raised).