I’m confident that, like the rest of us, many an American is beginning to ask him or herself if maybe enough is actually enough.

If Watergate was unbearable, then surely they cannot tolerate this.

Photo: U.S. President Donald Trump. Detail from official White house portrait.

Godspeed, Macron

You may have noticed a significant drop in posts related to politics and international affairs lately, mostly due to a similarly growing disillusion and dwindling faith in humankind.

If what we perceived as the beacon of western democracy could elect a rambling fascist head of state, then so can France, although I quietly hope they won’t, in spite of Russia’s numerous attempts at preventing the reasonable outcome.

So crossing fingers, but have given up the last flicker of personal engagement entirely.

In a world this dark, there’s precious little you can do, other than pretending it simply isn’t there.

Godspeed, though, M. Emmanuel Macron.

Photo: En Marche! party leader Emmanuel Macron. Photograph from Business France/Flickr.

Dutch election: Far from convincing

As Europe draws a sigh of relief, there’s arguably little cause for rejoice, as Geert Wilder’s Party for Freedom gains four new seats in the Dutch parliament, according to exit polls – not enough to take up government, but an advancement all the same.

Please forgive my inability to applaud the far-right’s progress, undoubtedly to be seen in elections to come, included Europe’s numerous elections this year. Glad the PVV isn’t taking over cabinet, sure, but:

Worried as hell.

I mean, WTF, Netherlanders, you secured the bastards 19 seats (up from 15)! If anything, an encouragement for far-right parties everywhere.

So I reiterate: WTF!?

Photo: Geert Wilders, founder and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom. Photo from Metropolico.org’s Flickr account.

From what I understand the outcome of the Dutch election remains too close to call, so here’s hoping Geert Wilder’s won’t come out victorious.

A decade or two ago, however, for a far-right party to win even eight or ten percent of the votes would be outrageous. In today’s extreme society not so much.

Makes you sad, doesn’t it?

Any attempt to concentrate power to one out of three branches of government must be opposed vehemently.

A receipe for the successful demolishment of a country’s defence

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.

shv Sjøheimevernet Naval Home Guard
A Naval Home Guard vessel during exercise in Tromsø. Photographer: Joakim Furunes/Norwegian Armed Forces.

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.

Just sayin’.

*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.

There’s no such thing as “healthy nationalism”

You will, I hope, agree that we live in dangerous times threatening to throw international politics and diplomacy off-balance – and an America already in apparent disarray.

Amid American and European nationalist advances Norway’s PM Erna Solberg yesterday made a case for what she labelled a “positive” and “healthy” brand of nationalism.

To clarify, then, Ms. Solberg, nationalism never brought about a “positive” or “healthy” development. Attributing positive values to an otherwise utterly negative ideology will contribute to nothing else than a continued legitimisation of nationalism – and all that it entails.

Nothing good ever came out of it.

We eagerly await a retraction.

P.S. I have noticed, upon sharing this blog post in social media, that some confuse nationalism and patriotism, and have to admit that while in everyday life nationalism indeed does include moderate expressions of homeland affection, in politics it never does. With a blog post focused on the political aspects of nationalism, there really isn’t much room for confusion, though.

Photo: Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives). Photographer: Tomas Moss – http://www.icu.no.

Build a strong Europe – or abandon all hope

Having spent around a decade fervently warning against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s master plan, it is something of a relief to see that even the mainstream media have gradually come to realise what’s been going on, even if they perceive it as an outcome of recent events, establishing some sort of consensus that the objective is to destabilise and, ultimately, disintegrate Europe, leaving the northern hemisphere with only two really influential powers; Russia and America – among whom the latter currently under the influence of the former.

Concluding that a strong Europe is the best preventive action isn’t rocket science, and yet we’re left with no option but to witness the UK’s departure, possibly followed by other countries, depending on whether or not nationalist parties emerge victorious in this year’s European elections.

Of course you may object that it’s easy for a citizen of a non-member country, such as my own, to call for a European consolidation, even if I’ve championed a Norwegian EU membership since the age of ten (which amounts to approximately 45 years), but remain cautiously optimistic that the non-nationalist parties will prevail in this year’s general election, luckily to be held in September, at which point I would hope Norwegian voters will have had ample time to witness Putin, Trump, Le Pen, Petry and Wilder’s frenzied attempts at destroying European unity.

valgutstyr, valg, stemmesedler, stemme, norsk form, oslo rådhus
Norwegian ballot.

There is, of course, a distinct possibility that they like what they see, considering that nationalist tendencies are palpable, also in Norway – especially among the Progress Party, the Centre Party and the Socialist Left Party supporters, eagerly resisting a Norwegian EU membership, among whom the rural, energetically anti EU Centre Party just made a formidable leap forward in recent polls.

Screw you, EU! Blogger's feeble attempt at a comic strip.
Screw you, EU! Blogger’s feeble attempt at a comic strip.

Voters able to see beyond narrow-minded self-interests, on the other hand, may conclude that the ongoing Russo-American race to tear Europe apart, with the aid of European nationalists, needs to be met with a firm support of the European Union.

The obvious approach would be for Norwegian voters to not only support EU friendly parties, but to demand resumed membership negotiations – if Europe will have us, that is (it wouldn’t surprise me if they decline, seeing as two former applications already failed, due to discouraging referendum outcomes).

At any rate it is time to reinforce European unity as a countermeasure against the emerging nationalism – and a world lead by a through and through non-democratic Sino-Russian-American trio, accompanied by the Erdoğan regime in the Middle East.

If not I’m afraid we may as well abandon all hope.

Top illustration: EU flag. Blogger’s own painting.

Trump travel ban: French far-right leader Le Pen applauds – CNN.com

(CNN) — The leader of France’s far-right Front National party, Marine Le Pen, has applauded US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban and said a backlash to the measure was in “bad faith.”

Trump signed an executive order Friday barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days and suspending the admission of all refugees for 120 days. The order also indefinitely suspends the Syrian refugee program.

The leader of France’s far-right Front National party, Marine Le Pen, has applauded US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban and said a backlash to the measure was in “bad faith.”

Source: Trump travel ban: French far-right leader Le Pen applauds – CNN.com

Clearly we live in a day and age in which granting far-right extremists access to a global audience is considered a given.