Why Should Norwegians Emigrate to the United States?

View of the village of Reine, Norway
View of the village of Reine, Norway (Sandra Mode)

American president Donald Trump reportedly disparaged immigrants from Africa, El Salvador and Haiti on Thursday, asking his advisors, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

Trump then suggested that the United States should bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he had met a day earlier.

Much of the outrage has focused on Trump’s racism. It’s clear he would rather have more white than brown people in his country.

But here’s another question: What possible reason do Norwegians have to emigrate to the United States? Read more “Why Should Norwegians Emigrate to the United States?”

Norway’s Election Winners Propose Relaxing Wealth Fund’s Spending

In an election that was a foregone conclusion even before the first ballot was cast, Norway’s right-wing coalition led by the Conservative Party’s Erna Solberg swept to power on Monday. Perhaps the most controversial story from the election was the rise of the Progressive Party, the Conservatives’ key political ally. It is noted both for its anti-immigration positions and for its association with mass murderer Anders Breivik, a former party member.

While this aspect of the election has caught international attention, the bigger issue for voters in Norway was oil. Specifically, what to do with $760 billion worth of oil generated wealth in a sovereign wealth fund awkwardly and inaccurately named the Government Pension Fund-Global. Read more “Norway’s Election Winners Propose Relaxing Wealth Fund’s Spending”

America Wakes Up to the Arctic’s Potential

Russian Arctic tanker
A United States Coast Guard icebreaker escorts a Russian tanker through the Bering Strait, January 6 (Coast Guard)

In a sign that America is taking the enormous economic potential and future geopolitical challenges of the Arctic region seriously, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Norwegian city of Tromsø on Saturday.

“From a strategic standpoint, the Arctic has an increasing geopolitical importance as countries vie to protect their rights and extend their influence,” she told reporters in Oslo before heading for Tromsø, where she was accompanied by Norway’s foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Støre.

The visit comes two months after Norway and Cold War rival Russia agreed to improve military relations and expand cooperation in their Arctic lands.

Russia has the largest Arctic territory by far, second to Canada. The United States, courtesy of Alaska, is an Arctic power, but it has done little to advance its interests in the region. Read more “America Wakes Up to the Arctic’s Potential”

“N” for North: NATO’s Cold Future

NATO may take a different form as “the Great Melt” heats up. After the expected pullout from Afghanistan in 2014, pressure will mount on the alliance to turn northward. “The Arctic represents the emergence of a new geopolitical arena.”

As a result of climate change, many nations in the Northern Hemisphere could soon pivot to the pole, argues Lorenzo Nannetti, an analyst for the crowdsourced consultancy Wikistrat.

“As global demand for resources grows, the Arctic region becomes a new field for international competition as new sea lanes open due to ice melting,” he says. Read more ““N” for North: NATO’s Cold Future”

Norway, Russia Strengthen Arctic Relations

At a ministerial summit in Oslo last month, Norway and Russia agreed to improve military relations and expand cooperation in their Arctic territories.

Both northern states are reorganizing their armed forces in recognition of the changing strategic landscape. Norway aims to convert one of its High North battalions into a dedicated Arctic brigade comprising naval and special forces units. Russia last year announced plans to create an armored Arctic brigade of its own on the Kola Peninsula.

As a result of climate change, the Arctic region is set to assume newfound importance for the world economy. The melting ice could shorten global supply chains and free up vast oil and natural gas reserves to exploration. Read more “Norway, Russia Strengthen Arctic Relations”

Gunman Targets Norway’s Social Democrat Party

An explosion in the Norwegian capital on Friday left eight dead and many injured. A bomb went off near the prime minister’s office in the late afternoon. Soon after, the perpetrator killed dozens of youngsters gathered for a Labor Party summer camp on a small island west of Oslo where former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland had just spoken. The killer identified her as his primary target on Monday.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was scheduled to speak at the island on Saturday. He was not in office during the blast and remained unharmed as did Brundtland but at least 68, many of them teenagers, perished in a killing spree.

Police detained the gunman who was described as tall, blond and a right-wing extremist. The 32 year-old criticized “cultural Marxists” in a lengthy essay that he had posted online and championed a “crusade” against Islam in the Scandinavian country. He blamed the Labor Party for letting Muslims “colonize” Norway and accused it of “treason.”

Police believe the gunman drove to the island after the explosion in the capital.

This post was updated with corrections and new information.

Cold Response

Between February 17 and March 4, Norway hosted the Cold Response 2010 military exercise in Troms county, above the Arctic Circle. More than 8,500 troops as well as 1,000 special forces from fourteen different nations participated, including soldiers from Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The exercise, the first of its kind to take place exclusively in the minus thirty degree Celsius temperatures above the Arctic Circle, tested cold weather amphibious operations as well as interoperability between expeditionary forces. Ground operations ranged from company-sized maneuvering to a brigade-sized beach assault. Both American and Royal Marines hit the beaches in landing craft, with air and naval support, responding to the “invasion” of fictitious Northland by the enemy from Eastland. Read more “Cold Response”