The veteran Norwegian Labour Party politician has taken a stance similar to that of Britain’s Tony Blair in support of European Union integration and a strong alliance with Washington to ensure Western leadership in international affairs. He has served as Norway’s prime minister, foreign minister, speaker of the parliament known as the Storting, and current chairman of the Council of Europe, a body that backed the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during the Cold War.
His political career has been defined by his close relationship with NATO. He sat on the Norwegian government’s standing committee on defense and was a key player in NATO parliamentary conferences.
On his home turf, Labour is the party of choice for the Norwegian officer corps. Despite its relatively small size, Norway is a significant military player due to its strategic location near the former Soviet Arctic Fleet base at Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula. Throughout the Cold War, the Norwegians—every male citizen is a soldier and has a rifle—were the front line on the Russian border.
A Military Mentality
That vanguard role continues today, with Norwegian troops on the ground in Afghanistan, its naval vessels curbing piracy off Somalia, Pentagon anti-ballistic missile systems and anti-satellite technology waging the struggle for outer space, and the world’s most advanced anti-submarine technology. Norway has the highest per-capita troop deployment among NATO’s 28-member states.
The challenge for the West has changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with a new potential enemy taking shape in an economic coalition known as the BRICs—Brazil, Russia, India and, most feared of all, China. Jagland, as a public voice for NATO strategists, is calling on an enlarged Western alliance to stand down the resurgence of military powers China and Russia and disrupt their ever-closer relationships with Brazil and India.
At a NATO-sponsored conference of European parliamentarians last year, Jagland spoke tough words: “When we are not able to stop tyranny, war starts. This is why NATO is indispensable. NATO is the only multilateral military organization rooted in international law. It is an organization that the U.N. can use when necessary—to stop tyranny, like we did in the Balkans.” His reference was to the NATO bombing campaign, invasion and occupation of the now-terminated Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia in the late 1990s.
To summarize his message: If, anywhere in the world, tyrants cannot be overthrown by peaceful means, war is inevitable—and NATO will wage that war.
These are chilling words coming from the chairman of the Nobel Peace Committee. Jagland later said on announcing the peace prize for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo: “We have to speak when others cannot speak. As China is rising, we should have the right to criticize. We want to advance those forces that want China to become more democratic.”
A term like “advance those forces” is eerily similar to the euphemisms in Japanese textbooks that describe “advances” into foreign territory on continental Asia. It reflects a militaristic mindset.
The New Global Order
At the 2009 NATO conference, Jagland dropped a hint of what was to come: “We must build alliances and adapt to new realities. [We must] understand and debate how democratic rights can be upheld in the 21st century. How freedom can be assured. What kind of alliances we need to that end. And we need a New Strategic Concept.”
Among his political foes in Norway, Jagland is called “our own George Bush Jr.” It’s good joke, but not when considering the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, or while Jagland, with this latest Nobel Peace prize, has just precipitated a damaging diplomatic crisis between the West and China. The controversy will only worsen when the Nobel medallions are given out in December.
The Nobel scandal has already scuttled the Norwegian oil firm Statoil’s plans to sell Beijing the Peregrino oil field offshore of Brazil—the first real blow against the BRIC coalition. Politicians and businessmen who are eager about emerging international trade opportunities are simply naive about geopolitics. Once again, the civilians have been outflanked by the military.
NATO’s Asian Allies
Meanwhile, Jagland’s colleagues among the Norwegian defense forces have recently initiated military-technology deals with South Korea and Japan at a time of regional tensions with China The conservative government of President Lee Myung-bak is pursuing a crash program to build a new generation of Sejong-class KDX-3 destroyers. In the wake of the past summer’s South Korean ship-sinking crisis, Seoul is putting renewed emphasis on anti-submarine warfare.
Norwegian shipbuilders, including the Kongsberg Group, are the world leader in sonar and electronic warfare systems. The Norwegian Nansen-class of anti-submarine destroyers is top of the line. The Royal Navy of Norway has decades of real-life experience at chasing Soviet, now Russian, U-boats. The military ties between Oslo and Seoul go back to the Korean War, when Norway sent a military medical unit as an ally.
Meanwhile in Tokyo, the Japanese defense industry recently hosted a high-level Norwegian military delegation. Among the topics of discussion was the growing naval threat of China and the need for NATO and the US-Japan security alliance to cooperate to defend the new Arctic Sea passage. As global warming melts the polar ice cap, the waters north of Russia can be navigated.
The emerging connections between NATO and America’s East Asian allies are starting to reveal the New Strategic Concept: the coming naval encirclement of China and Russia. With ground troops on bases in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, the circle is closing. The world is plunging into the Second Cold War.
The Peace Laureate
How does an obscure dissident sitting in a Chinese prison figure into this grand plan for global conflict? Liu Xiaobo’s personal link with Norway started during his days as a visiting scholar to the University of Oslo in 1988. At that moment, the Soviet Union was in a deep crisis of disintegration. NATO strategists were anxious about the prospect of Moscow being saved in the nick of time by its onetime friend and ally, China. Faxes out of the Chinese Embassy in Moscow were of utmost concern, but were indecipherable, being written in Chinese.
Back in those dark days of the Cold War, there weren’t many Chinese in Scandinavia, so Liu was a rare commodity—a scholar from Beijing who loathed Beijing. Whether Liu became a NATO asset is a matter of top-secret classification. Oslo’s repeated inquiries about him through two decades, the Western media’s patronage, and the Nobel selection over other Chinese dissidents indicate some sort of special bond. Whatever the hidden details of his foreign involvements, Liu’s Peace Prize is serving as the bugle call for NATO’s global crusade against so-called “tyranny.”
The fact that an open warmonger heads the Nobel Peace Committee has completely discredited what was once the world’s most prestigious Peace Prize. That honor is now just another weapon in the arsenal of the Great Powers mobilizing to reassert their authority over their former colonial domain. The goal of the West is not democracy and human rights; what its leaders really desire is domination and warfare. The intentions are clear. Thus we must each prepare, in our different ways, for the coming bloodshed.
Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times Weekly in Tokyo, is a Hong Kong–based writer on renewable energy for European business publications and news commentator for the Bon Ocean Network (BON) in Beijing.
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