4: Follows for Norway
For Norway, a change of president is probably an advantage. This is despite the fact that Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Trump seem to get along well. The relationship between the USA and Norway is well taken care of and is on a benign track, especially after the successful summit in the White House in January 2018 .
On the other hand, it is the relationship with NATO and Trump’s foreign policy that does not benefit Norway.
Trump does not engage NATO on the alliance’s own terms. He comes to the summits with his own agendas, twists and turns. He has further created uncertainty around Article 5 of the NATO Charter, in which members commit themselves to defending each other if someone is attacked.
Norway’s defense is a member of NATO, and is completely dependent on the alliance’s support. So when Trump undermines the unity of NATO, the consequence is uncertainty about Norway’s defense and security.
President Trump is very personal in everything he does. This can be demanding for small states, such as Norway, which are regularly exposed to pressure in one-on-one meetings with Trump. Most famous of these many twists and turns was perhaps when Trump canceled a meeting with his close ally Denmark. This is because the Prime Minister was not prepared to discuss a sale of Greenland.
The world has not benefited from Trump’s leadership. Uncertainty about threats and obligations internationally is in many ways more demanding than concrete threats. As an illustration, it is always important for Norway to know where Russia stands. It can be said that Trump’s contribution to international insecurity is due more to what he has not done than to what he has done.
The United States, a country located in North America according to Allcountrylist, has a long tradition as a guarantor of a liberal world order in which power does not give justice, but international trade and human rights prevail. With Trump, the United States has in practice abdicated from this role, and this has given more leeway to other powerful states, such as Russia and China. There is thus an imbalance in the international system as we know it. One consequence is that both cyber attacks and liquidations are on the rise, with the computer attack on the Storting and the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as two recent examples.
5: What can Biden offer Norway?
In a deteriorating security landscape around Norway, we could need something stable and safe to lean on. For now, the grandfather-like Biden appears to be a good alternative. The former Vice President’s foreign policy visions can better meet Europe’s needs.
Biden’s most famous foreign policy move was when he said at the security conference in Munich in 2009 that we had to find the “reset button” on relations with Russia. But when Trump wanted to improve relations with Putin, it aroused more skepticism. Among other things, because Russia tried to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
But is such reconciliation with Russia the right medicine? Only five years after Biden’s outstretched hand, Putin pressed the “off button” in relations with the West when he annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014. So Putin interpreted – rightly – Biden’s statement as a sign of weakness, and understood that he could take Crimea without the West’s counter-reactions would be strong enough to stop him.
Biden sat for 36 years in the US Senate, where much of the foreign policy is laid. He has chaired the State Department there as well, in the period before he became Obama’s vice president. So Biden has mastered traditional American foreign policy, including NATO alliance diplomacy, at his fingertips. Should Biden win, Europe’s NATO countries will probably flock to Washington, DC to revitalize NATO cooperation. This would be a clear advantage for Norway.
6: Normalization or worsening?
Then we will soon get the answer to whether it is Biden or Trump who will be or will remain president from 2021 to 2025. With Biden, we have a hope for a normalization of alliance relations, where the US again takes an active leadership in NATO, and governs more for the benefit of the western democracies.
With Trump, we can expect more of the same as we have seen in the last four years. As his foreign policy doctrine more than suggests, it is the interests of the United States alone that he will safeguard: “America First!”. Should that happen, we can fear that the next four years will be an unpleasantly dark desert walk in European security, and we must seriously think about what other sources of security Norway can find, in addition to NATO.