This is the English language version of a comment for the Dutch internet publication on a story in the Norwegian magazine ‘Klassekampen’ about the rising costs of the JSF as a result of the devaluation of the Norwegian Krone. Klassekampen exists already for more than 100 years. Today classes have ceased to exist and ‘Klassekampen’ has become a ‘mainstream medium’ with a somewhat leftish signature and a nice literary review section. On the political side the costs of the JSF are a popular subject for the magazine, but the strategic analysis was absent from their story.

Anyway, some years ago the Norwegian government placed an order with the Americans for 52 JSF aircraft. You know, that very expensive clumsy machine that is not a fighter and not a bomber, that bets on e-targeting beyond visibility, that is no longer stealth if ever it was and that is incapable of a good old ‘dogfight’.[1] At the time when the purchase contract was signed the Norwegian Krone (NK) had a value of NK 6,47 against 1 USD. De NK has since devaluated to NK 8,70 against 1 USD and is now nearing 9 NK. Which means a devaluation of 20%. Meanwhile the non-flying JSF turned out to be more and more expensive. But that’s another story. Klassekampen just mentions that the devaluation of the NK will cost the Norwegians NK 13,5 billion. That loss does not only cover the expenses for a machine that does not fly, but also the costs in dollars of goods and services purchased by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence from the USA.

Now if a 20% increase in costs equals NK 13,5 billion the Norwegians are actually paying the Americans NK 67,5 billion. Yes sir, there is a price tag to have the honour to be partner of the USA and have a key role in their unfolding Russia game.

The irony of this is that because of the additional expenses for the Norwegian Ministry of Defense it can no longer perform some military tasks, as Klassekampen reports. According to sources in Norwegian Defence circles contacted by Klassekampen, the Orion sea aircraft which has surveillance tasks in the Barents Sea and the North-Atlantic will have to stay on the ground, while some navy vessels will have to stay at their berth. Imagine, just a while ago the Norwegian NATO SecGen Jens Stoltenberg (the former social democrat prime minister of Norway) visited the Bodø airbase to declare how important Bodø is, not only for Norway but also for NATO as a whole.[2]

These statements are related to the perceived threat of Russia. It will not have escaped your attention that, while NATO knocks on Russia’s doors with increasingly louder bangs, in Norway, Poland, the Baltic states, the Black Sea states, Georgia, Armenia and the Ukraine, Russia is presented as a threat.

However, this reflection is not about US&NATO power politics. I am confident that Russia will have the right answer to this encroachment, but that is another subject. This is about Norway’s sovereignty. Due to the weakness of the NK and the high costs of the JSF the country cannot properly perform its defence tasks. The price dumping policies in the energy markets by the USA and Saudie Arabia, which are meant to harm Russia and Iran, also has disastrous consequences for the meagre Norwegian economy which is totally dependent on energy related revenues as it has neglected for decennia the development of a diversified and productive economy. Dismissals in the oil and gas sector are on the rise and will eventually cost over 50 000 jobs. But, again, this is another subject. We are talking here about Norway’s sovereignty.

And about Norwegian towns like Vardø, which is NATO’s listening post at the edges of the Barentssea, or Andenes, NATO’s ICBM- launching basis at the North Atlantic and about the Bodø airbase, all of which will be direct counter targets for Russia, should this country be pushed further into a war against Russia by NATO. Meanwhile the Norwegians have no clue what is in store for them, not to mention the rest of the Europeans who allow themselves to be dragged into the NATO trap. Except perhaps, for a minor dissident voice of the former French prime minister Fillon who has warned that Europe is not acting independently and lets itself being pushed by America into a war with Russia.

To be pushed by the USA into a war with Russia applies in particular to Norway (and Greece, presumably). Against the backdrop of the depletion of resources and hence of operational capabilities of the Norwegian air force and naval forces (land forces are not really relevant in this context) which is a result of the rising costs for the JSF and decreasing oil and gas revenues, Norway is being positioned as a key frontier in NATO’s containment strategy against Russia. The solution is simple: while the Norwegians pay their good money for the JSF the UK and the USA (cum NATO) are ready to cover their defence needs and take over the tasks of the Orions and the navy, effectively bringing Norwegian sovereignty to an end. What we see is the same scenario as that which unfolded at the eve of World War II when the UK prepared for a pre-emptive occupation of Norway in spite of its neutrality in the upcoming World War II. At that time they came too late, but NATO will not let that happen again.

To be continued…

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