For the first time since World War II, the U.S has deployed a battalion with over 300 U.S Marines to Norway. This development followed the recent buildup of U.S/NATO troops along the Russian border.
This particular deployment is said to last six months before the troops are rotated out for another set of troops. Overall, the deployment is expected to last only a year. Officials maintain that there is no association between this deployment and the operation that is taking place in Europe to thwart Russian aggression. Regardless, it would seem that Russia would likely view this development as yet another provocation coming from Western powers.
The Russian embassy explained to Reuters that, “Taking into account multiple statements of Norwegian officials about the absence of threat from Russia to Norway we would like to understand for what purposes is Norway so … willing to increase its military potential, in particular through stationing of American forces in Vaernes?”
While the spokeswoman for the Norwegian Ministry of Defense continues to maintain that the deployment has little to do with Russia, statements made in 2014 would seem to indicate something else entirely. Speaking with Reuters, Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide stated that, “[W]e are in a completely new security situation where Russia shows both the ability and the will to use military means to achieve political goals.”
Norway worked to found NATO, yet with that being said, relations between Norway and Russia appear to be in good standing, due to the renewal of economic and trade contacts between Finland and Moscow. This renewal was a first since the annexation of Crimea took place.
However, the U.S has been building up the unsubstantiated narrative of Russia being the big, bad, boogeyman in the last year or so, and having a European alliance with Russia would seem to go against that agenda. Of course, this sort of rhetoric would be necessary for the U.S and NATO to continue their mass deployments to the Russian border.
With the Obama administration set to leave office in the next few days, it would be necessary for them to ensure that there is no way possible for President Elect Donald Trump to normalize relations with Moscow. If he succeeded in doing so, the U.S would not only lose one of their biggest cards in this game of war, but they would also have to accept their defeat in Syria. With total anti-Russian policies in place, even if Donald Trump did work towards making good on his promises, he would have little chance for achieving such goals due to the Obama administrations escalating provocations in the region.