The central Norwegian broadcasting company NRK reported a news, which official Oslo apparently intended to conceal. Norway intends to "place" four American strategic bombers B-1B Lancer capable of carrying nuclear weapons, at its Ørland military base. The planes are to arrive there in February.
When releasing this news, NRK drew attention to this fact's being "out of public discourse" in Norway. The matter is that this news originally came not from the Norwegian Ministry of Defense (as it should have been), but from the Dutch aviation magazine Scramble, which itself published this message marked "Breaking News".
In such a situation, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense certainly had no choice but to issue a relevant press release a couple of days later. It follows that early February will see the Ørland air force base play host to about 200 American soldiers, who will prepare for the upcoming joint exercises to involve American B-1 bombers and the Norwegian Air Force. The Norwegian Defense Ministry promised to report on the number of American aircraft and the time of their arrival later. It is emphasized that this type of close allies' integrated drills increases their overall ability to cooperate in the region and "demonstrates the US commitment to the defense of Norway and Europe." Naturally, against Russia.
The rest of Norwegian media had no choice but to have a record of this occasion either. The central Norwegian Aftenposten newspaper, which rigorously follows the local government's policy and therefore resembles our Pravda outlet of the 60-70s, followed suit of the Defense Ministry and reported the impending arrival of American strategic bombers in the country in a deliberately ordinary manner, as if nothing special was happening. "We are happy to host a unit of American B-1 bombers that are coming to us for a while," Aftenposten quotes commander of the Ørland Air Force base Øivind Gunnerud as saying. "The number of planes to arrive and the term of their stay are not yet clear, but Gunnerud expects American bombers to work in the Norwegian territory for about a month," Aftenposte writes.
Meanwhile, this news provoked a hardly commonplace reaction in Norway itself. NRK, for example, cites the opinion of Professor Thormod Heier with the Norwegian Defense University College (Forsvarets høgskole), who spoke out strongly against such military games next to the borders with Russia. "Norway is actively involved in the confrontation between the great powers of Russia and the United States. This boosts Norway's chances to become a battleground between the US and Russia in case of a conflict or crisis that gets out of hand. The Norwegian interest is to balance between the United States and Russia." NRK also quotes an employee at the Air Force Academy (Luftkrigsskolen), Ole Jørgen Maaø, who has been serving in the Norwegian army since the 1980s and does not remember aircraft of this kind engaged in any exercises on the Norwegian soil.
The left-wing Red Party, which is also part of the Norwegian parliament, had its say in a similar vein. Its leader Bjørnar Moxnes believes Norway is part of the escalating conflict between the United States and Russia and that the Norwegian government is "starting a deadly race". "This is yet another example of how the government kneels before Washington and lets the Americans ratchet up tensions and contribute to instability escalation, while ordinary people in Finnmark (a northern Norwegian province bordering Russia – ed. note) grit their teeth and work for peace." However, Moxnes was immediately peppered with stones, if one may put it that way. Conservative Party spokesman Hårek Elvenes stressed that the impending arrival of US strategic bombers met the majority will in the Norwegian Parliament.
And that's just what's weird. Since the deployment of American aircraft in Norway is contrary to that country's "fundamental law", which prohibits any permanent presence of foreign military bases or forces in the country's territory in time of peace. This is not actually an issue with the Americans and the Norwegian establishment. To circumvent this local legislative provision, the Americans have been long placing their military aircraft in northern Norway not on a permanent but on a "rotational basis". For instance, a couple of years ago, it was about the need to establish a more permanent American presence at the airfield in the Norwegian island of Andøya by locating 8 to 12 US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft there to monitor Russian maritime activity in north Atlantic and in the polar regions. The Norwegian law was silent as well.
It should be noted that all these military preparations are pursuant to the new US Blue Arctic strategy that was made public on January 5. The Americans are indiscreet about its purpose of containing Russia in the Arctic. In the furtherance of this goal, the strategy stipulates expanded military exercises in the region conducted by the United States along with its allies, as well as the transfer of additional forces and assets. That's what we see. And everything under the pretext of defending Norway and Europe. And of course, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense's press release does not mention the margin of unused hydrocarbon reserves in the Arctic, which the United States has predatory intentions on.