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Any reason to fear Russia in the High North?

09.12.2007 In a recent speech, head of the Norwegian Armed Forces Sverre Diesen said the situation in the High North “under certain circumstances could open up a room for possible use of military power”. A Norwegian military analyst says the statements from Mr. Diesen are “very stupid”.

-Combined with the unsettled border issues, the increasing Russian military activities in the region and a generally more autocratic and self-confident line in Russian politics have made many ask themselves whether we now see the start of a new period of tensions in the High North, Mr. Diesen said in the speech.

He himself partly answered the question, saying that “there under certain circumstances without doubt is being created a room for possible use of military power”.

And he added: “The important and interesting conclusion from a military point of view is therefore that it in our time and in our adjacent areas can not be excluded the use of limited military operations in support of political demands, or the use of military power as part of a broader political crisis management.”

Military analyst Jacob Børresen says Mr. Diesen’s use words resembles cold war rhetoric, and that the speech was “very stupid”.

Mr. Børresen, himself a retired high-ranking Navy representative, says the speech appears as propaganda. -If there is something we should not do it is to speak this way about Russia, he says to newspaper Aftenposten.

He on the contrary sees increased Russian military activities as a healthy sign. –This is a sign of normality, which we should learn to appreciate. Being a small neighbouring country, we benefit from a self-confident, wealthy and stable Russia, he stresses.

Source: www.barentsobserver.com

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