Putin has threatened the safety of Ukraine if the Black Sea Fleet is blocked from re-entry to the port at Sebastopol. Poland, after months of delay, quickly signed an agreement allowing advanced anti-missile defense batteries on Polish territory. Putin now has plans to rebuild the Russian fleet with 5 to 6 aicraft carriers plus support vessels.
Norway says it is being threatened by the former Soviet Union if they do not allow Russian oil and gas exploration and drilling in the waters around the Spitsbergen archipelago. Norway, and most everyone else, has understood that under the terms of the 1920 Paris Treaty it has the right to establish an economic zone around the archipelago. Russia claims, and some other countries agree, the treaty only applies to circumstances on the islands of the archipelago, not the surrounding waters.
All this is causing Norway and Sweden to re-evaluate their defense posture with Russia and out side threats in general.
Several Norwegian opposition politicians say Russia’s intervention in the South Ossetia crisis shows that the country has Great Power aspirations, which could eventually pose a threat against Norwegian positions in the High North. Also in Sweden, the Caucasus conflict now triggers a domestic defence policy debate.
Leader of the Norwegian Conservative Party, Ms. Erna Solberg, does not believe that a conflict like the one in Georgia could take place between Russian and Norway. She still believes that the South Ossetia events bear clear evidence of Russia’s great power aspirations.
"We can not defend ourselves alone, Norway needs a strong army," she says to newspaper Aftenposten.
Ms. Solberg illustrates her increasing fears with Russia’s reported violations of aircraft regulations at Spitsbergen and military training near the Norwegian border.
"It worries me that the Russians are showing disrespect for our right to govern the Spitsbergen archipelago," she says to the newspaper. She also accuses the Norwegian red-green government coalition of failing to nurse relations with the USA.
The Swedish debate
At the same time, a similar debate is unfolding in Sweden. An editorial in newspaper Dagens Nyheter today highlights the need for a revision of Swedish defence policies.
"For Sweden, the issue is now to adjust its defence policy to the hard realities," the editorial reads.
The newspaper writes that the South Ossetia crisis to certain extent resembles the Cold War.
"The perception that Sweden does not have external threats is an ill-informed stance, which although it lacks basis in reality has spread through the Swedish defence debate," the editors write.
The newspaper now calls on the Swedish government to stall cuts in the country’s defence in order to bolster national security.
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.