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Historical and Investigative Research, 29
Norwegian international "mediation": How does it work?
Knut Vollebaek is our central character, but to understand what he does we need to lay out the context, for Vollebaek is just one of the players (though a very important one) in what is a curious 'special relationship' between the main NATO powers and Norwegian diplomats.
We shall let Knut Vollebaek himself set the scene. The following quotation, from The Washington Diplomat, expresses very well what most people assume about Norway and its international diplomacy.
If you remember the Oslo 'Peace' Process, you may have wondered: Why Oslo? Why did Norway, of all countries, get asked to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the PLO?
Because the innocent appearance -- which Vollebaek tries hard to project, above -- is of a harmless little country, neutral in every way, populated by a peace-loving Nordic people with a benevolent attitude towards humankind, seeking only to export their compassionate socialist values. For these reasons -- or so the marketing goes -- Norway can be trusted by all sides in an international conflict.
The truth is otherwise.
But don't take
it from me. We shall ask
the Norwegian diplomats, who all but confessed the whole game in a recent
Christian Science Monitor article, excerpts of which I reproduce below:
Non-governmental organizations doing good by helping the neutral and gentle Norse -- who lack any expertise or contacts of their own -- conduct ‘peacekeeping diplomacy.’ Wonderful? Don’t applaud too loudly. Ask yourself first why an absurd Newspeak label such as ‘non-governmental organization’ should ever be employed.
If I offered you a ride on my ‘non-reptilian horse,’ you’d think I was mad. Every horse is non-reptilian, so why speak like that?
Similarly, why say ‘non-governmental organization’? It is perfectly redundant, as everybody knows that government institutions are called secretariats, agencies, departments, bureaus, or ministries, but never organizations. The exception is when several governments come together in the manner of private individuals (e.g. OSCE), and this exception confirms the rule: ‘organization’ connotes ‘private concern.’
But "non-governmental organization" is not merely redundant -- it is also awkward. One could be more elegantly redundant with ‘private organization,’ so the insistence on the more awkward phrase suggests that somebody thinks the explicit message -- not government -- is important.
Why? Well, suppose you found evidence of direct, indirect, or covert government ties, influence, and funding for an alleged ‘non-governmental organization,’ and perhaps even noticed that their top leadership positions were revolving doors for highly-placed government insiders. Would you conclude it was a covert branch of government? Perhaps not if you had to say NGO -- ‘non-governmental organization’ -- every time you talked or thought about it. The point of Orwellian Newspeak (labeling everything that is politically relevant with a word that means the precise opposite) is to spread disinformation and preempt political awareness. So it is highly significant that many alleged ‘non-governmental organizations’ are in fact government-run.
Now, if Norwegian diplomats are manipulated by organizations that are covertly governmental, then they are not doing neutral ‘peacemaking diplomacy’ but somebody else’s geopolitical chess-playing. So the key question is: which government (or governments) controls the NGOs that ‘advise’ the Norwegians?
"Impotent Superpower, Potent Small State…" It says it all, doesn’t it? Since there is only one superpower, the founding document for the Norwegian strategy says in its title that what Norway calls its 'peacemaking diplomacy' is really on behalf of the United States.
But why is Norway, in particular, "better placed…to broker deals"?
Vollebaek said much the same thing to The Washington Diplomat. But what Vollebaek and Juul say is false, and they know it.
Norway in fact shares many "strategic interests" with the US, and we see above why: it "has been a member of NATO from the start" and therefore "It is not neutral." In fact, it is difficult to imagine any significant strategic interests of Norway that would not coincide with those of the NATO alliance leadership given that Norway is not, by itself, a global player.
Norwegians use their international diplomacy to beg for the attention of NATO countries? Well, beggars must be ingratiating. Obviously, therefore, Norway has a clear "stakes" in seeing that its international diplomacy always fulfills the wishes of "the US, Britain, France. . ." -- that is, the wishes of NATO's foreign-policy elite.
So, if Norway has a stake in seeing NATO get its way, and if it has no strategic interests that would clash with NATO, then when Mona Juul says (above) that, in Norway, "'We don't have stakes or strategic interests that might make one side or another in a conflict suspect ulterior motives" she is giving us a lot of disinformation, if I must say it politely.
The truth is that Norway has no stakes or strategic interests that are not NATO's own. And therefore, if the US-led Empire has ulterior motives in any particular conflict in which Norway is diplomatically deployed, then so does Norway. But Juul is right that Norway's appearance of neutrality and harmlessness makes if hard for most ordinary people to "suspect ulterior motives," and in sharing this she has in fact let the cat out of the bag: by using Norway the NATO foreign-policy Establishment puts people off guard, solving two problems:
1) deployment of Norway allows NATO to pursue certain policies without seeming to; and
2) these policies get the "international community" stamp.
I cannot make things any clearer than Egeland has, and Egeland, I remind you, is who came up with the idea of deploying Norway diplomatically for "peacemaking" purposes.
I shall now examine in depth one specific case in which NATO deployed Norwegian diplomacy aggressively in order to destroy a country. This is the tragic case of Yugoslavia.
Footnotes and Further
The Christian Science
Monitor, May 31, 2000,
Wednesday, WORLD; GRASS-ROOTS
DIPLOMACY; Pg. 1, 1462 words,
Norway as peacemaker, Peter
Ford, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor,
The following excerpt is from Josselin, D.,
& Wallace, W. (2001). Non-state actors in world politics: A framework. In
D. Josselin, & W. Wallace (Eds.), Non-state actors in world politics (pp.
1-20). New York: Palgrave.
For examples of how "Intelligence agencies subsidize ‘autonomous’ groups which promote appropriate causes," and for a sense of what these "appropriate causes" might be, consult the following pieces:
 It should reassure nobody that Egeland subsequently went on to become a UN official (as reported in the same Monitor article). If the man who would subordinate his own country to the US now serves at the UN, what can be said for the independence of the UN?
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