There is every reason to fear another major war, says Frp leader Sylvi Listhaug. Irresponsible way of speaking, replies Prime Minister Støre.
Almost two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Frp leader Sylvi Listhaug uses big words about the security political situation. – There is every reason to fear that there could be a major war, she says to NRK. She says authoritarian regimes are on the rise, calls Putin a despot and compares him to Hitler and Stalin. – He sends thousands of his own residents to their deaths, says Listhaug. She is not alone on the bourgeois side in using strong words. In his speech to the Venstre’s national board recently, party leader Guri Melby told about the experiences of the leftist Jakob Lothe from the German invasion in 1940: – Have you ever thought about what you should actually do if you see on VG-nett that foreign warships have been observed off the coast of Norway? Are you going to work that day or not? – Is there a risk of war in Norway? – We need leaders who are clear about what the threat situation is. It is the government’s task to define it, says Melby today in an interview with NRK.
The backdrop for the statements from the two party leaders on the bourgeois side are several sharp warnings from central sources at some of Norway’s closest allies: – We do not seek war. But we must be ready for war, said NATO military chief Rob Bauer recently, according to NTB. The situation in Ukraine seems deadlocked. Western support for the country is depleting its weapons stockpiles. – We have to understand how serious this situation really is, and that you have to prepare mentally on an individual level, the Swedish defense chief recently told TV 4. A warning also comes from Norway’s Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram (Sp). – Norway and the Armed Forces must be prepared for conflict to break out, he said in his annual speech to the Oslo Military Society this week. NRK’s party leader debate at Arendalsuka 2021 – Party leader debate. Sylvi Listhaug and Guri Melby
Støre: – Irresponsible Now Listhaug requires rearmament and is open to breaking to increase investments in the Armed Forces. – We have done it in the case of Ukraine. The Progress Party supports it wholeheartedly. This is about our safety. Melby believes that Norway must now exceed the NATO target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense purposes. – This is about a new threat picture with hybrid threats. There could, for example, be sabotage on infrastructure in the North Sea, says the Liberal leader. Left leader Guri Melby
– I want Støre to be clear about what his assessment of the specific threat situation against Norway is. Støre hits back at the rhetoric from the two party leaders. – I think these statements which say that we are almost now heading towards war, that is an irresponsible way of talking. We have always talked about the fact that we must have a credible defence, so we can defend ourselves, says the Prime Minister to NRK. He does not think Russia is “particularly keen on a war with NATO now”. – We are strengthening cooperation with Nato, can accept allied reinforcements.
– The left points to 1940 and says Norway was not sufficiently prepared then. Are we prepared now? – I think one should be very careful about taking such historical examples. We have a high awareness of the situation around us. Støre says the government must reach the two percent target for defense purposes by 2026 and refuses to break the rule of action. – Now we use significantly less than it allows for. I think we will be able to achieve the goals we have if we have full respect for the code of conduct going forward.
Frightening? Left-wing leader Guri Melby will not agree that she scares people with her use of words: – I think it is important that we are honest with people, and that we do not judge what they can bear to hear or not. Nor does Listhaug want to participate in her scaring people, even if she compares Putin to Hitler. – I think people see that these authoritarian forces are on the rise. I think it worries far more people than me. I think we should be honest about it. – Are you afraid that there could be an armed conflict in Norway? – No, there is nothing to indicate that. After all, it is also the defense leadership that provides this type of assessment.