Increasing tensions between major powers and even war in Europe are setting the tone for the 2020s. A stable European security order based on respect for rule of law and state sovereignty seems increasingly elusive in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Because of this, the Norwegian government foresees increasing unpredictability and tension. Democracies and international law are under pressure from autocracies’ disrespect for the international order (regjeringen.no, 22/03/22). Small states such as Norway must react to such changes. The question discussed in this policy brief concerns what foreign policy role conflicts Norway may face in coming years because of increasing tension between major powers such as the USA, Russia, and China, or between any of the major powers and other parties. Potential role conflicts might occur in relation to different security challenges given Norway’s position as a small liberal state, eager to support a liberal world order and be seen as a role model in relation to peacemaking. The potential conflicts are discussed in relation to Norway’s NATO membership, integration in EU defence and security policies, Nordic cooperation, and security policy towards the High North.
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