I am particularly concerned about the vacancy in Norway, now going on for more than two years. I care deeply about Norway, where my family originated before immigrating to Minnesota, along with thousands of others.
But my concern is not just sentimental: Norway is a key strategic ally and partner.
It shares a 122-mile border with Russia — an increasingly aggressive and unpredictable international actor. Norway is a NATO member that routinely carries out joint military exercises with our forces. And it has started to take delivery of more than 50 F-35 fighter planes it is buying from Lockheed Martin, making it an important trade partner as well.
Norway — and its neighbor Sweden, which also lacks an ambassador — have taken on particular importance in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. As recent news reports have documented, soldiers who fought for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have relocated to Northern Europe. Some may be trying to leave that life behind, but others represent a possible security threat — and we rely on close cooperation with Norway, Sweden and other countries in the region to track the travel and activities of these former fighters. The attacks in Paris painfully demonstrated the cost of not working together to conduct surveillance, and take decisive action when necessary.
Source: The New York Times
Published: July 3, 2022