Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 251–272 | Cite as

Turning security importers to exporters? US strategy and cooperation with Northern Europe since 1993

  • Ingrid LundestadEmail author


Transatlantic burden-sharing debates often centre on defence expenditures and participation in missions out-of-area. An analysis of US strategy for cooperation with Nordic and Baltic countries during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama presidencies reveals how the United States has worked to promote security export much more broadly. It pursued contributions through in-area military installations, military partnership and missions, and political/economic cooperation promoting security and stability in Northern Europe, the Euro-Atlantic area, and far away. Global strategies and specific thinking regarding contributions from this region formed US policies. Developments were not linear; the United States took on commitments, even as it promoted increased burden-sharing.


the United States burden-sharing cooperation Nordic Baltic 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Robert M. Gates, ‘The Security and Defense Agenda (Future of NATO)’, June 10, 2011, (accessed August 20, 2015).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The article was last updated March 2016.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    James B. Steinberg, ‘Rethinking the Debate on Burden-Sharing’, Survival 29, no. 1 (1987)Google Scholar
  4. 3a.
    John R. Oneal and Mark A. Elrod, ‘NATO Burden Sharing and the Forces of Change’, International Studies Quarterly 33, no. 4 (1989).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Jens Ringsmose, ‘NATO Burden-Sharing Redux: Continuity and Change after the Cold War’, Contemporary Security Policy 31, no. 2 (2010).Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Peter Kent Forster and Stephen J. Cimbala, The US, NATO, and Military Burden-Sharing (London: Frank Cass, 2005), 9.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    For example, Ringsmose, ‘NATO Burden-Sharing’; see also Ida M. Oma, ‘Explaining States’ Burden-Sharing Behaviour within NATO’, Cooperation and Conflict 47, no. 4 (2012)Google Scholar
  8. 6a.
    John R. Oneal and Paul F. Diehl, ‘The Theory of Collective Action and NATO Defense Burdens: New Empirical Tests’, Political Research Quarterly 47, no. 2 (1994).Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    Keith Hartley and Todd Sandler, ‘NATO Burden-Sharing: Past and Future’, Journal of Peace Research 36, no. 6 (1999).Google Scholar
  10. 7a.
    For a discussion of a widening burden-sharing debate, see Malcolm Chalmers, ‘The Atlantic Burden-Sharing Debate: Widening or Fragmenting?’, International Affairs 11, no. 3 (2001).Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    Ringsmose, ‘NATO Burden-Sharing’, 327; see also Ellen Hallams and Benjamin Schreer, ‘Towards a “Post-American” Alliance? NATO Burden-Sharing after Libya’, International Affairs 88, no. 2 (2012).Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    See e.g. Oma, ‘Explaining States’ Burden-Sharing Behaviour’.Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    Scott N. Siegel, ‘Bearing Their Share of the Burden: Europe in Afghanistan’, European Security 18, no. 4 (2009).Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    Daniel S. Hamilton, Andras Simonyi, and Debra L. Cagan, ‘Executive Summary’, in Advancing U.S.-Nordic-Baltic Security Cooperation, ed. Daniel S. Hamilton, Andras Simonyi, and Debra L. Cagan (Washington, DC: Johns Hopkins University, 2014), ix.Google Scholar
  15. 12.
    Ann-Sofie Dahl, US Policy in the Nordic-Baltic Region: During the Cold War and After (Stockholm: Santérus, 2008), 104–6.Google Scholar
  16. 13.
    For example, Christopher S. Browning, ‘A Multi-dimensional Approach to Regional Cooperation: The United States and the Northern Europe Initiative’, European Security 10, no. 4 (2001)Google Scholar
  17. 13a.
    Valur Ingimundarson, The Rebellious Ally: Iceland, the United States, and the Politics of Empire 1945–2006 (St. Louis, MO: Dordrecht, 2011)Google Scholar
  18. 13b.
    Clive Archer, ‘Greenland, US Bases and Missile Defence’, Cooperation and Conflict 38, no. 2 (2003).Google Scholar
  19. 14.
    For example, Dahl, US Policy; Ann-Sofie Dahl, ‘Security in the Nordic-Baltic Region: From Cold War to a Unipolar World’, in Northern Security and Global Politics: Nordic-Baltic Strategic Influence in a post-Unipolar World, ed. Ann-Sofie Dahl and Pauli Järven-pää (London: Routledge, 2014)Google Scholar
  20. 14a.
    Jussi M. Hanhimäki, Scandinavia and the United States: An Insecure Friendship (New York, NY: Twayne, 1997).Google Scholar
  21. 15.
    The primary sources are mainly US statements and interviews conducted by the author in Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  22. 16.
    In the burden-sharing literature, some studies assess contributions of individual states in Northern Europe, yet concentrate on their contributions to military operations, and not the full spectrum of security export (and import), or the full region, as identified here. Janne Haaland Matlary, ‘Norway: Militarily Able but Politically Divided’, in NATO’s European Allies: Military Capability and Political Will, ed. Janne Haaland Matlary and Magnus Petersson (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 16a.
    Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, ‘Punching above Its Weight: Denmark’s Legitimate Peripheral Participation in NATO’s Wars’, in NATO’s European Allies: Military Capability and Political Will, ed. Janne Haaland Matlary and Magnus Petersson (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).Google Scholar
  24. 17.
    Geir Lundestad, America, Scandinavia, and the Cold War 1945–1949 (Oslo: Universitets-forlaget, 1980), 69.Google Scholar
  25. 18.
    Olav Riste, ‘“The Missing Dimension”: The Diplomatic History of Intelligence’, in Intelligence in the Cold War: Organisation, Role and International Cooperation, ed. Lars Christian Jenssen and Olav Riste (Oslo, Norway: Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, 2001), 146.Google Scholar
  26. 19.
    Robert Dalsjö, Life-Line Lost: The Rise and Fall of ‘Neutral’ Sweden’s Secret Reserve Option of Wartime Help from the West (Stockholm, Sweden: Santérus, 2006), 198.Google Scholar
  27. 20.
    Ibid., 258.Google Scholar
  28. 21.
    Hanhimäki, Scandinavia and the United States, 21-9.Google Scholar
  29. 22.
    Ibid., 95.Google Scholar
  30. 23.
    Dahl, US Policy, 47.Google Scholar
  31. 24.
    Ibid., 63-4.Google Scholar
  32. 25.
    North Atlantic Treaty Organization, ‘The North Atlantic Cooperation Council’, NATO Online Library, October 20, 2011, (accessed August 19, 2015).Google Scholar
  33. 26.
    Andrew F. Cooper and Kim R. Nossal, ‘The Middle Powers in the Gulf Coalition: Australia, Canada, and the Nordics Compared’, in Friends in Need: Burden Sharing in the Persian Gulf War, ed. Andrew Bennett, Joseph Lepgold, and Danny Unger (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 1997), 269–70.Google Scholar
  34. 27.
    Ibid., 272 and 286.Google Scholar
  35. 28.
    Ibid., 275-6.Google Scholar
  36. 29.
    George H.W. Bush, ‘Toasts at the State Dinner for Queen Margrethe II of Denmark’, The American Presidency Project, February 20, 1991, (accessed August 19, 2015)Google Scholar
  37. 29a.
    George H.W. Bush, ‘Remarks at the Departure Ceremony for Prime Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden’, The American Presidency Project, February 20, 1992, (accessed August 19, 2015).Google Scholar
  38. 30.
    Cooper and Nossal, ‘The Middle Powers’, 281.Google Scholar
  39. 31.
    Rebecca R. Moore, NATO’s New Mission: Projecting Stability in a post-Cold War World (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007).Google Scholar
  40. 32.
    Jacob Børresen, Gullow Gjeseth, and Rolf Tamnes, Allianseforsvar i endring: 1970–2000, vol. 5, Norsk forsvarshistorie [Norwegian Defense History] (Bergen: Eide, 2004).Google Scholar
  41. 33.
    United States of America and Norway, ‘Memorandum of Understanding Governing Prestockage and Reinforcement of Norway’, June 8, 2005, (accessed August 19, 2015).Google Scholar
  42. 34.
    US Embassy in Oslo, ‘U.S. Marines to Modernize Equipment Stored in Norwegian Prepositioning Caves’, Embassy News, August 7, 2014, (accessed August 19, 2015).Google Scholar
  43. 35.
    Ingrid Lundestad, ‘US Security Policy in the Arctic since 1981: American Strategy, Russian Relationship’ (PhD Dissertation in History, University of Oslo, 2013), 100.Google Scholar
  44. 36.
    Archer, ‘Greenland’.Google Scholar
  45. 37.
    Department of State, ‘The Secretary’s November 16 Meeting with Icelandic Foreign Minister David Oddson (O 182104 Z NOV 04)’, (Released in part through the Freedom of Information Act, 2004-11-16); Lundestad, ‘US Security Policy’.Google Scholar
  46. 38.
    Valur Ingimundarson, ‘Iceland’s Security Identity Dilemma: The End of a U.S. Military Presence’, Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 31, no. 1 (2007).Google Scholar
  47. 39.
    Ingrid Lundestad, ‘US Security Policy and Regional Relations in a Warming Arctic’, Swords and Ploughshares XVII, no. 3 (2009).Google Scholar
  48. 40.
    ‘President: Dialogue with USA doesn’t portend NATO intentions’, Yle, October 5, 2013, 97 (accessed August 19, 2015). With Iceland’s lack of defence capabilities, the discussion of US military engagement primarily concerns the seven other countries of the Nordic-Baltic region.
  49. 41.
    Strobe Talbott, ‘Opening Doors and Building Bridges in the New Europe: Address to the Paasikivi Society, Helsinki, Finland’, US Department of State, January 21, 1998, (accessed August 19, 2015).Google Scholar
  50. 42.
    Interview with Walter B. Slocombe, Washington, DC, April 8, 2014.Google Scholar
  51. 43.
    Dahl, US Policy, 96.Google Scholar
  52. 44.
    Ibid., 64-5.Google Scholar
  53. 45.
    Hâkon Lunde Saxi, ‘Norwegian and Danish Defence Policy: A Comparative Study of the Post-Cold War Era’, Defence and Security Studies 1 (2010)Google Scholar
  54. 45a.
    see also Magnus Petersson and Håkon Lunde Saxi, ‘Shifted Roles: Explaining Danish and Norwegian Alliance Strategy 1949–2009’, Journal of Strategic Studies 36, no. 6 (2013).Google Scholar
  55. 46.
    David Halberstam, War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton and the Generals (London: Bloomsbury, 2003).Google Scholar
  56. 47.
    Hallams and Schreer, ‘Towards a “Post-American” Alliance?’, 316.Google Scholar
  57. 48.
    Charles A. Kupchan, The End of the American Era: U S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-First Century (New York, NY: Random House, 2002), 213–15.Google Scholar
  58. 49.
    Saxi, ‘Norwegian and Danish Defence Policy’, 36-8.Google Scholar
  59. 50.
    Dahl, US Policy, 97.Google Scholar
  60. 51.
    Ibid., 99-100Google Scholar
  61. 52.
    Norwegian Embassy in London, ‘Norway to Assist in Removing Chemical Weapons from Syria’, [undated], (accessed August 19, 2015).
  62. 53.
    Peter Viggo Jakobsen, Nordic Approaches to Peace Operations: A New Model in the Making? (London and New York, NY: Routledge, 2006), 212–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 54.
    William J. Clinton, ‘Remarks at a Luncheon for Nordic Leaders’, The American Presidency Project, April 28, 2000, (accessed August 19, 2015)Google Scholar
  64. 54a.
    The White House, ‘Remark by the President at Charter Signing Ceremony’, Clinton Presidential Library, January 16, 1998, (accessed August 19, 2015).Google Scholar
  65. 55.
    Matlary, ‘Norway’, 285.Google Scholar
  66. 56.
    Interview with Ian Brzezinski, Washington, DC, April 23, 2014.Google Scholar
  67. 57.
    Interview with Thomas G. Mahnken, Washington, DC, November 3, 2014.Google Scholar
  68. 58.
    Gates, ‘The Security and Defense Agenda’.Google Scholar
  69. 59.
    Helene F. Widerberg, ‘Rallying for Reassurance: A Study of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Diplomacy’, European Security 24, no. 2 (2015).Google Scholar
  70. 60.
    Ibid., 196.Google Scholar
  71. 61.
    Mark Kramer, ‘Russia, the Baltic Region, and the Challenge for NATO’, Ponars Eurasia Policy Memo 267 (2013), (accessed August 19, 2015).
  72. 62.
    The White House, ‘Fact Sheet: U.S. Support and Reassurance Initiatives for the Baltics and Central Europe’, Office of the Press Secretary, September 3, 2014, (accessed August 20, 2015)Google Scholar
  73. 62a.
    The White House, ‘Fact Sheet: European Reassurance Initiative and Other U.S. Efforts in Support of NATO Allies and Partners’, June 3, 2014, (accessed August 20, 2015).Google Scholar
  74. 63.
    Jeff Schogol, ‘U.S. Army Europe Looks to Add 100 More Armored Vehicles’, Army Times, November 24, 2014, (accessed August 19, 2015).Google Scholar
  75. 64.
    The White House, ‘Fact Sheet: U.S. Support’.Google Scholar
  76. 65.
    Hagel quoted in Jim Garamone, ‘Hagel Urges European NATO Members to Boost Defense Budgets’, American Forces Press Service (June 4, 2014), 122404 (accessed August 20, 2015).Google Scholar
  77. 66.
    The White House, ‘Fact Sheet: U.S. Support’.Google Scholar
  78. 67.
  79. 68.
    In terms of non-US cooperation, Nordic defence cooperation (NORDEFCO) is relevant, having facilitated a declaration of solidarity among the Nordic countries, from 2011. This, however, does not make arrangements a formal defence alliance, with a security guarantee similar to NATO’s article 5. Norden, Norden vil videreutvikle forsvarssamarbeid’ [The Nordic Countries Want to Expand Defense Cooperation], September 30, 2013, (accessed August 19, 2015).
  80. 69.
    Department of State, ‘History of the Deparment of State During the Clinton Presidency (1993–2001)’, [undated], (accessed August 19, 2015).
  81. 70.
    Richard Holbrooke, ‘Robert C. Frasure Lecture: Speech of Richard Holbrooke’, Embassy of the United States in Estonia, April 1, 1998, (accessed August 19, 2015).Google Scholar
  82. 71.
    Interview with Keith C. Smith, Washington, DC, April 14, 2014.Google Scholar
  83. 72.
    Holbrooke, ‘Robert C. Frasure Lecture’.Google Scholar
  84. 73.
    Ronald D. Asmus and Robert C. Nurick, ‘NATO Enlargement and the Baltic States’, Survival 38, no. 2 (1996), 121 and 135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. 74.
    Browning, ‘A Multi-dimensional Approach’, 89.Google Scholar
  86. 75.
    Holbrooke, ‘Robert C. Frasure Lecture’.Google Scholar
  87. 76.
    The White House, ‘Remark by the President at Charter Signing Ceremony’.Google Scholar
  88. 77.
    Interview with Daniel S. Hamilton, Washington, DC, November 4, 2014.Google Scholar
  89. 78.
    Talbott, ‘Opening Doors’.Google Scholar
  90. 79.
    Strobe Talbott, The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2008).Google Scholar
  91. 80.
    Asmus and Nurick, ‘NATO Enlargement’, 133.Google Scholar
  92. 81.
    Holbrooke, ‘Robert C. Frasure Lecture’.Google Scholar
  93. 82.
    Interview Hamilton.Google Scholar
  94. 83.
    Interview with Damian Leader, Washington, DC, October 31, 2014.Google Scholar
  95. 84.
    Interview Leader.Google Scholar
  96. 85.
    Interview Smith.Google Scholar
  97. 86.
    Browning, A Multi-dimensional Approach’, 88.Google Scholar
  98. 87.
    Talbott, ‘Opening Doors’.Google Scholar
  99. 88.
    Browning, A Multi-dimensional Approach’.Google Scholar
  100. 89.
    Interview Leader.Google Scholar
  101. 90.
    Heather Conley quoted in Hearing before the Subcommittee on Europe, Committee on International Relations, US House of Representatives, The U.S. and Northern Europe: The E-PINE Initiative, April 21, 2004.Google Scholar
  102. 91.
    David J. Smith et al., The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (London: Routledge, 2002), 139.Google Scholar
  103. 92.
    Heather Conley quoted in The U.S. and Northern Europe, 6.Google Scholar
  104. 93.
    Dahl, US Policy, 85-6.Google Scholar
  105. 94.
    Conley quoted in The U.S. and Northern Europe, 6.Google Scholar
  106. 95.
    Interview with Heather A. Conley, Washington DC, April 4, 2014.Google Scholar
  107. 96.
    Interview Conley.Google Scholar
  108. 97.
    Interview Conley.Google Scholar
  109. 98.
    Interview Conley.Google Scholar
  110. 99.
    Conley quoted in The U.S. and Northern Europe, 34.Google Scholar
  111. 100.
    Interview Conley.Google Scholar
  112. 101.
    Interview with F. Stephen Larrabee, Arlington, VA, October 31, 2014.Google Scholar
  113. 102.
    Interview Hamilton.Google Scholar
  114. 103.
    Jonas Gahr Store, ‘Norge som fredsnasjon: myte eller virkelighet?’ [Norway as a Nation of Peace: Myth or Reality?], April 24, 2006, (accessed August 19, 2015)Google Scholar
  115. 103a.
    see also Lene (Kristoffersen) Ekhaugen, ‘Interesser i norsk engasjementspolitikk’ [Interests in Norwegian Engagement Policy], Oslo Files on Defense and Security 4 (2009).Google Scholar
  116. 104.
    Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, ‘Joint Statement by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden on Nordic Foreign and Security Cooperation: Building Security in a Comprehensive Manner’, February 12, 2014, (accessed August 19, 2015).
  117. 105.
    The White House, ‘Joint Statement by Kingdom of Denmark, Republic of Finland, Republic of Iceland, Kingdom of Norway, Kingdom of Sweden, and the United States of America’, Office of the Press Secretary, September 4, 2013, (accessed August 19, 2015).Google Scholar
  118. 106.
    US Department of State, ‘Assistant Secretary Crocker Travel to Geneva and Copenhagen’, April 17, 2015, (accessed March 7, 2016).Google Scholar
  119. 107.
    US Embassy in Oslo, ‘State’s Talwar at Norwegian American Defense Conference’, April 17, 2015, (accessed March 7, 2016).Google Scholar
  120. 108.
    Quoted in ibid.Google Scholar
  121. 109.
  122. 110.
    US Department of State, ‘U.S.-Nordic-Baltic Political-Military Dialogue’, November 24, 2015, (accessed March 7, 2016).Google Scholar
  123. 111.
    The White House, ‘Remarks by President Obama to the People of Estonia’, September 3, 2014, (accessed August 20, 2015).Google Scholar
  124. 112.
    Hillary R. Clinton, ‘America’s Pacific Century’, Foreign Policy, November 2011, (accessed August 19, 2015); Department of Defense, ‘Sustaining U.S. Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense’, January 2012, (accessed August 20, 2015).Google Scholar
  125. 113.
    Philip H. Gordon, ‘The State of Transatlantic Relations’, DipNote: U.S. Department of State Official Blog, February 15, 2012, (accessed August 19, 2015).Google Scholar
  126. 114.
    Daniel Halper, ‘Danish TV Host Mocks Obama for his Rhetoric’, The Weekly Standard, March 23, 2012, (accessed August 20, 2015).Google Scholar
  127. 115.
    Interview Mahnken.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Institute for Defence StudiesNorwegian Defence University CollegeOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations