Norwegian Wishful Thinking
The Kingdom of Norway appears to be a happy, successful country. It is a nice country in a world that is not nice. We need nice countries, so I hope they wake up soon. Meanwhile, the US needs to remain fully awake about Norway.
Norway is about the size of Montana and has a population of five million people, of which 12% are immigrants. They appear to be peace-loving and cooperative; they are with us in Afghanistan and they are a founding member of NATO as well as a large contributor to the United Nations. Their financial success comes from their wealth of natural resources. They have many social welfare programs including free universal health care and subsidized education.
Norway doesn't seem to anticipate much criminal conduct as the maximum criminal sentence is 21 years in prison. This can be fiddled with in 5-year increments if the person is a danger to society, but 14 years is generally the maximum anyone serves. After serving half of his or her sentence, the criminal can get supervised weekend passes. There is a 30-year sentence for "crimes against humanity" created to satisfy a treaty in 2008 and appears never to have been used.
Anders Behring Breivik didn't have much to lose when he slaughtered 77 unarmed Norwegians. He's a young man and will still be young when he gets out. I don't think he should see 21 more sunsets. Neither would other terrorists have much to lose by wreaking havoc in Norway, including the radical Islamic variety of terrorist. Think of it - if you get killed in the process of slaying a lot of Norwegian infidels, you go straight to the 70 virgins. If you get caught, it's "three hots and a cot" for 21 years, probably less. Norway is a juicy target.
In today's world, Norway is unprepared to defend itself. There are 23,000 people in their military and they have a weak criminal enforcement system. Evidence of this is that on the day of the massacre by Breivik, every policeman that knew how to fly a helicopter was on vacation. Our membership in NATO says that if Norway is attacked, the US has to act like we were attacked and leap into action. To quote Mark Steyn, "NATO is a military agreement among a bunch of countries that have no military" except the US, that is. Norway is not our only European fellow NATO member that is not mindful of the threats it faces. This is yet another reason to take a closer look at a geriatric NATO that has long outlived its charter - as if its embarrassing performance in Libya against an antiquated and corrupt military were not enough.
I'm not suggesting we tell Norway and other North Atlantic countries they are on their own. I'm saying we need a new arrangement for mutual support and security that makes sense in the face of modern threats.