Cablegate: Norway: Missle Defense Public Diplomacy and Outreach
DE RUEHNY #0248/01 0721618
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 131618Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY OSLO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5336
INFO RUEHXP/ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI IMMEDIATE 7889
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM IMMEDIATE 3048
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000248
STATE FOR EUR/NCE, EUR/PRA MAZEVEDO EUR/PPD
TCORN VCI/MDSP STEVEN ROSENKRANTZ.
NSC PASS TO MAHAYARD.
DEFENSE PASS TO MDA NANCY MORGAN.
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/13/2013
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR
SUBJECT: NORWAY: MISSLE DEFENSE PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND OUTREACH
REF: A. SECSTATE 30480
B. OSLO 177
C. OSLO 184
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Kevin M. Johnson for reasons 1.4 b and d
1. (C) Summary: As reported in ref b and c, Norway,s government remains opposed in principle to missile defenses writ large and skeptical of U.S. plans to base missile installations in Central Europe. Embassy Oslo continues to engage with media, government and think tank researchers to present the facts on our missile defense plans and to encourage Norwegians to rethink their reaction to missile defense plans and to speak out against Russian mischaracterizations and complaints. Our outreach has been successful in presenting the facts of the issue to a limited audience but general skepticism among political elites on missile defense combined with disinterest from the public have hindered our efforts to have the GON make public statements on this issue. End Summary
2. (C) The GON,s opposition to missile defenses is clearly stated in the policy platform forming the basis for the current coalition. Some coalition members (from Labor) have a nuanced position in private, distinguishing between what the U.S. has proposed and false Russian claims. Others (Socialist Left and some from the Labor Party) are more strongly opposed to any missile defense plans as a threat to disarmament and uninterested in distinguishing between types of missile defense. There is no appetite among politicians to begin a national debate on missile defenses, particularly as the Norwegian public has little or no perception of a threat or interest in missile defense plans, and partly due to desires to avoid a new defense argument within the coalition on the heels of a decisive debate over Afghanistan special forces deployment. Most reactions to the issue are based on Cold War plans and analysis. While experts in government understand the limited nature of our plans, there is no indication that their political leaders will risk raising an unpopular issue by responding to Russia on missile defense plans. In addition to arguing that merits of our case we are pressing interlocutors within and without the GON to at a minimum counter Russian misstatements and distinguish Norways position from Russias to avoid damaging alliance solidarity.
3. (C) Our outreach this far includes:
--DCM lunch with National Security Advisor
--Charge meeting with the Deputy Defense Minister,
--Charge meeting with the Directors of the MOD and MFA
security policy sections,
--Charge meeting with the chair of Parliament,s defense committee,
--Charge meeting with the head of the transatlantic center at a influential defense institute, and
--Charge publishing two opinion pieces in Norway,s largest newspapers on missile defense,
--briefings to working level contacts in MOD and MFA,
--briefings to several prominent journalists and researchers on missile defense,
--contact with local allied embassies to coordinate
approaches on public outreach on missile defense and the larger issue of encouraging the GON to respond to misleading and provocative Russian statements.
4. (C) Planned outreach includes:
-- DCM March 14 lunch with the leader of the Conservative Party
--DCM scheduled meetings with the President of Norway,s Parliament,
--DCM meeting with the vice chair of the Parliament,s foreign policy committee,
--continued briefings for MOD and at prominent think tanks,
--DATT brief for the Norwegian National Defense College.
--continued engagement of leading journalists (including the columnist whose article sparked the discussion of the issue here in Norway) to encourage them to present a broader picture of the issue, with equal focus on Russian attempts to undermine alliance solidarity.
--requested visit to Oslo (or DVC) by U.S. missile defense experts.
5. (C) It is very unlikely that the GON will reverse its stated opposition to missile defenses. We will continue our outreach efforts to present the facts of the plan, encourage deeper analysis of missile defense in government and think tanks, and highlight the damage of not responding to Russia,s statements threatening NATO allies. We hope to spark a deeper look at this issue and the development of a coherent and logical Norwegian response. A shift of the broader public opinion is deemed not immediately likely but influencing political elites is within reach. We believe focus on Russias threats to the alliance will resonate with the Norwegians general wariness towards their large neighbor.
6. (SBU) Embassy Oslo POC for overall Missile Defense issues is Political/ Economic Officer George Noll, XXXXXXXXXXXX, e-mail XXXXXXXXXXXX. POC for Public Diplomacy efforts is Kirk Samson, XXXXXXXXXXXX, e-mail XXXXXXXXXXXX.