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Norway, an Exemplar of NATO Burden-Sharing

What the Alliance Can Learn From Oslo

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg attends a NATO parliamentary meeting, October 12, 2015. Carina Johansen / Reuters

Throughout his unorthodox presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly criticized Washington’s European allies for failing to adequately contribute to NATO. Although the president-elect’s statements raised hackles in the United States and Europe, he did bring up important questions about whether the U.S.-established international order—with its global security guarantees—had disproportionally benefitted allies in Europe and Asia, all on the United States’ dime.

As a founding member of NATO, Norway is not one of those free riders Trump implicated. Norway has certainly benefitted from U.S. security guarantees and has, in the process, transformed itself from an impoverished nation, at the end of World War II, to one of the world’s richest today. But over the past few decades, Norway has prioritized its strategic relationship with Washington and now stands out as one of its most reliable allies.

For one, Norway has played a leadership role

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