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It would be naive to say that our special relationship has not experienced strong forces for change in the past 20 years. The end of the Cold War vastly lessened the imminent security threats within Europe and on Norway’s border. The relationship of both Norway and the United States to Russia has changed dramatically and continues to evolve. Norway’s immense oil wealth and its position as a global energy supplier have created both a new sense of independence and enormous economic interests to protect. Importantly, as generations pass, the fundamental ties of heritage with the U.S. also become slowly, but inevitably, diluted.
So I must ask – no, we must ask – does our historic special relationship have meaning in the 21st century – or is it a vestige of the past? As sovereign nations, Norway and the U.S. have a right to strike their own course. Nations must choose very carefully where their strongest ties will be because special relationships require serious commitments of energy, resources, and sometimes, sacrifice. No nation can be all things to all countries.
Norway is viewed as a trusted, non-threatening advocate for peace and development, while the U.S. brings to bear its global reach and the weight of a superpower.
Maintaining such a 21st century partnership will demand more of us than in the past. We will have to work at it. How? To start, we must combat the dilution of our people-to-people ties. Mutual understanding only comes through direct experience of one another. Norway must appreciate that America is more than SUVs, Desperate Housewives, and Oprah. The U.S. must appreciate that Norway is more than sweaters, trolls and ski jumpers.
The renowned Norwegian architect Henrik Bull designed and built the Residence in 1911 for Hans Andreas Olsen, then Norwegian Consul General at St. Petersburg, and his wife, Esther Wilhelmine Olsen, the niece of Alfred Nobel.
When Mrs. Olsen sold the house and land to the United States government in 1924, its $125,000 price made it the most expensive official American Residence abroad, and the purchase required explicit Congressional approval.
Originally posted by Vaak
Question: What do you US guys know of Norway?