Iceland's position in defense talks deteriorating Skip to content

Iceland’s position in defense talks deteriorating

Professor Michael Corgan, of Boston University, a specialist in International Security, U.S. Political Institutions, Icelandic Affairs and author of “Iceland and Its Alliances: Security for a Small State” told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, that Iceland’s position in the defense talks is deteriorating.

“Yes, and that strain has come about because of the extraordinary strains on the US military. The amount of overseas basing and overseas service from American service men has increased dramatically because of the strains of the war in Iraq on the military. All services including the Navy and the Air Force are looking at ways to reduce the amount of time that people spend anywhere overseas,” said Professor Corgan.

Professor Corgan told RÚV that no one believes that there is a threat of a traditional invasion of Iceland; neither do people believe that there is a threat to Denmark, a country that owns 51 fighter planes, nor to Holland,a country that owns 137 fighter planes, but history does not give unarmed and undefended grounds for optimism.

“Look what General Gaultier did for Argentina. Back in 1982, when his government was having domestic problems, he conceived and executed an attempt to take the Falkand Islands, those small and remote islands, from the British because that would be a way of further concentrating and solidifying his power. Would something like that happen in Russia? Probably not. With Valdimar Putin, I think he is wiser than that, but would his successor have the same sort of restraint or the same sort of inhibitions? We simply don’t know. So that one could argue that to dismantle a defense that seems to have worked might invite a very attack that has been for so long forestalled,” said Professor Corgan.

When asked whether there was a reason to have military forces in a country which threatens no one, a country which is surrounded by a large ocean and friendly nations, Professor Corgan, answered:

“Think of this. Every country in the world has military forces on its soil. The only real question is: whose military forces do you want? Yours? Somebody you can get a long with? Or somebody you don’t get along with?”

Professor Corgan is also a founding partner of the Center for Small State Studies at University of Iceland. His naval career includes working as a Political Adviser to the Commander of the Iceland Defense Air Force.

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