Geopolitical thoughts on Scandinavia: A ‘coastal zone’ drowning in the Sea

Mads Jacobsen
Master of Social Science in Development and International Relationst (Aalborg University, Denmark).

From a geopolitical point of view Scandinavia is a part of the European “Rimland”, “coastal zone”, caught between the between the Atlanticist and Eurasian poles. This is supported by the fact that the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) seem to have have been more closely linked to thalassocracy than tellurocratic tendencies throughout their history since the Viking Age. They were thalassocratic in the sense that dominion of the sea was used as a basis for political and economic power. During the Middle Ages, Denmark-Norway had mercantile networks and relations stretching from Normandy, the British Isles and Greenland. Sweden-Finland, while also possessing a strong fleet used to dominate the Baltic Sea, were looking more to the East, towards the Eurasian Heartland. Later, during the era of European imperialism and colonialism throughout the world, Denmark-Norway established colonies in the Caribbean, Africa and India — and would come into conflict with other rivaling Sea-based civilizations such as the British Empire. Sweden also had minor overseas colonial possessions but they never materialized to much, instead they focused on dominating the Baltic Sea and Northeastern Europe — which brought them into conflict with Russia.

Historically there has been a divergence within Scandinavia concerning the poles to which the Nordic countries have turned. Sweden has been at war with Russia on several occasions spanning from the period of the Muscovite state to, almost, the end of the Russian Empire. Often the wars between Sweden and Russia were caused due to geopolitical disagreements over the control of the territories of Finland and Estonia, which both saw a strategic advantage in holding, as well as having access and control of the trading routes in the Baltic Sea. The clash between Sweden, which relied on a powerful navy (thalassocratic character), and Russia, as the pole of tellurocracy, would be have been inevitable following the basic idea of traditional geopolitics e.g. the Sea against the Land.

Denmark and Norway, which have constituted a single state for a long period, have had historically good relations with Russia; starting from the alliance in 1493 between the Muscovite state, under Ivan III of Russia, and the Kalmar Union, under King John of Denmark. The good relations would continue until the end of the Russian Empire, and it is worth pointing out that the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna of Russia, the mother of Saint Tsar Nicolas II, was a Danish princess. The Danish-Russian relationship can also be attributed to the fact that Denmark and Sweden, after the latter left the Kalmar Union in the sixtieth-century, were local-regional competitors. So, geopolitically, Denmark-Norway, despite being a mostly thalassocratic power, aligned with tellurocratic Russia in order to create a mutually beneficial balance of power in the Baltic Sea region against the Swedish Empire.

With the French Revolution, and the spread of liberal ideas and chauvinistic-bourgeois nationalism springing there from, things started to change in Scandinavia. Denmark’s clashes with the British Empire, the Atlanticist superpower at the time, in the early 1800’s led to bankruptcy and the loss of Norway to Sweden in 1814, and later Prussia would annex Southern Jutland in 1864. Thus, Denmark was in conflict with the most powerful regional thalassocratic and tellurocratic poles in Europe; with Britain controlling the sea and the trade routes around Denmark, and Prussia seeking to control the periphery surrounding her. Sweden lost Finland to Russia in 1809 but, as stated above, gained Norway a few years later.

Not until the end of the Second World War would Scandinavia significantly fall under the influence of one the dominant geopolitical poles, namely the USA, the new Atlanticist hegemon, which became the heir of the British Empire after the latter had exhausted herself during the war.

Scandinavia, with the exception of Finland, accepted the Marshall Plan, US foreign aid and loans given to Western Europe after the war on the condition of accepting the liberal democratic system, the free market economy and the values propagated by America. This way, the Atlanticists in the USA opened the door to spread their influence and secure an ideological and economic foothold in the region. These initiatives laid the foundation to what would later become the European Union (EU).

The Atlanticist grip tightened on Western Europe and Scandinavia with the creation of the transatlantic military alliance NATO in 1949. Denmark, Norway and Iceland were founding members and have since been active participants, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union, in international missions against the perceived enemies of West, and the enforcement of ‘universal’ human rights in and around Europe.
Western Europe and Scandinavia — the ‘Rimland’ — thus became completely flooded by the Sea-based Atlanticist hegemon.

The European Union (EU), of which Denmark, Sweden and Finland are members, could have functioned as an independent civilizational pole in a multipolar international system had it not been completely subordinated to Atlanticist interest. And so, it is clear that Europe’s acceptance of Atlanticist instutions, organizations and hegemony — especially in Western Europe — has led to the total desovereignization of all the participating European states, despite them being thalassocratic or tellurocratic in nature, to the advantage of the unipolar, Atlanticist aspirations of the bringing forth the “end of history” through a “New World Order”.

Today, Scandinavia primarily functions as a containment bloc against Russia in the Baltic Sea and towards the Arctic Circle. Moreover, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have been directly complicit, despite Sweden not being a NATO member, in furthering the unipolar agenda of the USA starting from the 1990’s wars in the Western Balkans, to the “New American Century” goals for the Middle East and North Africa. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the bombing of Libya, and support for the USA’s goals in Syria were, and are, done with the help of the ruling governmental elites in the Scandinavian countries.

The continued Scandinavian, and for that matter European, situation regarding the regional subordination to Atlanticist, American interests is absolutely unacceptable. The EU is failing because it does not stand as an independent civilizational bloc build on the common roots, the ‘ethnos’, of its diverse, but still united, people. The EU is a body without a soul, and NATO is America’s armed wing in Europe, like a puppeteer and his puppet, used to further Atlanticist interests in the ‘coastal zones’ around its perceived enemies in Russia, the Eurasianist pole, and the Middle Eastern ‘Rimland’ which it is trying to flood.

Therefore, a new approach must be sought. For multipolarity to work, Europe must be free from American dominance, starting with the rejection and dissolution of NATO. And a ‘dialog between civilizations’ must be sought instead of the reigning ‘clash of civilizations’ mentality. The Visegrád Group countries in Central-Eastern Europe seems to be going in a more independent direction vis-a-vis the current Atlanticist oriented EU. Maybe Scandinavia, under the right circumstances, will be able to turn from the control of the USA and their mission of global liberal unipolarity, and instead embrace, and actively promote, the idea of multipolarity — which is the core of Eurasianism. The Scandinavian ‘coastal zone’ needs to see the danger of the Sea in which it is currently drowning and instead swim towards the shore. This is the only solution for future stability and the survival of the worlds unique civilizations in the international system.

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