Denmark has recently tried to show strength on the international scenario, but it only means submission to the US. Writes Lucas Leiroz
Apparently, Denmark is interested in assuming a more active involvement in the conflicts on the European continent, but this can lead the country to make risky decisions in the name of interests that are not its own. According to information from the Danish Ministry of Defense, a 140 meter long frigate is about to be sent to the North Atlantic as part of a special NATO mission.
The mission’s objective is to “deter” Russia through a joint naval operation of Western alliance’s countries. Together with vessels from other countries, the Danish frigate will form a kind of “ring of protection” in the North Atlantic. Canada, France, Spain and the Netherlands have also announced that they will be reserving some of their naval equipment to assist the US Navy in this operation. According to military analyst Mads Korsager, the Danish action reflects the “desire to contribute to the deterrence of Russia”, in addition to being a “signal of friendship” to the Americans.
In the same sense, Danish Navy commander, Carsten Fjord-Larsen, said that this mission will be a “golden opportunity” to train the country’s forces and demonstrate that Denmark has a military potential on equal footing with other states.
It is speculated that at least135 Danish soldiers will be sent aboard the frigate. Long-range radar systems, 76mm and 35mm cannons, machine-gun, torpedoes and a long list of specific missiles for marine and air targets will also be sent. There is also the possibility of helicopters being allocated on the frigate. In addition to naval equipment, Danish F-16 fighter jets are included in the aid sent by the country.
Despite bold, the decision it is not surprising. Denmark has previously participated in some similar missions, employing its naval forces to assist foreign troops in NATO projects abroad. For example, Danish frigates supported US and European forces on missions in the Horn of Africa, Syria and the Strait of Hormuz. Among other functions designated to Danish vessels, the main one in most cases was to work in the protection of American and French aircraft carriers.
This time, the Danish mission, in addition to helping to protect allied vessels, will be to monitor the movements of Russian nuclear submarines, avoiding a possible approach to the NATO ring. According to Korsager, the main monitoring targets will be the Russian Navy’ equipment that circulates in the region departing from the Kola Peninsula, where nuclear submarines would be located.
It should also be noted that the decision is taken in the context of a recent attempt on the part of Denmark to raise the country’s international status. For example, earlier this year, around 750 Danish soldiers were deployed to Latvia, making the country maintain its current biggest mission abroad. However, this attempt of international military projection does not necessarily reflect the country’s real potential. Danish authorities even condemned the mission in Latvia, considering it unprepared and poorly planned. There were reports that Danish soldiers had run out of supplies and ammunition, interrupting the drills for lack of material conditions to proceed with the project – which clearly reveals that the Danish government is trying to make the country look like something that does not correspond to the reality.
The current crisis situation in Europe and tensions between NATO and Russia worsen this scenario. Washington encourages Europe to appear strong and united, funding military operations that gather troops and equipment from different NATO countries with the supposed aim of “dissuading” Russia. The Danish Defense Minister, Morten Bødskov, even commented that his country’s decision to send troops was stimulated precisely by this desire to show that Europe is strong in “times of war” and that it will not accept any “invasion” or “military threat”
In practice, this only reveals that once again European forces are mobilizing for unnecessary militarization in the name of false narratives that serve only US interests. After all, there is no reason to believe that there is such a thing as a “Russian threat” to Europe. Moscow’s military operations are territorially restricted to Ukraine and there is no evidence of expanding incursions. So, NATO operation is just aimed at demonstrating force, with no real sense of “protection” against the Russians.
Obviously, it is Denmark’s right to want to “look strong” in the world arena. But it is prudent that the decisions taken by a government correspond to its real potential. Mobilizing troops for a new NATO mega-operation after the failure seen months ago in Latvia will not make Denmark ” look stronger”, it will only reveal how willing the country is to meet American demands even when they do not match its national interests.
Lucas Leiroz, researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.