[Ed. – While it’s only partly/technically correct to say that Norway hasn’t let “foreign troops” be stationed there since WWII — foreign military personnel have been stationed there in handfuls around the country since Norway joined NATO — this is still a meaningful political move. It comes on top of a recent, large-scale prepositioning of battle equipment in old Cold War storage sites in Norway. As usual, Obama is slinging all this stuff around without setting it in the context of policy speeches about what it’s for. That latter point is called “diplomacy,” and Obama has actually done very little of it. Ostensibly, the 6-month USMC deployments are going to be about training for winter battle conditions. But (a) there’s nowhere we realistically expect to have to fight in such conditions, and (b) it would be cheaper and smarter to just train in Alaska — or Canada, if it comes to that. Critics can be forgiven for thinking this is all BS.]
Some 300 U.S. Marines landed in Norway on Monday for a six-month deployment, the first time since World War Two that foreign troops have been allowed to be stationed there, in a deployment which has irked Norway’s Arctic neighbor Russia.
Officials played down any link between the operation and NATO concerns over Russia, but the deployment coincides with the U.S. sending several thousand troops to Poland to beef up its Eastern European allies worried about Moscow’s assertiveness.
Marines from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina landed a little after 10 am CET (0900 GMT) at a snow-covered Vaernes airport near Trondheim, Norway’s third-largest city, where temperatures were reaching -2 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenheit).
U.S. troops are to stay in Norway for a year, with the current batch of Marines being replaced after their six-month tour is complete.