Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sweden is in a better security position outside NATO

In Sweden several bourgeois parties rapidly have changed opinion in the security and defense policy. And especially so in their attitude towards NATO and the possible abandonment of the policy of neutrality toward an active entry into the NATO defense alliance. Last in line among those side changes are formerly trusted Centre Party, whose party leadership (but not yet the party congress!) Now openly advocating a Swedish NATO membership. Against this, the two governing parties, the Social Democrats and the Green Party and the Left Party. The question that should be asked is: Has the non-aligned Sweden - as well as Finland - really anything to gain from that now that Putin's Russia appears increasingly aggressively challenging in the Baltic Sea and elsewhere really anything to be gained by further increasing the security policy tensions by now abandon its alliances and actively seek NATO membership !? And would similarly non-aligned Finland with its long land border with Putin's Russia gain by now join NATO !? Allow me to doubt that. It is true that Sweden and Finland to choose, as sovereign nations make their own decisions without regard for others. Russia, just as no other nation has this right to veto against us. We decide ourselves fully. But NATO membership for us - least of all now in this geopolitical situation of growing tension and uncertainty in our world - would now have consequences and hardly make Russia more friendly country if we would get NATO on a further like that 135-mile long directly overhead interface which hitherto had. What would be the consequence of this? Increased or decreased tension and threats? The answer is fairly given - a hefty increase in the risk of conflict, and this in turn would probably also require increased Swedish defense spending and other efforts. And the same would be the case for the Finnish part. Want a majority of Swedish and Finnish people really that !? Allow me to doubt. Quite another thing, however, that we - as the Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said (see DN 31.8) - to access the advanced concepts and platforms for training activities for the Air Force, Navy and Army have much to gain by having exercises with NATO in the context that benefits the Swedish defense and further sharpens its excellence. And it is fully compatible with continued non-aligned Sweden. The same applies to gradually increase and deepen defense cooperation with the non-aligned Finland on areas that are beneficial for both of us. One important explanation for the success of Sweden and the previous generation smart politicians balanced positions in government and parliament have benefited us well for many decades. Another factor of great importance in was the fact that Sweden in the war against Tsarist Russia in 1809, lost Finland. If Finland had continued to remain as Sweden's eastern region (as some of my Finnish friends usually say) Sweden had almost certainly not been able to avoid to be caught up in several wars in the 1900s (Finnish Winter 1939-40 and Continuation War,1941-44 etc.). We have nothing to be ashamed of this, but should instead be proud of Sweden testified alliances for peace. Just like Finland can also be for its non-aligned line since World War II. The geopolitical realities are what they are and Russia is not going anywhere. It can not conceivably away. But we should be proud of the favor that over 200 years of peace that we experienced. The lessons of this should we be afraid of and nurture well also in the 2000s now quite troubled world. Not headlong rush us into something - such as a more uncertain and tension-creating NATO membership - but with cool thoroughly evaluate what actually benefits us best also in the future. What then is the conclusion of this finding? Well, there's a better option for us than NATO membership. There is a continuing non-alignment in combination with - like government Löfven and Defense Hultqvist - increased and gradually intensified focus on Nordic defense cooperation. This is the Swedish joint exercises with other countries (Finland, Norway, but also the Baltic states and the US). And there is no greater drama in this. Among other things, that we determine when and how we will practice together from time to time and to further sharpen excellence in various branches of the Swedish Armed Forces. But for my part, I believe that a pure professional work is one of the thin base to successfully defend our independence and wide popular support needed for a good response to our defense and security policy. As previously unwise blunder with only three votes obesity in parliament in 2009 to abolish conscription must now be withdrawn and mandatory Compulsory military service and national service for both men and women introduced by the Swedish government and parliament. It would also be good to secure a broad popular commitment to the continued nonaligned defense policy. And Gotland should be protected and defended, it would aim more easily be realized with a reinstated mandatory Compulsory military service and national service. Just as Finland - and wisely - continued to be in contrast to Sweden. So take a lesson here, Sweden, and repeat and do it right !. So it is fairly fresh-partisan defense policy decision of Minister of Defence Hultqvist (S), have managed to reach, and which represents an 11 percent increase in defense spending in the years to 2020 is sensible and good. Especially if the investment is used to a strong demonstration on the protection of our borders with the attachment of a continued non-alignment of our security policy. Even better then the next step from the government and parliament site would become a near term introduced mandatory Compulsory military service and national service for men and women and that one does not fall away for the currently active pro-NATO lobbyists. Robert Björkenwall; (More to read,see my Current Servey: "Sweden: Defence and Security" in Defence& Security, Horn International,Oslo 2015)


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