Why Sweden joining NATO is not a good idea

Eduard Chmelár comments on Sweden’s decision to join NATO and stop being a neutral state after two hundred years.

Comment by Eduard Chmelár

This article was published on 16 May 2022 at the Czech media !Argument.

Overrunning Ukraine was the biggest political, military and strategic mistake of Vladimir Putin’s career. The world peace movement will never forgive him for literally resurrecting the North Atlantic Alliance, which was already in a state of clinical death, even in the words of French President Emmanuel Macron, and making it relevant again. He has thus put the brakes on the search for a new security architecture for the 21st century for a long, long time.

The creation of this architecture, despite the fierce opposition of the NATO supporters, is inevitable, only it will now take longer, more complicated and probably more tragic. For NATO’s militarist philosophy does not match the needs and threats facing the planet. In the panic that followed the outbreak of war in Ukraine, Putin prolonged the life of the North Atlantic Alliance and gave the militarists of all countries the best alibis for their perverse actions. This is to say nothing of the way in which he screwed Serbia by asking the West to recognise an independent Donbass in exchange for recognition of Kosovo, which is rightly felt in Belgrade as a betrayal.

Finland and Sweden’s application to join NATO also fits into this general hysteria. Although the two countries are presented in the media as twins in this process, their motives are different.

Finland has a border with Russia of over 1 300 kilometres and complicated historical relations. It was conquered by Tsar Alexander I of Russia in 1809 and lost its independence for over a century. When Finland declared independence after the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin immediately recognised it, but it was attacked twice by Stalin during the Second World War and had to give up ten per cent of its territory. The Finns were effectively forced into neutrality, notably by the 1948 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance with the Soviet Union, which cut them off militarily from Europe.

Sweden’s policy of neutrality has been historically successful

It is a different story with Sweden. Sweden has been neutral since the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1814, making it not only the oldest neutral country in the world, but also the country with the longest-lasting peace in human history. It is a proven fact that Sweden has kept the peace precisely because of its neutrality, which the NATO propagandists constantly try to question and falsify. They point, in particular, to the specific Belgian case and claim that neutrality does not actually work. This is a deliberate misrepresentation; the Swedish experience is quite different.

It is therefore incomprehensible that a country that has built up a two-hundred-year tradition (and, let us emphasise, a very successful one, both domestically and in foreign policy) should give up this precious asset without any in-depth discussion, after intense pressure from the United States and in an atmosphere of international political hysteria in a matter of weeks. It was the Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson herself who, only two months ago, was explaining to the public that Sweden’s application to NATO would destabilise northern Europe, that such an important decision should only be taken in times of calm, that predictability is one of the greatest virtues of security policy.

Finally, the rhetoric of the two brotherly states is also different – while the Finnish President explicitly stated in his conversation with Putin that his homeland is joining NATO for his sake, the Swedish Prime Minister, on the contrary, assures that it is not for Russia’s sake. So what is it because of?

To join NATO is to abandon the legacy of Olof Palme

Another important argument against Sweden joining NATO is its long-standing strong commitment against nuclear weapons, which is a fundamental pillar of Swedish foreign policy. However, NATO is a nuclear alliance and to join it is to accept its nuclear weapons doctrine. That is why the former Minister for Development Aid, Pierre Schori, recalled the message of the assassinated Prime Minister Olof Palme, who, forty years ago, warned against considering joining NATO, saying that ‘the nuclear-armed states will always hold us hostage’.

Olof Palme, the Prime Minister of Sweden between 1969 and 1976 and again between 1982 and 1986. Source.

It was the Swedish Social Democrats who, during forty years of uninterrupted rule, promoted and maintained a policy of ‘middle ground’ between the rival superpowers, the USA and the USSR.

The world is losing its balance.

Today, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde naively thinks that Sweden’s NATO membership “will have a dampening effect on conflicts in Europe.” The opposite is true. I have written before that NATO expansion is something of a pyramid game from a security point of view, and all the great geopolitical strategists from George Kennan to Henry Kissinger have warned of the risks in this sense. In vain. Today we are reaping the consequences of this disastrous policy.

Pope Francis also warned that the real cause of this war was the expansion of NATO – and it is interesting that he has since been ignored by the major American media, and all the politicians who falsely claimed to be behind him no longer claim to be behind him. And yet we have imposed yet more North Atlantic Alliance, yet more armaments and yet more militarism on a sick planet. That is why I would argue that in Ukraine we have all earned ourselves a much bigger problem than it seems – a problem that will not end in victory for one side or the other, that we are still not solving, and that, in hindsight, we will judge that the Ukrainian war was only the beginning. The Sarajevo of the 21st century.

I am afraid that the Swedes themselves are unable to understand the consequences of such a policy today. They are acting impulsively, even if logically from their point of view. A recovery from this euphoria is inevitable. The Swedes will find this out the moment they are locked into a military alliance with Turkey and the US, which have diametrically different foreign policy objectives to Stockholm and with which they will have to undertake operations that Sweden will not agree to. Just remember how Stockholm protested when NATO took control of the international ISAF forces occupying Afghanistan in 2003.

The Swedes will get a second icy shower the moment they realise that Brussels will force them to increase their low military spending by a hundred per cent and that they will have no money to fund their generous social programmes.

After all, the Swedes themselves are not very enthusiastic about joining NATO. Many take it to mean that they have no choice, if that is what they decided in Helsinki, because they are militarily tied to Finland. Yes, the North Atlantic Alliance will be stronger and more confident militarily with Finland and Sweden, but that should not satisfy us, because there will not be fewer wars, but more. The world is losing its equilibrium, and that means that the current solution is temporary and conflict with the Eastern powers is inevitable.

I am therefore afraid that the Nordic countries have contributed, by this action, to a more or less illusory sense of their own security, but not to world peace.

Cover photo: Sweden and Finland representatives welcome in Washington, where they came to discuss their NATO application. Source: Office of the Vice-President of the US.

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De la neutralitate la spațiu-tampon: Finlanda membră NATO

Criza actuală nu mai este o spirală a dilemei de securitate, ci un “vortex” care atrage pe toată lumea și totul, fără posibilitatea de a gândi ceva în mod substanțial șicu  calm. În acest nou (și, sperăm, rece) război fără „gentelmeni”, fără oameni de stat cu o viziune de viitor și idei noi și fără reguli clare, Finlanda – o țară până acum neutră, se va transforma acum într-un alt stat-tampon de partea Statelor Unite în Europa de Est

Veronika Susova-Salminen

Acest articol a fost publicat la 17 mai 2022 pe site-ul ceh Argument.

Finlanda se îndreaptă, fără prea multe surprize, spre aderarea la Organizația Tratatului Atlanticului de Nord. Săptămâna trecută, atât președintele Sauli Niinistö, cât și prim-ministrul Sanna Marin (SDP) au susținut cererea de aderare la NATO, în timp ce majoritatea facțiunilor politice din parlament, inclusiv stânga radicală, au fost, de asemenea, favorabile. Aderarea la NATO se bucură acum de un sprijin record din punct de vedere istoric din partea publicului finlandez, ceea ce a facilitat decizia politică actuală și campania pro-atlantică. Dezbaterea internă, încadrată de războiul din Ucraina, a fost intensă, emoțională și scurtă: duminică, 15 mai, președintele Niinistö a anunțat oficial cererea de aderare la NATO, iar acum rămâne să fie confirmată de parlament.  O țară cu o tradiție relativ îndelungată de neutralitate și cu o lungă frontieră terestră cu Rusia și-a reevaluat astfel strategia de securitate în doar câteva luni și a reacționat “fulgerător” la războiul dintre Rusia și Ucraina.

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Od neutralności do państwa buforowego: Finlandia wchodzi do NATO

Obecny kryzys nie jest już spiralą dylematów bezpieczeństwa, lecz wirem, który wciąga wszystkich i wszystko – bez możliwości merytorycznego i spokojnego przemyślenia czegokolwiek. W tej nowej (miejmy nadzieję – zimnej) wojnie bez dżentelmenów, bez mężów stanu patrzących w przyszłość, bez nowych pomysłów i bez jasnych zasad Finlandia – wcześniej kraj neutralny – stanie się kolejnym państwem buforowym w Europie Wschodniej, stojącym po stronie Stanów Zjednoczonych.

Artykuł został pierwotnie opublikowany 17 maja 2022 r. w języku czeskim na portalu !Argument.

Nie jest zaskoczeniem, że Finlandia zmierza w kierunku członkostwa w Organizacji Traktatu Północnoatlantyckiego. W zeszłym tygodniu zarówno prezydent Sauli Niinistö, jak i premier Sanna Marin (SDP) poparli wniosek o członkostwo w NATO, a większość frakcji politycznych w parlamencie, w tym radykalna lewica, również była za.

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From neutrality to buffer: Finland in the NATO

The current crisis is no longer a spiral of security dilemma, it is a “vortex” that draws everyone and everything in without the possibility of thinking anything through in a substantive and calm manner. In this new (hopefully cold) war without gentlemen, without statesmen with a view to the future and new ideas and without clear rules, Finland – a previously neutral country, will now turn into another buffer state in Eastern Europe on the side of the United States.

This article was published on 17 May 2022 at the Czech site !Argument.

Finland is unsurprisingly moving towards membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Last week, both President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) supported the NATO application, while most political factions in parliament, including the radical left, were also in favour.

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Válka na Ukrajině a polarizace v Bulharsku

Příběhy civilizační volby mezi Západem a Východem skrývají rozpad současné bulharské společnosti.

Ognian Kasabov

Tento článek byl zveřejněn na webových stránkách bulharské organizace KOI (Kolektiv pro společenské intervence) a je pokusem o kritické a vyvážené zamyšlení nad tím, co italský intelektuál Roberto Savio nazval „sebevraždou rozumu“.

Média tvrdí, že válka není časem pro nuance, ale pro zaujímání postojů. Ruská agrese proti Ukrajině nadále vyhrocuje postoje po celém světě. Hranice se přitvrzují. Věci, které se donedávna zdály být jen možností, a to ještě krajní, začínají vypadat jako jediná možnost. Mosty hoří, odhodlání roste.

Konkrétní obrysy polarizace v Bulharsku však hovoří pouze o politické patové situaci. Vášně kolem pomníku Třetího ukrajinského frontu v Sofii jsou jen pasáží v neúprosném crescendu šaškáren (hovoří se o jakési válce dvou táborů – protiruského, který chce pomník sovětské armády pomalovat či „napadnout“, a proruského, který pomník před útočníky brání – pozn. překladatele). Již několik měsíců jsme ohlušováni tím, že jsme se „civilizačně rozhodli“ být součástí Evropy, nebo naopak tím, že mezi Bulharskem a Ruskem existuje nerozborné pouto.

Naše společnost je zapletena do střetu identit, problematického nejen pro svou intelektuální a historickou nesoudržnost, ale přinejmenším také kvůli nebezpečí prohloubení nemocí, které ničí naši zemi.

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Gael de Santis: Independent France or EU is not enough, they must be social

Emmanuel Macron won the elections and received ovations together his wife Brigitte, but the very same night protests unfolded in France, which were supressed by police (source: YouTube)

Cross-border Talks speaks to the international editor of the French left-wing journal l’Humanite about the recent French presidential elections, about the voters and the political style of Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon, about the ideas of independent and autonomous EU in international relations, French interests in Southeastern Europe and challenges in the second presidential term of Emmanuel Macron

Veronika Susova-Salminen, Vladimir Mitev

Gael de Santis is a French left-wing journalist, who has written extensively on populism in the EU, European affairs, defense matters, etc. He has discussed with Cross-border Talks about the current fracture of the French political system into three large currents – center (Emmanuel Macron), left (Jean-Luc Melenchon) and extreme right (Marine Le Pen, Eric Zemmour and others). He observes polarization between rural and urban areas, between older people with more capital and working population. Even though Macron won with a good majority, a number of challenges for  him as tries to affirm France’s independent voice in international relations. 

De Santis believes that in spite of the war in Ukraine the economic interests of France and Germany make them look for cooperation with Russia. He also sees the idea of “a strategic autonomy” of the EU as one that could return to the EU’s agenda if the crisis in Ukraine ends within 1-2 years. When asked about France’s interests in Southeastern Europe, he recalled the French special connection with Romania. And added that Macron and French public opinion are interested in countering negative tendencies such as social dumping (cheap labour) and corruption, while also affirming an independent EU defense. 

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