Monday, December 21, 2020

Sweden Executes an About Face


Sweden is not an official ally, but as the largest Scandinavian country, she has influence from Finland, through the Baltic and across the sea to Iceland.

She also has a long history with Russia that she cannot keep an eye off for too long.

This little bit deserves more attention than it is getting;
The Swedish parliament has approved an increase of a whopping 40% in the defence expenditure to counter the threat of Russian aggression. This will take the Swedish defence expenditure to USD 11 billion. This is the first such massive increase in the Swedish defence expenditure in the last 70 years. Only last week, the main parties in the Swedish parliament also adopted the stand to support NATO membership.  
As discussed in the article linked above, this move has been in work for awhile ... but things are accelerating
Troop numbers will rise from 60,000 to 90,000 over the next four years and annual defence spending will increase by 40 per cent to £7.2 billion, or about 1.5 per cent of GDP, under a budget passed by MPs on Wednesday.  
They have been slowing drifting closer to NATO since 1997, and I know their military is game - but is their larger political establishment ready?
A Swedish parliamentary majority in favour of readiness to join NATO as a possible security policy option has emerged for the first time after the far-right Sweden Democrats party shifted position on the military alliance.

However, the government, which decides foreign and security policies, remained opposed to adopting such a “NATO option”.

The introduction of a “NATO option” would not mean Sweden would apply for membership of the U.S.-led Western alliance but rather that Sweden would consider it down the road if deemed necessary for security.
I've taught a seminar at F√∂rsvarsh√∂gskolan, the Swedish Defense University in Stockholm, and served with Swedish officers on staffs in Europe and Afghanistan. They are great professionals, pound for pound as good as any American, German, or Brit. It would be great to officially have them on our team.

Even though they are just a bit under 10-million souls, their leadership in Europe on defense if very welcome.

Now, if we could just get them to at least 2% vice 1.5% at the end of the day ....

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