Dumping ‘Decades Of Neutrality’ – Why Finland and Sweden’s hands-off approach is a big lie?

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Recently, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said that Stockholm will recently provide Ukraine with $102 million in military aid to Ukraine, including anti-ship missiles, anti-tank weapons and other weapons. .

“Sweden will send anti-ship missiles, anti-tank weapons and 12.7 mm rifles including ammunition to Ukraine. This 4th support program also includes financial contributions to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The total amount includes more than 95 million euros,” Linde said on Twitter.

In February, Sweden abandoned its doctrine of not shipping arms to governments in active conflict for the first time since 1939. The Nordic country announced 400 million crowns of military equipment and the donation of 500 million crowns to the fund of the Ukrainian central bank for its army. forces.

Besides Sweden, another Nordic country, Finland, has reversed decades of military non-alignment and submitted its bid to join the NATO military alliance.

File Image: Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu

Neutral Sweden?

Kenneth Waltz, who formulated the concept of neorealism, will find a perfect example in Finland and Sweden in the current context. Waltz had formulated the concept on the basis that war is a constant possibility in international relations and that such conflicts are stimulated by an oligopolistic market.

In the context of the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, it is clear that neither of these two countries has ever been neutral!

Their decision to join NATO was the culmination of their continued pro-American orientation in their foreign policy after the disintegration of Soviet Russia and their pro-Russian stance before 1990. Both of these positions are based on domestic constraints of their booming defense majors.

When Nobel laureate Albert Einstein said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who look on and do nothing,” he surely didn’t mean Finland or Sweden.

Post-war Finland sought to extricate neutrality from a defense alliance with the Soviet Union called the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance and even gave the USSR a base in its country .

Finland had stayed away from the US-led Marshall Plan, mainly because its capital was only 390 km from Saint Petersburg (Leningrad). The treaty protected Finland from any aggression from the USSR.

Is Swedish neutrality a lie?

Sweden’s claim to neutrality began in the early 19e century, with the masquerade continuing well into World War II. The country still faces questions about its dark against Hitler’s Germany.

Later, under the prime ministership of Olaf Palme, Sweden also entered into a secret defense pact with the United States.

In the 1990s, he also participated in NATO missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Libya. It also joined the European Union (EU) in 1995, along with Finland, and became a member of the Common European Security and Defense Policy in 2010.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, whose party had opposite joining the alliance for decades, recently announced that his social democratic party had unanimously decided to join NATO.

As EurAsian Times reported, Sweden is home to some very important defense companies in the world, including Saab, BAE Systems and its subsidiary Bofors.

Advantages and disadvantages of losing neutrality

According to NATO, Sweden officially declared neutrality in military conflicts during the reign of King Karl XIV Johan in 1834. While the country allowed German forces to transit through its territory during World War II, it continued to maintain its neutral position.

While Sweden has played a role in Afghanistan by deploying troops to the country as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission until the end of May 2021, Alina Engström, a security policy analyst at the Swedish Agency defense research, said that already since the 1990s, Sweden has increased its interoperability with NATO.

This means that the country already adheres to NATO standards. The announcement to now join the alliance was “a small step militarily and operationally”, Engström said.

She added that “the benefits of relinquishing non-aligned military status mean that Sweden can now be part of NATO’s defense planning and benefit from security guarantees.

But the downside of joining the alliance is that Sweden has to be more nimble to adjust its security policy and lose some leeway in foreign and security policy.

Even so, Finland or Sweden joining NATO would probably not resonate with Putin in the same way as, say, the rise of a former Soviet republic. Finland may sting a bit more, but as an EU member and NATO partner, Moscow probably already sees them as tied to the West.

“Russia will see Finland’s membership in NATO as a kind of defeat and betrayal, but it is or should be much easier to accept than what was, for example, the membership of the Baltic states in alliance,” said Tuomas Forsberg, international relations expert. and the director of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, wrote in an email.

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