The Ukrainian crisis puts Europe’s autonomy at stake

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JIN DING/CHINA DAILY

Western strategic mobilization following the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict further limited Europe’s already reduced autonomy. Massive military, media and political pressure has aligned European countries in a common policy of sanctions against Russia and a common policy of delivering arms to Ukraine.

A most dramatic change could occur in the Nordic countries of Sweden and Finland if they join NATO, abandoning their policy of non-alignment which is an important part of Europe’s autonomy.

Catastrophic change in the policy of non-alignment

In Sweden’s case, it would end a 200-year-old policy of neutrality. As for Finland, the country’s policy since the end of the Second World War has slowly increased its autonomy, moving from a pact of friendship with the Soviet Union to a bridgehead between West and East and promoting peace and development based on its non-aligned diplomatic position and strong independent industrial development. Not to mention that the Baltic Sea was a region of low tensions even during the Cold War.

For the most part, the coastal nations have agreed to keep the Baltic Sea free from great power conflict. This could end if Sweden and Finland join NATO and help bring US, UK and European military forces to this theatre, increasing great power clashes.

“Wolfowitz Doctrine” and American Hegemony

NATO’s expansion into Northern Europe stems from the United States’ policy of global hegemony, which is destabilizing the world and pushing it towards another world war. This policy of reducing the autonomy of other countries is part of the “Wolfowitz Doctrine”. known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

“Our first objective is to prevent the reappearance of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, which poses a threat on the order of that once posed by the Soviet Union. C is an overriding consideration that underlies the new regional defense strategy and demands that we strive to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate world power. offensive had to be revised in the final formulation of April 16, 1992, but it still claimed world hegemony.

“The third objective is to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests, and thus also to strengthen the barriers against the re-emergence of a global threat to the interests of the United States and our allies,” he said. he declared.

If there was ever a clear answer to the question of whether the United States would fall into Thucydides’ trap, this is it. The Wolfowitz Doctrine manifests in the doctrine of “rules-based order” rejecting international law based on the Charter of the United Nations on the equal rights of every nation for sovereignty and development. The Wolfowitz doctrine is also found in the American policy of endless wars which now risks becoming the fate of Northern Europe as well.

Finland is extremely close to St. Petersburg and other major Russian cities. Finland’s northern border is only 180 kilometers from the city of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula, where there are important bases for the Russian Navy’s strategic nuclear submarine force. Sweden is 450 km from Murmansk.

These submarines constantly patrol under the Arctic ice cap. NATO enlargement, including Finland and/or Sweden as members, would threaten these Russian bases and jeopardize most of the Russian second-strike capability and thus upset the global nuclear balance. As a result, a huge strategic crisis would engulf northern Europe, like the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Already in peacetime, Sweden, as a “partner” of NATO, allowed B-52 strategic bombers to cross Sweden towards the Russian border. These thefts are huge and senseless nuclear provocations against Russia. This provocative policy must stop immediately. But it will not be easy to turn back the clock if Sweden joins NATO.

In the face of a nuclear weapons crisis, the only option to ensure security is the policy of peace and common understanding, of which President Xi Jinping has made himself the most ardent defender with his “Global Security Initiative”, but also with the Belt and Road Initiative for peaceful economic cooperation, the Global Development Initiative and other international initiatives for the common good of mankind.

In this context, the Schiller Institute has received growing support to convene a “Conference to Establish a New Security and Development Architecture for All Nations”.

Feverish desire to join NATO against Russia

The government of the Social Democratic Party of Sweden, in close cooperation with Finland and NATO member states, has put Sweden on the fast track to joining NATO. The Swedish and Finnish governments are in contact with NATO countries to ensure prompt security guarantees, “in the event of an attack from Russia during the critical period of the bid procedures” when all NATO member states must take a decision of approval in their parliaments.

On Saturday May 14, the Social Democratic Party of Finland is expected to make a decision on NATO membership. On May 17 and 18, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö will visit Sweden, possibly to announce the joint decision of the two countries to apply for NATO membership.

Even if Sweden decides not to join NATO, Finland should. In Sweden’s ongoing NATO debate, some left-leaning politicians said it was not the first time the two countries would decide on different military policies. In 1940, during World War II, Finland allied with Nazi Germany, joined Operation Barbarossa to attack the Soviet Union, and participated in the long siege of Leningrad (Saint Petersburg). This proved disastrous for Finland, as it had to agree to a separate and costly peace treaty, when the war changed.

Attempt to override the decision in Sweden

National opposition to the Swedish government’s attempt to join NATO takes shape mainly because the Swedish people are shocked by the blatant methods used to push through a decision against their will. The procedure is like a coup, undoing democratic processes for both the nation and the government. Sweden’s ruling SDP has sent out a questionnaire to party organizations and will hold a party board meeting as early as Sunday, May 15, to assess the responses and decide whether or not to join NATO, likely reversing the current policy. social democrats of non-alignment reaffirmed by their congress last year.

It would also nullify any debate in Sweden’s national elections scheduled for September 11. The one-party minority government also wanted to overrule parliament, making the decision an exclusively government affair. The need for at least some parliamentary scrutiny was raised even by the non-socialist pro-NATO opposition, which ensured that a debate on NATO membership took place in parliament.

Against this rushed process, Left Party leader Nooshi Dadgostar, in an interview with National Public Radio on April 28, made a clear appeal to mobilize support against Sweden’s NATO membership and demanded a national referendum. This turned the May Day Left Party protests into a huge rallying point against NATO with a record 25,000 participants in Stockholm and huge turnouts in other cities.

Among the Social Democrats, sporadic opposition was visible on May Day when some SDP supporters held posters against NATO membership. On the same morning, a social democratic leader and minister in former Prime Minister Olaf Palme’s government, Pierre Schori, together with Henrik Fritzon, the leader of the SDP in their most radical southern region, wrote an op-ed in the newspaper Aftonbladet , urging SDP members to “say no to NATO”. They also pointed out that the issue of nuclear weapons was not even mentioned in the questionnaire sent to members.

Sweden’s NATO membership wavers

In the week that followed, the internal control of the party leadership began to crack. The SDP women’s organization and its leader, Environment Minister Annika Strandhaell, have come out against Sweden joining NATO. The SDP youth organization also opposes NATO. The first local party organization to oppose NATO membership was the town of Trollhättan, part of the western Swedish automotive industry cluster.

The women’s and youth organizations of the SDP are crucial for the party to conduct an electoral campaign. If the SDP leadership sticks to its pro-NATO line, it will face a huge challenge from the Left Party. And despite its strong position in Sweden, the SDP could face a situation similar to that in southern Europe where the socialist parties have all but disappeared.

There is a total mobilization of all leftist organizations against NATO, and further demonstrations are planned throughout Sweden against NATO membership. Some networks close to the populist right of the Swedish Democrats are also planning protests against NATO.

Opinions in favor of shrinking NATO

Already, support for NATO membership is waning in Sweden, according to polls. In the wake of the escalating Russian-Ukrainian conflict, pro-NATO opinion has risen from the normal 35% to 51%. This week it has fallen to 47%, although only 25% of those polled are against NATO, compared to 40% in normal times. And the undecided increased by 5 percentage points.

Sweden’s NATO membership is contested by the resistance built up by leftists and leading SDP activists. They are also reaching out to non-socialists from the rest of the population traditionally opposed to NATO. They could pass the long process necessary for NATO to ratify new members, a period during which Sweden will also have its national parliament and regional elections. The authoritarian measures of the ruling party in coordination with the foreign-controlled military-industrial establishment could backfire both internally and nationally, even if an official decision asking Sweden to apply to join NATO is imposed in the coming week.

The author is president of the Schiller Institute in Sweden. Opinions do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Opinions do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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