NATO Debate Over Swedish Membership

NATO Debate Over Swedish Membership



These days in Sweden, there is a hot debate as to whether or not the country should join NATO. A survey conducted by the largest newspaper in Sweden, Dagens Nyheter, shows that citizens’ support for a Swedish NATO membership is growing.

According to the study, 28 percent of respondents were in favor of a Swedish membership in NATO in April 2014, while a second study showed that by December 2014, that number had risen to 33 percent.

Arguments against Sweden joining NATO include complaints that Sweden is already working too closely with the U.S. and NATO. Some of Sweden’s politicians are highly critical of this cooperation. For example, the U.S. has sent B52s to Southern Sweden for an exercise known as “Baltops,” in which they practice laying down strings of naval mines. Sweden’s strategic location makes it prime territory for military drills carried out by both Russia and the U.S. Sweden has become concerned that increased cooperation with the U.S. will result in escalated tensions with the Russians, whose aircraft had even penetrated Swedish airspace over the last couple of years. Some wonder if membership in NATO will further exacerbate this situation.

A new warning against a Swedish membership in NATO was issued recently by researchers at the Swedish Defense University. The researchers argue that a Swedish membership in NATO would cement Russia’s image of a hostile Western alliance and provoke more aggression from the Russians. In other words, a Swedish membership in NATO would escalate the risk of violence and war, thereby making Sweden less secure.

On the other hand, the arguments for a Swedish membership in NATO contend that such an alliance would have precisely the opposite effect. It would, in fact, increase Sweden’s security. New, global threats pose great challenges to Sweden’s capacity to defend itself both globally and locally. After all, this is now an entirely different world from the world in which Sweden’s now non-existent neutrality was established. Apparently, however, all of the Scandinavian countries “are all nonetheless convinced that our future security will be built upon military and civil cooperation across the borders.”

As a result, there are two diametrically opposed standpoints. Proponents of each one arguing that their way will lead to a safer and sounder country, as well as a more secure world. Does this mean that the security brought about by peace is a paradox? No. It means that the train of thought behind the logic of one of these viewpoints has been skipped over entirely, and therefore, it is obscured to anyone who does not take the time to work out the logic for him or herself. The premise of the latter of these two standpoints is the delusion that peace is achieved by fortifying the capacity to kill someone else and therein lies the flaw in this particular standpoint.

Swedish proponents for NATO might even consider the possibility that had Sweden not abandoned its neutrality in the first place, tensions between Sweden and Russia might never have escalated to their current level.

Security, in this context, is the direct result of peace and it cannot be achieved unless there is peace. The genius of this manipulative and fear-provoking presentation of information by proponents of NATO is that the logic is so obvious, it cannot be believed when heard. Here is a summation of this logic that should dispel any illusion of a security paradox in the infamous and logical quote by the immortal comedian George Carlin. Carlin said, “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”

Opinion by Lucia Ray
Edited by Leigh Haugh

Dagens Nyheter: Home
Foxtrot Alpha: U.S. Sending B-52s to Sweden as Russian Bombers Skirt Swedish Airspace
Swedish Defence University: Home


  1. Why should NATO take Sweden at all?

    The Baltic states had just come out from a half century of brutal occupation under the iron curtain, and defending those fledgling democracies was a arguably a moral obligation of the West. What’s Sweden’s excuse for the current state of their military? Another Euro nation looking for the U.S. to pay for it’s defense? No! No more! Burst their vanity and tell the Swedes they are too weak to be welcome.

    A MAP at best until they get their Army into shape.