Life under the sword of Damocles: why Sweden and Finland gathered in NATO

Life under the sword of Damocles: why Sweden and Finland gathered in NATO

LITOVKIN Victor

Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said recently that the country will submit an application for NATO membership before the summer. “After Easter, the parliament will begin discussions. And the final decision can be made by the end of May,” the minister of war promised. A day earlier, the Finnish government submitted a report to Parliament, one of the points of which is devoted to the impact on the situation of Suomi’s possible entry into the North Atlantic Alliance.

At the end of the report, there is an appendix with possible accession steps, should such a decision be taken. At the same time, according to Reuters , Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that Helsinki would decide on the application in the next few weeks. Moreover, at the beginning of this year, she said that Helsinki “would like to have the option of obtaining membership in the North Atlantic Alliance.”

Where are the Finns, there are the Swedes

According to Stockholm  -based Svenska Dagbladet , Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has already decided to join NATO. The Swedish government plans to submit the bid at the alliance’s summit at the end of June in Madrid. Aftonbladet  reported  that the ruling Social Democratic Party had already convened an extraordinary meeting of its leadership for May 24, at which a decision could be made on support for NATO membership. A similar decision was made by the right-wing opposition Swedish Democrats, which means that the majority in the Riksdag (the country’s parliament) supports the idea of ​​joining the North Atlantic Alliance.

Moreover, neither Finland nor Sweden, apparently, are going to hold the referendum put in such a case in order to get the official opinion of their citizens on joining NATO. President Suomi Sauli Niinistö, who previously spoke about the need for a popular vote, today argues that there is no need for this. According to a March 31 Helsingin Sanomat poll to which he refers, 61% of the population favored NATO membership. The Swedish government also believes that the position of the population is presented in local newspapers. Thus, one of the publications of the Social Democratic Party of this country claims that 46% of Swedes are in favor of NATO membership, while 30% are against it, and the rest have not decided.

A natural question arises: why the two countries, which for many decades, and Sweden even for centuries, were so proud of their independence, suddenly decided to enter into a “defensive”, according to its General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, but in fact an aggressive alliance (remember the bombing of Yugoslavia, Libya , the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and even Syria)? What prompted or is prompting them to take this radical act, which threatens to lose a fair share of their sovereignty and independence? What kind of threats hang over the two states that they urgently need, despite all the adverse consequences, to hide under the NATO (read, American) umbrella? Let’s try to figure it out.

Threats real and imaginary

Let’s start with imaginary threats. The main reason for joining NATO in Stockholm and Helsinki is called “Russia’s aggressive actions towards Ukraine.” In Finland and Sweden, they try this situation on themselves and believe that only membership in the North Atlantic Alliance can protect them from the threat from Moscow. The fact that for many decades there has not been a single example of such threats from Russia against its northern neighbors, either verbally or in deed, is apparently not taken into account. The logic is rather strange: if Moscow could start hostilities against a country that until recently was part of the Soviet Union, then why shouldn’t it attack us as well? Moreover, we have never been part of the USSR.

And no one in Helsinki or Stockholm, in fact, cares and is not interested in why Moscow was forced to conduct a special military operation in Ukraine. What are the similarities and what are the differences between the two Scandinavian countries and the Bandera, nationalist regime in Kyiv. No one asks themselves questions: why did the Ukrainian leadership bombard its people in the Donbass for eight years, destroying peaceful cities, schools, hospitals, waterworks, killing women, children, the elderly, atrocities against their own population, burning them alive in Odessa or shooting them on the streets of Mariupol? How did it happen that after the Second World War, when fascism was destroyed in Europe, it suddenly arose in Ukraine, where torchlight processions of the heirs of the fascist division “Galicia”, which killed Jews, Gypsies, Russians and even Ukrainians, become everyday reality? Where do they forbid people to speak their native Russian language and teach their children in it? Where are monuments to the liberators of the country from the Nazi occupiers being toppled and the streets named after fascist henchmen?

In Finland, almost 5% of the population speaks Swedish. Swedish and Finnish are the official languages ​​of the country, and it never occurs to anyone to ban the use of the language of the national minority, as well as Russian, Sami, Karelian and the other one and a half dozen languages ​​spoken by the population of the country. And in Ukraine, Russian is the language of the majority of the population. But not only is it officially forbidden to study at state educational institutions (only in Ukrainian is allowed), Russians are not even listed in the official list of nationalities living in Ukraine. Moreover, against the 20% of the population of Ukraine living in the Donbass, the most industrial region of the country, who came out to protest against the abolition of their native language, Kyiv unleashed an eight-year bloody war. Could Russia take these events calmly, or could it not? Let every Swede or Finn answer this question for himself, and then he will understand that this situation has nothing to do with his state, and one can only talk about the notorious “Russian threat” in parliament, speculating on this topic only when the military budget for next year. But to join NATO because of such talk?! It seems to me that such a decision is absurd, devoid of common sense or politically motivated. Coercion from outside. And by no means Scandinavian partners. when discussing the military budget for next year. But to join NATO because of such talk?! It seems to me that such a decision is absurd, devoid of common sense or politically motivated. Coercion from outside. And by no means Scandinavian partners. when discussing the military budget for next year. But to join NATO because of such talk?! It seems to me that such a decision is absurd, devoid of common sense or politically motivated. Coercion from outside. And by no means Scandinavian partners.

But if, as I believe, the notion of external threats to Finland and Sweden is imposed and rather fictional, then what threats can be real? It’s hard to believe, but these are internal threats.

Today, the population of the same Sweden, which is almost 10 million people, consists of migrants by a quarter – from various countries of the world, but mainly from Arab countries. According to foreign media, 98.8% of the state’s population growth falls on people of foreign origin and only 1.2% – on the Swedes themselves. At the same time, Sweden, despite the absolute peace in everyday life, stands out from all of Scandinavia with a high level of violent crime, the main source of which is organized criminal groups and street gangs, knocked together along ethnic lines. You will not surprise this country either by storming prisons to rescue “authorities” or by throwing live grenades at police stations. Armed robberies and street shootings are also the norm, since there are many “trunks” in the kingdom and it is relatively easy to get them.

According to experts, more than a quarter of all crimes in Sweden in the period 1995-2016 were committed by gang members. But it wasn’t until 2021 that former Prime Minister Stefan Löfven acknowledged for the first time the link between migration and the rise of organized crime. The debate around migrants has sharply escalated in recent years, as in terms of the total population, the Swedes, pursuing an open door policy, have accepted more refugees from the Middle East, from Afghanistan and Africa than any other country in Europe. Other consequences of this policy were anti-Semitism and Islamism, the mouthpieces of which more than once called for the depletion of Sweden from Jews and infidels. Only earlier these mouthpieces were perceived as extremist and treated accordingly, and now the completely legal Arab Party, which has already called for clearing Sweden of pensioners, wants to go with a suspiciously similar program for the 2022 parliamentary elections. And although while in Sweden, unlike Norway, Anders Breivik did not appear, who shot 77 people, as you know, according to nationalist, fascist convictions, the appearance of such characters on the Swedish political and criminal scene does not seem impossible. Although, I think, joining NATO will not save us from this.

In Finland, the level of ethnic crime and its real threat is much lower than in neighboring Sweden. And the population in Suomi is much smaller – just over 5 million people. Of these, only 250 thousand are foreigners, most of whom are Russians (born in the country and moved here). During short business trips to Finland, I even had to meet Russian guys in the service in the Finnish army. Nevertheless, there are also gangs with a national flavor, committing thefts and robberies, sexual violence, selling drugs and alcohol. Although, of course, all of them are far from the growth of crime in the neighboring Scandinavian state. And the local authorities do not pursue an open door policy for refugees from the Middle East and Africa. On the contrary, they try in every possible way to isolate themselves from uninvited aliens. Therefore, the desire of the ruling parties of Suomi to join NATO has nothing to do with such problems. And what explains it?

We will answer this question a little later. In the meantime, consider the pros and cons of the entry of Sweden and Finland into the North Atlantic Alliance.

Plus and minus will be … what?

Actually, there is only one plus from the entry of Stockholm and Helsinki into NATO – they relieve themselves and their governments of responsibility for the protection and security of their countries and hand over the responsibility for defense to the Alliance’s Unified Command, or rather the United States. It’s no secret that Washington is in charge of everything in NATO, and now the fate of Sweden and Finland will depend entirely on successive American presidents. And their interests. Moreover, when joining the Euro-Atlantic Union, each of the countries participating in the bloc signs that it gives part of its sovereignty to the collective mind of the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, but in reality – to the White House.

True, in a report on the change in the security situation after Suomi’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance, sent by the State Council of Finland to Parliament, it is said that there are practically no risks for such membership, but, on the contrary, “in the long term, stability in the Baltic Sea region will only increase” . In case of joining the alliance, the text notes, Finland’s defense spending will increase by only 1-1.5%, while Helsinki will retain the right to decide whether to send its troops to participate in operations (including peacekeeping) abroad. It will also be possible to refuse to deploy alliance forces and weapons on its territory. One of the key ideas of the document, which concludes this chapter, is formulated in a florid way. “Failure to respond to changes in the security situation” (and,

This ornateness, I believe, is intended to hide the slyness associated with the fact that no one will later ask Finland whether it is ready to deploy NATO contingents and weapons (mostly American) on its territory or not. They will be imposed on her by order, explaining this by the need to “strengthen the security of the alliance on the northern flank of the defense.” And no objections from Helsinki will help here: the decision has been made, carry it out. This was also the case during the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, when US fighters flying to drop bombs on Belgrade were based on Hungarian airfields built by Soviet engineers. I remember how the Hungarian military attache at one of the diplomatic receptions apologized to his Serbian colleague: “Sorry, brother. We are forced to accept them.” Euro-Atlantic discipline and solidarity.

Such “solidarity” can cost dearly to our closest northern neighbor. Moreover, he is deceiving himself with defense spending. Out of naivety or out of deceit. It is widely known that Brussels requires each country – a member of the alliance to pay 2% of its GDP to the NATO common treasury. And this is far from one and a half percent, which will increase spending on military purposes. And if Donald Trump comes to power in the United States again, then all the 4% that he demanded from his allies (vassals) in the North Atlantic Alliance. “Want America to protect you,” he said, “pay!”

And the loss of sovereignty, the “tax” on the American military-industrial complex are far from all the disadvantages that the newly converted Scandinavian members of the alliance will have to face. The Swedish defense industry could be particularly affected by this. It is known that its concern SAAB, which employs more than 30 thousand people, produces excellent fourth-generation fighter-bombers JAS 39 Gripen, the shipyards of this company build and repair surface ships and submarines, and Bofors makes magnificent long-range guns. The Swedes have their famous Karl Gustav grenade launchers, with which they provided all the Baltic armies, aviation and ballistic missiles. The Volvo industrial group produces not only “indestructible” cars, but also aircraft engines under an English license…

I list all these achievements of the Swedish military industry in such detail, because I remember the fate of the Polish company Bumar, today it is called Polski Holding Obronny sp. z oo It used to produce tanks, self-propelled artillery mounts, various engineering equipment, portable anti-aircraft systems, grenade launchers and much more under Soviet (Russian) licenses. Today, the Poles produce optoelectronic equipment, sights, night vision devices, and some types of radars on the basis of these enterprises. Tanks and self-propelled guns are gone. What for? Here the Americans sent them 250 “Abrams” – get it and rejoice.

Approximately the same thing happened with the famous Gdansk shipyards, known to many for the Solidarity movement, which led to a change in the political course of Poland. And our sailors remember it as a builder of large fishing and warships – large anti-submarine ships (mainly commissioned by the Soviet Navy). In the 1980s, 20 thousand people worked there, now there are only 2 thousand left. And all this, as I see it, is the result of Poland’s entry into NATO, where neither Polish ships nor Polish tanks are needed.

A similar fate may await the Swedish defense industry. Moreover, even today it can hardly withstand competition with the US military-industrial complex, and after the country joins NATO, it can generally repeat the fate of Polish shipyards and Bumar. And this is far from the only and not the last disadvantage of joining the detachment of American vassals as part of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Where is Moscow looking?

It would be correct to put the question in a different way. How will Moscow look at the fact that its closest northern neighbors, which have been neutral states for decades (Finland) and centuries (Sweden), suddenly become members of a North Atlantic military association hostile to our country? It is understood that in this case, none of the serious people in the capital of Russia and not only in it will rejoice. Although the cooperation of both Stockholm and Helsinki with NATO is not a secret for any of the domestic military specialists.

We know that Sweden and Finland, being formally independent and neutral states, regularly took part in the NATO Partnership for Peace program. Representatives of the two countries regularly participate in high-level meetings of the alliance. Military units from Stockholm and Helsinki take part in NATO exercises at sea, in the air and on land. And in 2014, both countries signed an agreement on military assistance with Brussels. Moreover, according to this document, Brussels has the right to transfer its contingents to the territory of the Scandinavian countries. It seems to be enough measures to ensure their safety. But it turns out not. After all, there is no rigid binding to absolute subordination to the interests of the alliance, and hence the United States. The United States, which uses the alliance as a tool for managing Europe, apparently cannot allow so that at least one country remains on the old continent that will not be unconditionally subordinate to the will of Washington. I think our Scandinavian neighbors could not resist his pressure. However, they are not alone.

Moscow will take the necessary measures to ensure its security and defense if Sweden and Finland join NATO,   Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko confirmed in an interview with TASS . “It is clear that we have a 1,300 km border with Finland. This will mean a radical change in the military-political situation, and it is clear that we will be forced to take measures to ensure our security and defense that we deem necessary,” he said, responding to the question of the possibility of Russia deploying nuclear weapons in the Baltic region. The diplomat recalled that the neutral status of these states for a long time ensured a very high level of their security, and Grushko called the northern region itself “a region of peace, cooperation and a very reliable platform for building good neighborly relations with Russia.”

With Sweden and Finland joining NATO, Russia will have more officially registered adversaries, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Russian Security Council, said. In this case, Russia will strengthen its western borders, and then “there will no longer be any talk of a non-nuclear status of the Baltic,” he stressed. The length of the land borders of the countries of the alliance, Medvedev pointed out, will more than double, and our borders will have to be strengthened. According to him, it will be necessary to seriously strengthen the grouping of ground forces and air defense, to deploy significant naval forces in the waters of the Gulf of Finland. “Until now, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to take them. If they force us, well:” note – we did not propose this, “as the hero of the famous old film said,” the deputy chairman of the Security Council said.

He also refuted the opinion that if a special operation had not started in Ukraine, then the question of these countries joining NATO would not have arisen. Medvedev noted that these states had previously tried to join the alliance. In addition, Russia has no territorial disputes with these countries. Therefore, the price of such membership for the Russian Federation is different.

I will add from myself. Of course, the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO cannot but affect the economic relations between our countries. Sanctions and counter-sanctions will continue. In addition, we had very few troops on the border with Finland: not a single division, only two motorized rifle brigades – in Pechenga, Murmansk region, on the border with NATO member Norway and in the village of Kamenka, Leningrad region. Now, apparently, we will have to at least find a place for a brigade of the Iskander-M operational-tactical complex, the range of which is 500 km (it will reach both Helsinki and Stockholm). Two capitals and two countries, which were never targeted by our missiles in the post-war years, will now be under the gunpoint of the national sword of Damocles. And he, as hinted at the Foreign Ministry, may be special, nuclear.

Do they have to live with it? I doubt. But, apparently, some other geopolitical considerations, which I do not understand, are pushing them to take this risky step, fraught with great losses. Our business is to warn – and then let them blame themselves!

Courtesy: (TASS)

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