It’s anything but sweet music.
Russia’s demands on NATO are criticized by Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist (S), who called them “totally unacceptable” (Dagens Nyheter 12/20 2021).
Russia demands guarantees that NATO will not extend to more countries, while massing the Russian army on Ukraine’s borders.
It is Ukraine that they want to keep away from the defense alliance. But listening to Russia’s demands would mean closing the doors for Sweden and Finland, too – today they are abroad.
Sweden cannot dance to the tunes of Vladimir Putin, and it is important that the Minister of Defense clearly defends Sweden’s right to make decisions independently, without the interference of other countries.
But when the defense minister said at the same time that Sweden would not join NATO – neither now nor in the future – that would be a statement to Putin’s taste. It has been criticized by the Center Party (Dagens Nyheter 21/12 2021), whose foreign policy spokeswoman Kristen Lundgren believes Sweden should keep the door open for future accession.
Especially when Russia’s actions have caused increasingly tangible tensions in our immediate region.
As the Center Party points out, the statement is remarkable in light of the fact that the Swedish parliament voted in favor of the so-called NATO option, a decision which the government chose not to act on.
It is hard to understand how the Secretary of Defense could then claim that membership would never be relevant.
The fact that the current government, unlike the Riksdag, is one thing that does not make it a stone-carved site. It is not up to the current government to say what future governments will do.
In the face of Russia’s growing ambitions for power, it is important that this door be opened wide.
Russia reporter Anna Lina Loren recently likened Russia’s actions to a roaring lion that suddenly began to cry and accused the frightened Lamb of the unpleasant treatment (Dagens Nyheter 15/12 2021).
At the same time that Russia’s actions are creating growing tensions over Ukraine, it is Russia that is demanding security guarantees from NATO.
When lambs can ensure their safety by cooperating with each other, it is not the time to surrender to a smiling lion.
Defending the right of the Swedish people to make decisions independently is a good thing, and a publicly declared NATO option would be preferable.
When Finland took a clearer stance on defense cooperation long ago, it is unfortunate that Sweden is still struggling.
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