Swedish and Finnish Governments Jointly Decide To Block NATO Applications
STOCKHOLM, Jan. 13, 2016 (EIRNS)—In a coordinated action the Swedish and Finnish governments have ruled out any NATO membership application. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä published an article together in Dagens Nyheter Jan. 10 to that effect. This was the first day of the annual Swedish conference on defense policies, organized by the Swedish non-governmental organizationwa Society and Defense, where Foreign Minister Margot Wallström came out with the same message in her keynote speech. This intervention punctuated the hyperinflated debate in Sweden to join NATO, as the two countries clearly closed out any Swedish and Finnish NATO membership. In both places it was clearly stated that there "would be no abrupt changes in the policy of non-alliance," stating: "It has served us well." Both stated that there are "tensions in the region" and that "a NATO membership would not contribute to détente."
There is tremendous pressure on Sweden and Finland to join NATO. Tons of articles, "leaks" and anti-Russian propaganda have filled the media. This included a submarine scare hysterically played up by the media in the summer. All four non-Socialist parties, that made up the former government, have one after the other opened up for NATO membership. The foreign pressure is exemplified by Edward Lucas, senior editor with London's The Economist, writing guest op-eds in Svenska Dagbladet. Also, the earlier decision to name Norwegian social democrat and former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, as head of NATO to succeed a Dane, shows the regional priority of NATO.
Going into the just-completed conference on defense policies, a crescendo of the campaign was reached. The conference organizers even took the extraordinary step of inviting Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis to interfere in this domestic issue and call for Sweden to join NATO.
The global strategic map would shift dramatically if NATO were extended to Russia's borders with Scandinavia, close to St. Petersburg and most importantly to the Murmansk area, where half of Russia's nuclear deterrent is based. During the Cold War even Norway kept the nuclear weapons away from that Russian border area, in what was effectively a nuclear-free zone together with Sweden and Finland. Were Finland and Sweden to join NATO, the whole Baltic Sea would become a NATO lake.
Nonetheless, it is the case that Stockholm and Helsinki have moved much closer to NATO. Both countries are most active in the NATO partnership activities. Last year both countries signed the NATO host nation support agreement allowing for assistance from NATO in emergency situations, as well as allowing the use of Swedish and Finnish territory for joint military exercises.