“A bloody nose” as Swedish foreign policy degenerates to be just domestic policy

UPDATE! The 22 foreign ministers of the member countries of the Arab League released a statement today condemning the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, for her anti-Saudi comments. Her comments were considered “irresponsible and unacceptable”. The undertone is that she does not understand very much about the Arab world or about Sharia law. No matter what one may think of Sharia and Saudi Arabia, Margot Wallströms statements reveal a Swedish foreign affairs behaviour which either does not analyse the consequences of its statements – or is incompetent. The obsessions of the greens and the far-left are bringing the country’s foreign policy into disrepute.

The new left-green Swedish government seems to have become a slave of their minority green partners (and are also going out of their way to placate the far left party which supports them from outside the government). So much so that foreign policy has now become a string of sanctimonious positions. It is now more about being politically correct in a domestic context rather than actually promoting Sweden’s interests (geopolitical and commercial) in foreign lands.

The Foreign Minister – Margot Wallström – started of her term by recognising Palestine as a State. It pandered to all her domestic constituents and allies, upset Israel and the US,  and has not helped the Palestinians one jot. But it allowed those on the left to expound their beliefs and provided support for the growing anti-semitism in Sweden.

Some 10 years ago the socialist government of the time entered into a cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia regarding defence and defence production. The agreement was nurtured all through the 8 years of the subsequent moderate-led government and provided a good deal of business and many jobs in Sweden. The current socialist government of Stefan Löfven is hard pressed by its own left wing to cancel the deal. The greens absolutely hate this agreement but that is because their goal is to dismantle the Swedish defence industry. The politically correct feminist view is that all things Saudi Arabian must be condemned. For the last few weeks the Swedish media (which are predominantly left of centre and hopelessly politically correct) have been running a campaign to support the greens and the far left in condemning the Saudi agreement.

And their efforts have now resulted in Margot Wallström “receiving a bloody nose” from Saudi Arabia. She was scheduled to make a speech to the Arab League (about Human Rights) but this was cancelled at short notice by a very irritated Saudi Arabia.

TheLocal.seSweden’s national debate about a controversial arms deal has sparked anger in Saudi Arabia and formed the backdrop to its move to block the Swedish foreign minister’s planned speech at the Arab League, according to an expert on Saudi politics.

Thord Janson, a Saudi Arabia expert at Gothenburg University, said: “This isn’t a slap on the hand; it’s a punch in the nose,” he told news agency TT. The decision by Saudi Arabia, a regional powerhouse, to prevent Wallström from speaking in Cairo on Monday appeared designed to cause embarrassment, he said. “From a diplomatic perspective it’s incredibly harsh. One couldn’t be more clear.” Janson predicted that Saudi Arabia would now make life trickier for Swedish firms operating in the wealthy Middle Eastern oil state. “The authorities might make it more difficult for them to import goods, deliveries might get slowed down in customs, and it could become hard to get certain permits.” 

The very public discussion in Sweden on whether to extend a military cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia had sparked strong reactions in Riyadh, said Janson. Sweden’s Green Party, the junior partner in the Social Democrat-led government, wants to scrap the deal, as do several members of Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s own party.  

Swedish criticism of the flogging of the blogger and human rights activists Raif Badawi may also have played a part in the Saudi decision.

“They thinks it’s an internal matter,” said Janson. “They don’t understand why a morally decadent country like Sweden is getting involved in the Saudi legal system.

My perception is of Swedish foreign policy now becoming quite shallow and with little substance. It is more concerned with being – and being seen to be – politically correct in the eyes of the greens, the far left and the feminist party. Foreign policy has degenerated to become a series of sanctimonious and self-righteous statements where the purpose is to look good for the domestic audience. And Margot Wallström – who is not inexperienced – has not the strength to resist the domestic lobbying.

Swedish foreign policy no longer shows any evidence of any deep thought about Swedish interests or how to promote change abroad. The end of the agreement with Saudi Arabia is now inevitable. There is little chance of Saudi Arabia (or Israel) now paying any attention to the “Swedish opinion”. Swedish business of any kind – and not just the defence business – can expect to meet more unfriendly customers. Other European countries will not be slow to step in to replace Swedish suppliers. But the far left and the greens can wallow in self-righteousness. Any chance of a place on the Security Council has disappeared.


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One Response to ““A bloody nose” as Swedish foreign policy degenerates to be just domestic policy”

  1. Left/Green sanctimony is causing a debacle for Swedish foreign policy | The k2p blog Says:

    […] that the consequences of her statements were not analysed. She received a swift diplomatic “punch on the nose” when she was barred from speaking to the Arab […]

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