Left/Green sanctimony is causing a debacle for Swedish foreign policy

The 2005 defence cooperation agreement between Sweden and Saudi Arabia was renewed in 2010 and was coming up for a natural termination or a mutual renewal again this year. Currently there is very little being done under this agreement. It could have been allowed to die quietly. But that was not loud enough and self-righteous enough for the Greens and the left of the ruling Social Democrats.

The Greens are new to government (and it shows in many areas) but they are implacably opposed to Sweden having any defense industry of any kind. The Greens and the left are utterly opposed to the “anti-feminist and anti-democratic” nature of Saudi Arabia. But the Greens and the left of the Social Democrats forgot that they were actually in government and were not just an irresponsible lobby group like Greenpeace or the WWF indulging in publicity pranks.  They were so mesmerised by the idea of showing off their moral credentials that the intention to terminate the defense agreement was announced in a great blaze of self-righteous publicity.  The Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (an old trade unionist with a good understanding of the importance of jobs) actually wanted to extend the agreement. But he was over-ruled by his far left and the Greens. His Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström (who, unlike the Greens, is old enough to know better), was more obsessed with demonstrating how Swedish foreign policy was feminist and green and occupied the moral high ground than in promoting Swedish interests and values. And so she forgot about her duties as a Foreign Minister and sharply criticised Saudi Arabia in most undiplomatic language. It verges on incompetence 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 League.

But the Greens and the left (and the Swedish media – who are all very politically correct and morally upstanding) basked in the warmth of their own sanctimonious self-indulgence. If they thought they were promoting Swedish values, they seem to have failed spectacularly. Instead they have fuelled the opposing views from the region about Swedish moral degeneracy and decadence.

But now the whole affair is becoming a foreign policy debacle. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have called their ambassadors home. Fifty seven other nations have backed Saudi Arabia in criticising Margot Wallström for “denigrating Saudi Arabia’s social norms, judicial institutions and political institutions”. Swedes are not being issued visas for Saudi Arabia any longer.

Sweden is left floundering with a foreign policy being made by children and governed by childishness. A policy built on trying to demonstrate a self-proclaimed moral superiority and which talks down to others smacks of the playground. It diminishes Sweden. Business will suffer and jobs will suffer. And it will take a long time to repair the damage. Right now almost the entire Islamic world has taken umbrage and Sweden’s voice has never been as irrelevant in the region.

(Soon after the left/green government took over they had recognised Palestine as a State – also to demonstrate their moral superiority. Needless to say Israel was not amused and they are not the flavour of the month with Netanyahu. And he is going to be around for a long time yet).

But the Greens and far left are still basking in their moral superiority and don’t even realise that they have done something very silly. That they have managed to earn the contempt of both Israel and the Arab World  – simultaneously – seems to be of little consequence.

Swedish Radio:

Saudi Arabia has informed the Foreign Ministry that they will not issue any new business visas to Swedes. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that they received notice about this and say they will continue trying to resolve the issue bilaterally.

Companies that are in procurement or planning projects will not be able to send employees to the country. 

The Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven had just received the information and said, “We do not want this situation with Saudi Arabia. We have been clear all the time that we want a good relationship with Saudi Arabia and we work seriously and systematically with it”.

Swedish Industry Minister Mikael Damberg also believe that the news is negative. “It is clear that this not good and we are working both to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia and to make sure that it does not spread to more countries. We are very careful to emphasize that what the government did was not to extend a military Terms of Collaboration with Saudi Arabia. And there was a very strong political majority in parliament not to extend”, says Mikael Damberg.

Tonight, the Minister and the Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström will meet with executives from Swedish industry regarding Sweden’s relations with Saudi Arabia. “I will talk about what the government is doing but also to listen to those companies that are active in the region to see if they have encountered a problem and if there are misunderstandings so that we can help each other” says Mikael Damberg.

On being asked what actions the government would take, he said “We are working very hard to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia. Both through diplomatic contacts here in Stockholm but also in place in Riyadh and in countries in the region. The work is intense.. We are also working together with Swedish companies in place in these markets. We take note that this has happened but we have no interest to implement some kind of retaliation or to escalate this”, says Mikael Damberg.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have called their ambassadors home from Sweden. The reason is because of the statements made by Foreign Minister Margot Wallström about Saudi Arabia in connection with the Swedish government cancelling a controversial trade agreement.

At the same time 57 states have closed ranks behind Saudi Arabia in their criticism of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström. This means that almost the entire Muslim world is critical of Wallström’s statements.

“In its opinion Wallström has humiliated Saudi Arabia and its social norms, legal systems and political institutions,” says a statement on the website of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IOC).

 

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2 Responses to “Left/Green sanctimony is causing a debacle for Swedish foreign policy”

  1. Swedish King rides to the rescue of the damsel Minister in distress? | The k2p blog Says:

    […] foreign policy has blundered badly by not analysing or understanding the Saudi Arabian reaction to the “morally […]

  2. A Swedish government non-apology (which the silly Saudis thought was sincere) | The k2p blog Says:

    […] of her statements smacks of incompetence. I have no doubt that some of her statements were more for domestic consumption, since this government is hostage to its green partners (pun intended). But it was more than a […]

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