Sweden openly becomes a nuclear weapons supporter

Politics is the art of the possible. Even-handedness, and especially the need to appear as being even-handed, often requires the simultaneous support to conflicting policies

That Sweden champions neutrality and disarmament has been a cherished perception that Sweden has promoted for over 60 years. The reality is not so so clear-cut. Swedish neutrality has always been laced with a large dose of pragmatism and opportunism. During WW2, Swedish neutrality “leaned” towards Germany while they were winning until 1942, and then leaned increasingly towards the Allies. Sweden has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Sweden has consistently abstained from voting on an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the TPNW and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

It is not quite hypocrisy, but it comes close, to both supporting the having of nuclear weapons (by proxy) and  to mouth righteous platitudes about encouraging disarmament and the eventual prohibition of nuclear weapons.

The Russian (mis)adventures in Ukraine and the subsequent fears have forced the Swedish application to NATO and the formal acceptance of nuclear weapons.

The Local:

Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT on Monday evening published a full copy of the letter Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, sent to Nato’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on July 5th, in which she formally confirmed her government’s “interest in receiving an invitation for Sweden to accede to the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949”. 

“Sweden accepts Nato’s approach to security and defence, including the essential role of nuclear weapons,” the letter, which can be read here in full, reads, adding that it “intends to participate fully in Nato’s military structure and collective defence planning processes, and is willing to commit forces and capabilities for the full range of Nato missions.” 

The clause will alarm those who were already uncomfortable with how Nato membership will clash with Sweden’s historical efforts to promote nuclear disarmament. 

As recently as 2019, Sweden launched the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, through which 16 non-nuclear nations sought, among other goals, to “diminish the role of nuclear weapons in security policies and doctrines”. 

As a full NATO member Sweden will not be able to refuse the storage or deployment of nuclear weapons from Swedish territory. Of course, full NATO membership requires ratification from Turkey and that will only happen when Sweden stops (tacitly) supporting the PKK and gives up all the “dangerous Kurds” that have been granted asylum.

If ever necessary Sweden could produce and deploy nuclear weapons in less than 12 months. What was once a truth preferred to be hidden has now come into the open. Sweden is – and has always been – a nuclear weapons capable country.

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