Sweden sees Russian threat

It has been reported that Sweden has become increasingly anxious about a possible threat of Russian attack.

This alongside rising tensions between the US and Russia over allegations of interference in the recent election could be cause for some concern.

The Telegraph: Swedish towns told to ‘make preparations regarding the threat of war and conflict’ with Russia

Sweden’s towns and villages have been ordered to make preparations for a possible military attack in the latest sign of the country’s growing anxiety at its newly belligerent Russian neighbour.

The country’s Civil Contingency Agency (MSB) last week sent a letter to local authorities across the country asking them to maintain operations centres in underground bunkers, ensure that a system of emergency sirens is in place, and to be open to cooperating on war exercises with the Swedish Armed Forces.

“In a state of war,  civil defence for municipalities is no different from any of the other services they should provide,” the letter read, instructing local governments to “ensure their ability to maintain their functions during disturbed situations, and at the most extreme, in a war scenario.”

The dramatic call comes as Sweden returns to the Total Defence Strategy it maintained during the Cold War, reconstituting its old coastal anti-ship missile system, placing an armoured division on the exposed Baltic island of Gotland, and making plans to restart compulsory conscription as early as 2018.

“This strategy is not new. We used it during the Cold War and we are going to now strengthen coordination regarding civil defence,” Magnus Dyberg-Ek, who is leading the civil defence operation for MSB, told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

“What is new is that the security situation in our neighbourhood has worsened, and that we must therefore make preparations regarding the threat of war and conflict.”

This must be quite concerning for people in Sweden and Scandinavia.

“There is nothing to suggest that war is likely, but we have been given an order from the government to plan for it,” Svante Werger, the press officer for MSB, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

That sounds a bit contradictory.

In 2013, the Russian air force conducted a mock nuclear strike against Sweden during war games which saw a contingent of Russian aircraft approach Swedish airspace after crossing the Gulf of Finland.

This was one of several examples of dummy nuclear attacks against Nato and its allies in recent years, according to a Nato report.

During the election Trump suggested the US under his rule may not support NATO countries if they became involved in conflict.

Does Russia see an opportunities in expanding it’s influence with Donald Trump’s rise to power in the US? Maybe there is no threat to Sweden there could be a few countries in eastern Europe with increasing apprehension.

After the US election Time asked Can NATO Survive a Donald Trump Presidency?

Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Trump has suggested that the world’s most powerful military alliance should be run like an insurance scheme or a protection racket. In a typical remark on the issue this summer, he said allies that don’t “reasonably reimburse” the U.S. for the costs of defense should expect to be told, “Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.”

An emerging consensus in Europe has called Trump’s remarks the beginning of the end of the global order that has kept the West united since World War II. At best they mark the start of a bruising renegotiation of the transatlantic friendship. But it’s hard to tell which is closer to Trump’s true intention, because like so many of his policy positions, the statements he has made on NATO have come with plenty of caveats and room for retreat.

During the primary race this spring, he repeatedly called the alliance “obsolete.” But after winning the Republican nomination, he told the New York Times in July that he would like to preserve it, adding that only “fools and haters” would suggest Trump does not want to protect U.S. allies.

The ambiguity has left some room for optimism, at least among the defense experts who are willing to discount Trump’s apparent disdain for the idea of mutual defense. “I think this was politicking,” says Lord David Richards, the former head of the British Armed Forces. “I have every confidence that he will be as resolute on this issue as all U.S. presidents have since the formation of NATO,” he tells TIME.

I think that it’s too soon to have confidence in what Trump may or may not do.

Perhaps more importantly, what Putin may do, taking advantage of Trump’s ambiguity and possible lack of resolve in helping allies in NATO.

If Russia made any more military moves in Europe it’s difficult to guess whether Trump would try to stay uninvolved, or play tough guy and risk escalation, or shock the world with strong, principled and careful standing up to any Russian aggression.

If Trump continues to push the notion that NATO is a commercial enterprise – reliant less on the mutual trust and commitment of its members than on the question of who is picking up the check – he could alienate his European partners so completely that they will have no alliance left to defend. “Everybody will be so frustrated and disappointed with the other side that they will not feel a desire to continue,” says Shapiro. “NATO will become a hollow shell, because nobody will be contributing.”

A lot of that frustration has already begun to show. Even Europe’s typically cautious and understated officials have begun warning that NATO could split down the middle. “It might be that [Trump’s] policy priorities will lead America far away from some of the European basic principles or interests,” Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top official for foreign and security policy, said in an interview televised last week.

International relations are complex and difficult enough in better times. Superpower uncertainty under Trump’s presidency may be opportunistically exploited, and history has proven, escalations can quickly get out of hand.

Especially perhaps when you have egos like Putin’s and Trump’s involved.

Back to Sweden versus Russia – war between them may seem unlikely in the modern world, but in the last Millennium there have been twelve major conflicts between Sweden and Russia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_between_Russia_and_Sweden

Leave a comment

21 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  18th December 2016

    Russia and China to form an alliance to take on the west for “mutual benefit.” We are in no shape to fight these hard living stoic nations. Using Mikey Hosking as an example. He wakes up, has a lemon drink, followed by a walk in the leafy suburbs. He then has a latte with a spoonful of Turmeric added. Next its into the garage to vacuum out the Ferrari and then off to the studio in his designer jeans to pontificate about New Zealand needing more immigration. Eight, nine,ten million. The more the merrier, according to Mikey.

    He will be up against Comrade Chen. Chen shits in a hole near the paddy fields to fertilise them. He lives on a bowl of rice and a handful of vegetables each day. He works from sunset to sun rise and doesn’t know what a ‘smoko break’ is. He has little education and believes the west is a mortal enemy. He will fight to the death.Conversely, Mikey would much rather interview the invading forces to get their perspective and intentions regarding Aotearoa.

    Marvellous!

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  18th December 2016

      hmmm,the first paragraph and the last sentence are admirable Corky….you are showing some potential.

      Reply
    • Yet we are constantly told Comrade Chen wants to be more Western Corky … ? And, what’s more, that the U.S. driven West’s capitalist market demand is creating the very opportunities to make him so … to raise Chen out of poverty … to Westernize and make a capitalist of him …

      Meanwhile, Comrade Nikita is well on the way to becoming Westernized, except she has to live in a Criminalocracy rather than ‘Democracy’ … BECAUSE of the West! (Gorbechov out, Yeltsin in)

      Your childish comparison speaks volumes about your own bigotry and very little about the real situation …

      Assuming aggressive rather than defensive militarisation – which is drawing a long bow – any Chinese-Russian alliance can only end exactly like the Nazi German-USSR alliance ended in 1941 … The two nations hate each other with a vengeance …

      But it is much more likely that all along both ‘socialist’ “superpowers” have maintained their military largely to defend themselves against the West, undertaking offensive operations only to secure ‘essential’ resources, promelgate geopolitical influence and create buffer zones …. EXACTLY like the U.S. does but on nowhere near the scale the U.S. does …

      I welcome anyone who can get an honest interview with the leaders of these nations rather than base their opinions on absurd prejudices and hearsay, although I doubt ‘honesty’ plays much part in the leadership of any nation …

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  18th December 2016

        You’re such a sanctimonious old sausage. Parti. It ails me replying to you. You have a good handle on any political ideology starting with ‘Neo,’ but are remiss understanding actual outcomes when your political stratum’s are implemented. Ditto military strategy and human action based on historical human behavioural trends.

        ‘Your childish comparison speaks volumes about your own bigotry and very little about the real situation … ”

        Tut tut… there you go again. Confusing simplicity with stupidity. Comrade Chen doesn’t want to be more Western, Comrade Chen wants what western capitalism can offer…without the West. In fact, Comrade Chen has no say in the matter. To survive China has had to adopt Western capitalism. Nobody forced China into capitalism as a means of production.

        My childish example can be understood on many levels. Comrade Chen doesn’t just exist in the paddy fields. He works in factories. He’s in the burgeoning middle class. Hell, he’s even in the billionaire class. BUT HE IS ALWAYS CHINESE. That’s the way he is indoctrinated. That’s his psychological make-up. Unlike the West which is fractionated in cliques who both support our western values and whom, like you, who want to tear them down.

        Enough said.

        http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/alliance-against-us-hegemony-russia-china-begin-coordinating-foreign-policy/ri13345

        Quote:

        ‘This is an incredible statement, and is most likely causing mass panic at the Pentagon. China and Russia are working together on “strategic coordination” regarding “a number of international issues”. This is how NATO talks, minus the acronym.’

        One thing will led to another. Soon the word ” hegemony” wont come into the equation.

        Reply
  2. this is so cute:

    [Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Trump has suggested that the world’s most powerful military alliance should be run like an insurance scheme or a protection racket. In a typical remark on the issue this summer, he said allies that don’t “reasonably reimburse” the U.S. for the costs of defense should expect to be told, “Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.”]

    Trumps point is the US spends big on defense, he wants to use some of that funding for other stuff… so he wants European NATO members to pick up a bigger chunk of the tab.

    Given the Pact is a huge boon for the European members as it gives them a big stick carry by the US to warn the Rus off, you would think they would be happy to pay a bit more to defray the US’s expenses in defending the European members borders.

    Heck Bernie Sanders agrees with the Trumpster on this!!!

    “We spend about 75 percent of the entire cost of the military aspect of NATO. Given the fact that France has a very good health care system and free public education, college education for their people, the U.K. has a good National Health Service and they also provide fairly reasonable higher education, you know what, yeah, I do believe that the countries of Europe should pick up more of the burden for their defense.”

    But the reality is hard to judge. the US picks up 22% of the common NATO budget of 2 billion, but it has by far the largest military which costs a fortune and NATO does free ride on that capability. NATO should be copping some of the cost of the US military – by freed riding they get to spend elsewhere as Sanders observes…

    The Sanders quote above and a nuanced discussion of the topic can be found here…

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/apr/19/bernie-s/sanders-oversimplifies-us-share-NATO/

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  18th December 2016

      I’ve stood on the Swedish coast and looked across the water to Russia. It’s not a great feeling. As for Trump, he has enough generals in his team that I don’t think you need worry too much about his military policies. The EU bureaucracy is a far bigger worry.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  18th December 2016

        oh gawd….Sarah Palin has a double here in NZ….’I’ve stood on the Swedish coast and looked across the water to Russia. It’s not a great feeling. ‘!BOL.

        Reply
        • Joe Bloggs

           /  18th December 2016

          hahaha, comment of the day right there!! Sarah Palin’s kiwi stunt double issues face-palm statement – pure gold Blaze!

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  18th December 2016

          Understanding is entirely wasted on the Left. An idiotic face palm is all they are capable of ever contributing from their position of safety and ignorance.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  18th December 2016

            don’t be like that ..Al….can you see Sth America from your….porch?

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  18th December 2016

              No, which is the point, B. When Russia is just a few miles away directly across the sea it focuses the mind very differently from when it is half a world away. Sweden is a big sparsely populated country with a long coastline. Defending it from the Russian bear is no walk in the park. Neighbouring Finland has an even harder challenge and more bloody history from trying.

      • The person Trump has proposed as Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, has nicknames of ‘Warrior Monk’ and ‘Mad Dog’.

        Technically (Federal law) isn’t eligible for the position but it is expected that Congress will give him a waiver.

        In 2005 he said:
        “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left, anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot.”

        “It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up front with you; I like brawling.”

        http://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/news/a40956/james-mattis-trump-cabinet-secretary-of-defense/

        Nothing to worry about?

        Reply
        • Please Pete……. the guy is a Marine. Marines are fighting men and when in uniform they talk it up.

          Why? Because they have to maintain a mental state that allows them to go in harms way when called on and perform a brutal act – killing another human.

          Braggadocio, swagger, bluster is a requirement of the job. He made General because he can think, is disciplined and is in control of his emotions. He is no flake…..

          Just because the WaPo, NYT and CNN decide to try and paint him as a homicidical maniac doesn’t make it true…

          Reply
          • But U.S. law says a Defense Secretary must have been out of uniform for at least seven years, and Mattis has only been retired for three, meaning he will need a waiver from Congress to be confirmed for the post.

            The law is part of the 1947 National Security Act created at the inception of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense.

            Lawrence Korb, the Assistant Secretary of Defense under the Reagan Administration, said that while he thinks Mattis is a “wonderful person,” there is “a reason we wrote this law.”

            “Gen. Mattis will give the President-elect unfiltered advice – my worry is what filter he sees it through,” Korb told Fox News. “I want someone in the Pentagon who makes sure their military advice is not filtered by their career.”

            And:

            Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) also has raised concerns.

            “While I deeply respect Gen. Mattis’ service, I will oppose a waiver,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy, and I will not vote for an exception to this rule.”

            http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/02/james-mad-dog-mattis-cerebral-warrior.html

            Reply
          • But all the ink spilled on Mattis as a snubber of convention, gifted combat commander, sophisticated strategist, ardent bibliophile and reader of dead Romans misses the most important fact about him: Mattis is a Marine.

            The Marines aren’t just another service, like the Army, Air Force or Navy. They are a tightknit military tribe, with their own beliefs, myths and philosophies. They view themselves as elite, different from the other services. They’re the closest thing our military has to a cult.

            The military officials I spoke with say that Mattis is the quintessential Marine; it defines everything he does and believes, from how he treats his soldiers and disciplines his commanders to how he views the world. Most critically, perhaps, for the United States and its future, Mattis has embraced the Marine Corps’ longstanding grievance against Iran, one that goes back to the 1980s.

            In fact, Mattis’ anti-Iran animus is so intense that it led President Barack Obama to replace him as Centcom commander. It was a move that roiled Mattis admirers, seeding claims that the president didn’t like “independent-minded generals who speak candidly to their civilian leaders.”

            But Mattis’ Iran antagonism also concerns many of the Pentagon’s most senior officers, who disagree with his assessment and openly worry whether his Iran views are based on a sober analysis or whether he’s simply reflecting a 30-plus-year-old hatred of the Islamic Republic that is unique to his service. It’s a situation that could lead to disagreement within the Pentagon over the next four years—but also, senior Pentagon officials fear, to war.

            http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/james-mattis-iran-secretary-of-defense-214500

            Reply
            • And none of that changes anything I said.

              He doesn’t like Iran and its leadership. He remembers Beirut and wants payback. So what – that is the game Iran and the US play with each other.

              He is a professional and has led at the pointy end. Being removed from a command by Barack Obama is not a bad thing. Obama has been woeful and has undermined US credibility on the foreign affairs front in my view with one disaster after another: the Arab Spring Spruiking and meddling has been a huge force for death and disorder, the handling of the Ukraine has been crap and many innocents paid the price on the ground and in the air.

              If congress block him that is there prerogative – but I don’t think they will.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  18th December 2016

              Robert McNamara was one of the worst Secretaries of Defence and a civilian. Also there are other Generals in Trump’s team. There will be plenty of experience to draw on.

        • PDB

           /  18th December 2016

          PG’s preferred secretary of defense…….

          Reply
        • Corky

           /  18th December 2016

          Someone posted this before. This chap was probably Mad Dogs marine instructor.

          Quote: ” I will make you ministers of death” Damn , I love the American way.

          Reply
  3. patupaiarehe

     /  18th December 2016

    Oh please! It would be a very foolish leader who chose to attempt an attack on the Swiss. Being neutral doesn’t mean you have no enemies, it means you have no friends, and they are well aware of this…

    Reply

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