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Old 14th Sep 2015, 09:20   #81 (permalink)
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Swedish Party's U-turn Reignites NATO Membership Question

HELSINKI — A proposal from Sweden's NATO-skeptic Center Party that the country should join the alliance in conjunction with non-aligned neighbor Finland has reignited the NATO debate in Sweden. The proposal, made in a joint statement by Center Party leader Annie Lööf with defense and foreign affairs spokesmen Kerstin Lundgren and Daniel Bäckström, will be put to the party’s annual conference in Falun at the end of September.

"It would be natural that part of our deepening [defense] cooperation with Finland will also involve working together to seek membership in NATO," according to the statement. "We believe such a course would not only strengthen the ability of our two countries to contribute to the stability and security in our immediate area, but also in international security efforts."

The Center’s proposal contains three core conditions that will be presented at the party’s convention — that Sweden applies for NATO membership jointly with Finland; that membership is contingent on NATO troops or nuclear weapons not being stationed permanently in Sweden; and that NATO agrees to work with Sweden to create a Nordic nuclear-free zone. "Our conditions are reasonable. Norway’s membership agreement with NATO included stipulations on no permanent troops or nuclear weapons," Bäckström said.

If Finland and Sweden joined NATO concurrently, said Lööf, it would mean that all Nordic states, including Norway, Denmark and Iceland, would be NATO members. "This would strengthen the Nordic voice on global foreign and security issues, and provide us with more opportunities to jointly influence NATO's future development," Lööf said.

Russia is staunchly opposed to Finland or Sweden joining NATO. In June, Viktor Tatarintsev, Russia's ambassador to Sweden, warned that both countries could become the subject of Russian "countermeasures" if they abandoned their non-aligned status.

"Sweden’s security is best built in cooperation with others," Bäckström said. "The NATO issue is more in the limelight this year because the security climate has changed. We do not believe that our membership in NATO would heighten a potential threat from Russia. More countries have joined NATO in recent years. It is natural for Sweden to want to join the alliance."

The pivotal shift in the Center’s view of NATO is driven by a more militaristic and threatening Russia. The Kremlin’s intervention in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea has changed the security landscape for all Nordic and Baltic governments in the region.

The Center’s policy reversal on NATO could prove a tide-turning moment, said Tomas Frings, a Berlin-based political analyst. "The Center and the Christian Democrats were the two most NATO-skeptic parties in the center-right alliance government led by then-Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt," Frings said. "They effectively blocked the natural desire of the Moderates and the Liberals to move Sweden closer to NATO membership." As a united force, all four parties could pump up the pressure for membership and compel the Socialist-Green government to take a "formal position on the NATO question," Frings said................
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 12:13   #82 (permalink)
 
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Sounds better than the half witted EU army idea.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 16:11   #83 (permalink)
 
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I wonder if Mr Putin and his team understand that if Russia were a better neighbor, Sweden and Finland -- who for decades were not NATO members -- would not be inclined to pursue membership in that organization.

Political decisions don't occur in a vacuum.
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Old 28th Sep 2016, 20:42   #84 (permalink)
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...scription-2018

Sweden plans to reintroduce compulsory military service from 2018, eight years after it was abolished. The Scandinavian country, which has not seen armed conflict on its territory in two centuries, ended conscription after it was deemed an unsatisfactory way of meeting the needs of a modern army.

“I hope that we are going to find a path to a more stable, robust and functional means of recruitment,” the defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, said.

The policy will affect Swedes born after 1999, according to a report by a former member of parliament for the defence ministry. The measure is expected to be adopted by parliament, subject to agreement between the leftist government and the centre-right opposition. Approximately 4,000 18-year-olds of both sexes are expected to be called up each year.

The move was “an intelligent proposal given that we have seen for a number of years now that volunteers are not sufficient to supply either the quality or quantity of soldiers” needed, Johan Osterberg, a researcher from the School for Advanced Defence Studies, told the news agency TT.

Sweden is not a Nato member but has signed the organisation’s partnership for peace programme launched in 1994 to develop military cooperation between Nato and non-member countries.
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Old 28th Sep 2016, 21:38   #85 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
I wonder if Mr Putin and his team understand that if Russia were a better neighbor, Sweden and Finland -- who for decades were not NATO members -- would not be inclined to pursue membership in that organization.

Political decisions don't occur in a vacuum.
Well, it appears that Mr Putin intends for Russia to be the kind of neighbor it has always been, perhaps even more severely, which could be hindered by expanded NATO membership.

It may also reflect a deeply seated paranoia in the Russian psyche predicated on the notion that strongly defended neighbors means a weaker Russia.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 14:38   #86 (permalink)
 
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It may also reflect a deeply seated paranoia in the Russian psyche predicated on the notion that strongly defended neighbors means a weaker Russia.
Or that something that isn't part of Russia means a weaker Russia?
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 18:51   #87 (permalink)
 
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Given that US secretary of State James Baker promised that Nato would not expand one inch Eastward - and the promptly did I'd say Putin has good reason to be aggrieved.
Perhaps in return he might be considering expanding Westwards....
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 07:09   #88 (permalink)
 
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Given that US secretary of State James Baker promised that Nato would not expand one inch Eastward - and the promptly did I'd say Putin has good reason to be aggrieved.
Perhaps in return he might be considering expanding Westwards....
You're using "To expand" to describe agreements on one hand and force on the other. It's an interesting arguing technique - there must be some latin name for it that I can quote to show off.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 08:04   #89 (permalink)
 
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Only just seen this discussion, but to add my observation from only a couple of years ago... I was part of a UK convoy that transited through Sweden to Norway which obviously took a few days.


There were at least three occasions whilst we stopped over night whereby I or one of the other driver party members were approached and slapped on the shoulder to be told .." Its good to see UK military on our roads.." and that they were seriously looking at wanting the government to apply to join NATO as they felt uncomfortable with the pesky ruskies.... As one individual stated...they felt very alone these days.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 14:49   #90 (permalink)
 
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Given that US secretary of State James Baker promised that Nato would not expand one inch Eastward - and the promptly did I'd say Putin has good reason to be aggrieved.
Perhaps in return he might be considering expanding Westwards....
For selected definitions of the term "promptly" perhaps. James Baker stopped being a cabinet officer in 1992/1993 when the administration changed. Now let's seen who was the first nation to be added to the 16 nations, and when did that happen? At the 1999 Washington summit, where Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic officially joined.

When did the opening moves get taken to explore new relationships with previous "Warsaw Pact" Nations? 1991ish.

These three nations had non-trivial negative experiences at the hands of the Russians/Soviets for about 50 years. Of course they wanted a change! They wanted to be part of the prosperous West. It wasn't just a matter of getting into NATO. It was a turning westward in general, to the EU, which they were free to do.

I was involved in a bunch of Partnership for Peace initiatives in the 90's that were well intentioned, and included the Russians. NATO "expansion" in 1996-1998 had to do with Spain joining the integrated command structure, but the 1997 Madrid Summit did see invitations to selected other nations to join if they liked.

None of the nations who wanted to join NATO were forced to.

More recently, the damned fool idea to get Georgia to join NATO was finally put to bed and axed. In each case the whole of the alliance had opportunity to accept or object. Depending upon whom was up, various NATO nations raised objections, and issues did or didn't get resolved.

All of the above said, it is my opinion that the 1999 bombing campaign against Serbia did serious damage to the US/NATO/Russian relationship that had been slowly improving during the 90's. Whatever good will was being built (the Russian brigade worked with the US 1AD in the northern sector in Bosnia doing peace keeping/peace enforcement) was undone.


Western rhetoric against the Russian response to the strife in Chechnya puzzled me then, and in retrospect was myopic in the extreme. It's more or less the same problem that rose up among Islamists elsewhere, and still poses a serious security problem for a variety of nations.


A concise illustration of the dysfunctional relationship between Russia and the US, and some NATO allies, is in Syria. A chance to work together is being taken in some cases (Kerry/Lavrov and chemical weapons) and squandered elsewhere.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 17:45   #91 (permalink)
 
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Given that US secretary of State James Baker promised that Nato would not expand one inch Eastward - and the promptly did I'd say Putin has good reason to be aggrieved.
Perhaps in return he might be considering expanding Westwards....
Contrary to its past behavior, Russia does not hold sovereignty over its neighbors. Realistically, NATO membership by Sweden, Finland or any of the nearby states truly poses no military or security threat to the Soviet (oops Russian) state. This is only in the dangerous 20th century mindset of the Kremlin.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 17:54   #92 (permalink)
 
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You and I know that, but in the Russian psyche, the invasions from the West in the 19th and 20th Centuries still runs deep.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 18:17   #93 (permalink)
 
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Lonewolf 50:
You wrote: "... it is my opinion that the 1999 bombing campaign against Serbia did serious damage to the US/NATO/Russian relationship that had been slowly improving during the90's."

Totally agree.

As for NATO extension/expansion eastward, the buzz and irritation here is based on the solid promises that Germany gave to Gorbachev during the agreement to remove the (Berlin) wall in late 80's. SU agreed wit hits reunification and started withdrawing the troops back home, which was a huge social pain to accommodate 330K+ military and 200K+ civilians as most of them did not have flats/houses in the homeland. SU and then Russia were undertaking costly unilateral steps and in return got a knife in the back. OK, Gorby and Yeltsin were narrow-minded and simply trusted Kohl and his men without bothering of thorough preparation of a binding treaty, which obviously was impossible to implement because Germany could not act on behalf of the whole NATO. Anyway, people here were left with a bad feeling about getting fooled.

GlobalNav:
You wrote: "Contrary to its past behavior, Russia does not hold sovereignty over its neighbors. Realistically, NATO membership by Sweden, Finland or any of the nearby states truly poses no military or security threat to the Soviet (oops Russian) state. This is only in the dangerous 20thc entury mindset of the Kremlin."

Sorry, did not understand the 1st sentence... Problems of the neighbors are their internal problems. Russian contribution to these problems is not more than that of US. Agree though that countries like Sweden, Finland (and all the others in Europe) are of no threat to Russia themselves.Threat is their serving as potential "mega-platforms" for US weapons.
Imagine Russia places serious arms in Cuba and start saying to guys at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave: "Come on, it's not a threat at all, shut down your 60's mindset".
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 22:02   #94 (permalink)
 
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And an awful lot of Finns speak Russian....
Indeed. As did a bunch of Ukrainians. And Russia recently used that excuse to annex a big chunk of Ukraine. Of course they would never do that to the Finns. Never.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 22:12   #95 (permalink)
 
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You and I know that, but in the Russian psyche, the invasions from the West in the 19th and 20th Centuries still runs deep.
They forget about the Russian invasion of Western Europe in 1919, of course. Hitler didn't.
The Russian target was France, turning the whole of Europe over to the Communist Empire.

Then there is this

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_...he_River_Rhine

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In Denmark targets would include Roskilde and Esbjerg. Roskilde, while having no military significance, would be targeted for its cultural and historical significance to break the morale of the Danish population and army,
Peace loving ruskies nuking a city becuase of its historical significance..
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Old 1st Oct 2016, 07:31   #96 (permalink)
 
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Peter,


During the times of SU none of strategic war plans were shared with "satellite countries", especially with Poland that was always considered as a non-reliable one. Maybe there were some paper exercises by military students of Polish general staff or something like that. Or, alternatively, "polish conservatives" fabricated some papers to generate noise and attention. Words like "targeted for its cultural and historical significance to break the morale of the Danish population and army" were never used in SU military documents. Somebody interpreted some crap papers in the way to excite general public...


You'd better refer to SIOP-62 or earlier Dropshot plans of US.
E.g. https://nsarchive.wordpress.com/2011...s-of-overkill/


A couple of excerpts:


"....if the full U.S. nuclear force assigned to the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) struck the Soviet Union, 54 percent of the total population would be killed, that is some 108 million of a total population of 217 million. "


"... The target list also included almost all Soviet cities with populations of 50,000 or greater. The alert force would target 199 cities, while the full force would target 295."


But since it is a thread for military, what's the use to discuss who was more montrous? That was such a time...
US carpet bombing of Vietnam using napalm and "agent orange" chemical would now be considered as a war crime, but only idiots would attempt to bring the crews to a court now. That was such a time...
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Old 1st Oct 2016, 10:15   #97 (permalink)
 
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"the Russian invasion of Western Europe in 1919, of course. Hitler didn't.
The Russian target was France, turning the whole of Europe over to the Communist Empire"

UH???????? The Russians invaded Western Europe in 1919????

Must have missed that one in my Modern History class.....................
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Old 1st Oct 2016, 12:51   #98 (permalink)
 
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In WW I Russia managed to lose to a loser, somewhat a world anti-record.
I.e Germany was totally defeated by Britain, France and their allies, but shortly before that in 1918 the already "bolshevik" Russia signed a shameful peace deal with Germany according to which the germans occupied a huge part of territory in N-W of Russia.


Maybe by "the Russian invasion of Western Europe in 1919" a conflict with Poland in 1919-1920 was meant? But anyway Poland is eastern, not western Europe...
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Old 1st Oct 2016, 18:44   #99 (permalink)
 
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A_Van

Poland may prefer to be classified as Central Europe, rather than Eastern, but I get your geographical point. Culturally, they are an interesting mix of east and west in Europe.
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Old 1st Oct 2016, 19:31   #100 (permalink)
 
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But anyway Poland is eastern, not western Europe...
I'll leave you to play the geography game, what's most important is which sphere they choose to identify with, which also gives a solid indication who they fear the most.
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