Non-allied Sweden

Occasionally Finnish NATO boosters warn of the consequences of Sweden joining NATO while Finland stays out. Our neighbors to the west are seriously thinking about it so we should too, is the general suggestion. Earlier in the week, apropos of Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt leaving out the word "non-allied" from the foreign policy section of a speech, Jacob Christensen had this to say on the topic:

Sweden hasn't been in any military alliance since - well - time immemorial and joining an alliance has been a complete no-no in Swedish politics since 1945. As a leading politician, you're not even supposed to declare that you are not considering joining NATO because just making such a statement would endanger Sweden's non-aligned status. On the other hand, according to critics and political opponents, failing to make the ritual confession to non-alliance amounts to endorsing some kind of military cooperation with - the horror, the horror - NATO.

[...] Sweden isn't a member of NATO and in the real world, NATO membership isn't even a non-issue on the political agenda.

Based on that description, it seems that Finnish politicians, at least on the right, more openly support NATO membership than their Swedish counterparts do. In Finland there are many leading politicians, including several ministers, whose NATO position is that they're personally in favor of membership, but consider joining to be politically unfeasible at this time. I wonder if such beasts exist within Sweden's centre-right government.


Giustino said...

Do you think that Finland has a more equal relationship with Russia because of the NATO card?

That is to say that Finland flirts with the alliance and makes it known that it could join any time *should* relations deteriorate.

Ari said...

That's difficult to evaluate because so many things changed in Russia around the same time as the NATO card came into play in Finnish politics. I'd say that Russia is slightly more polite and pays more attention to Finland's concerns due to the NATO option being available.