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'Sweden can't count on help from Nato'

'Sweden can't count on help from Nato'

Published: 14 Jan 2013 16:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Jan 2013 16:42 GMT+01:00

After Fogh Rasmussen was dropped off at the popular Swedish skiing resort Sälen by Blackhawk helicopter to attend the annual conference, he fielded questions from Swedish journalists, many of whom focused on whether Nato would ever rush to Sweden's defence.

"I don't want to go into that because it is a hypothetical scenario," Fogh Rasmussen said.

"But collective defence only applies to Nato members."

He explained that there were "limits" to Sweden's cooperation with Nato and that partner countries like Sweden aren't covered by Nato's Article 5, which obliges members of the alliance to come to one another's aid.

Recently, Sweden's commander-in-chief Sverker Göranson said that Sweden’s scaled-back military has left the country vulnerable. Sweden, he claimed, can only defend itself for one week if it comes under attack.

"If a Nato partner brings a security issue to our table we will of course look at it but there is no guarantee," Fogh Rasmussen, speaking in his native Danish, told journalists on Monday.

"You cannot be outside Nato but want everything that Nato can give. Sweden knows this and we will not meddle in whether it becomes a member."

He still credited Sweden for being Nato's "most active partner". Sweden partakes in the Nato-led mission in Afghanistan, for example, and Swedish war planes patrolled the no-fly zone over Libya as western nations rallied to topple the regime.

"I have pointed out to your defence minister that the Nato Response Team will become increasingly important," Fogh Rasmussen said as he wrapped up the Q&A session at the military conference in Sälen organized each year by the think-tank Society and Defence (Folk och försvar).

He also stressed that regional cooperation would become more important, on the same day that Sweden's foreign and defence ministers wrote in an op-ed in the Dagens Nyheter newpaper that they wished for more Nordic tie-ups.

"There should be more regional cooperation in Europe," Fogh Rasmussen said.

"You cannot do everything by yourself but you can do it if you have company."

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Your comments about this article

18:00 January 14, 2013 by Iraniboy
NATO can go to hell. It took them months to say yes to Turkey for only defensive anti-missile system! If there is going to be any war involving Sweden, those NATO members are somehow already involved so Sweden will not benefit from this membership in either case.
18:37 January 14, 2013 by jostein
It is not in the interest of us Swedes to give these monsters any excuse to set foot on our land. Id rather be invaded by the Russians than the americans.
19:40 January 14, 2013 by johan rebel
The twin pillars of Swedish foreign and defense policy: hypocrisy and cowardice.

Want NATO to help in a crisis? Become a member!

That simple.
20:22 January 14, 2013 by Svensksmith
Personally, I think NATO should be disbanded. Let each country fend for themselves.
20:38 January 14, 2013 by mibrooks27
?? Well, look at the France got! The British plain broke down on the runway and the American's bombed the hell out of a bunch of innocent civilians (oops!). NATO has gone down the same toilet that the US has gone. It's pathetic, but American's seem to want a corrupt dictatorship and that's exactly what they got. Obma seems dead set on "leading" via executive decree, bypassing the Congress with tax increases, a debt ceiling, trade polcies, gun control, amnesty for illegal immigrants, outlawing of political opposition, censorship, etc. etc.
21:31 January 14, 2013 by EtoileBrilliant
I had an interesting discussion with a member of Sweden's foreign office when I was skiing this Christmas. He claimed that Swedes contribute more armed service members per capita than any other country.

When I asked him why only 1 Swede had been killed in conflict, was it (i) they were so much better trained than the US or the British or (ii) they all had desk jobs in the Green Zone - he became strangely quiet.
23:08 January 14, 2013 by Polish-Finnish Swede
@ etoile

Green Zoone, are you talking about Iraq? Sweden didn't take part in the Iraq war. Yes, they are in northern Afghanistan (5 KIA if I'm not mistaken) with German, Finnish and German troops in the same sector.

@ jostein

nuts! if you are part of the political opposition or a journalist critical of the current leadership you still risk your life, or jail time, in Russia.
23:32 January 14, 2013 by jostein
Polish-Finnish

The americans want to exterminate us. The Russians do not. Well, the Russians dont want to do very much against us at all, there is nothing for them here. But if we enter Nato its just another go-ahead for their bleeding troops to enter our country.

You look at the world like it looks right now. I look at the world as it will look in five to ten years.
02:38 January 15, 2013 by Eric1
Oh you silly little America/NATO haters. You live in a world you have created in your silly little heads.
04:18 January 15, 2013 by saab
If Sweden is going to be attacked, it will come from within and NATO will be of no use.

Also to the editor: NATO is NATO, not Nato.

Now on to that story about the call to prayer from a mosque.
07:22 January 15, 2013 by jostein
saab, that is true. But the americans will take the civil strife that is sure to come in Sweden as an excuse for more of their bumbling insane foreign policy. The less excuses they will have to get involved the bigger our chances will be.
11:50 January 15, 2013 by pkpekka
Well there is always the buffer country Finland between Sweden and the only country ever likely attack Sweden. Why do you think every country in Eastern Europe (except for Finland since Finns are still too scared to join NATO) joined NATO as soon as they got the chance? I am not saying that an attack is likely but defense of your country is about preparing for every eventuality. But it would be good if Sweden joined NATO, then Finns could join as well since Finland almost always follows politically what Sweden does and it would give Finland an out to argue that joining NATO is not an aggressive move. For some people NATO is about American imperialism and I am not denying that it exists. But who would you like to be running the show in the world, China? Someone has to do it, the vacuum will be filled. Sweden's army is a joke, and it hence clearly need to join an alliance. And as an arms manufacturer joining NATO might be a good idea as well. (sorry if I am re-posting, but this site is a bit buggy)
16:35 January 15, 2013 by EtoileBrilliant
@Polish-Finnish Swede - my bad, I was too lazy to look up the Afghan equivalent..
19:07 January 15, 2013 by Escort
mibrooks27

"The British plane broke down on the runway".

So what? They found another one pretty damned quick. At least the British have viable armed forces that are trained and equipped to fight. Does nothing ever go wrong with Swedish kit? Saab and even Volvo haven't exactly covered themselves in glory in recent years when it comes to quality and reliability!
19:25 January 15, 2013 by Max Reaver
@pkpekka

so whats wrong with China running the show? even if you dont wanna see it, China will probably rise up to the top within some years. at least China wont even bother to invade Sweden, they wont come this far to rob IKEA
20:25 January 15, 2013 by jostein
What does sweden have have worth attacking sweden for?

-sweden is Uranium-rich which might be attractive in a post peakoil world (nonissue for Russia, how about the US?).

-sweden still has plenty of iron but that is probably less interesting these days(??).

-Control sweden and Norway becomes impossible to defend, thus you control the north atlantic (the cold-war rationale for an attack on sweden by the Russian empire. Nonissue today).

-hold the swedish territory and you dominate the baltic. (probably a nonissue today but been alot of talk about this because of the russian-german pipeline).

-A very ethnically heterogenous population that are bound to start jockeying for control. Ethnic strife can pull in any and all actors internationally. For example, post peak fosfor, post peak oil will cause massive starvation in the world, especially in ME. ME cultures have secure bridgeheads in sweden already and can use the migrations caused by a starvation-catastrophe to overwhelm their competitors here in sweden. Here the USA is bound to side with the invaders and thats why we should have nothing whatsoever to do with them.

-I personally cannot not see how the Russians would ever pose a threat to us.
23:14 January 15, 2013 by snowtiger
Here is something to think about stupids, if the mighty usa would invade any country, then the defendless canada would be the first then greenland. Is sweden bigger or richer than canada in natural resourses? If the mighty usa wanted to take europe then they would splitted in haft with stalin a long time ago instead of defending it...they can take it now anytime they want...they still occupying germany and italy...understand that stupids?

"Id rather be invaded by the Russians than the americans." WOW, I didn't know that they allow computers in Mental Hospitals!!!???
01:49 January 16, 2013 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Can neutral Sweden count on help from Russia? China? India? Pakistan? Iran?
18:25 January 16, 2013 by jostein
@snowtiger

the russians pursue foreign policy in their own self interest. This makes them predictable and cautious.

The US foreign policy is a mixture of moralism, self interest and grandstanding. Such as projecting "democracy", topple regimes that offend your sensibilities, securing oil etcetera. This makes the US irrational, unpredictable and dangerous.

For example, the US supported undemocratic islamic rebels in Libya. The toppling of Khadafi sent womens rights back 1000 years.

At the same time the US fight against undemocratic islamic rebels in Afghanistan. One of the highest profile goals in Afghanistan is to protect the rights of women. Makes sense?

Another example, the US toppled a secular leftist sunni-affiliated dictatorship in Iraq, in effect handing control over to the enemy of the US, Shia Iran, and creating a shia powerblock, Iran-Iraq-(syria). Now US is discussing invading Iran and is supporting the revolt against shia-controlled Syria.

Studying US foreign policy the last 30 years it is clear it is unpredictable, untrustworthy, violent and irrational. Perpetually making war against its own foreign policy. You had the failed war on drugs. You had the failed war on terrorism. And you are in the deathtrows of the failed war for democracy, if that is what it was. It is crazy. What will be the next war?

Me, i want to give these crazed madmen as few excuses as possible to put their boots close to me and mine as possible.
03:00 January 17, 2013 by snowtiger
It doesn't matter what you do with those animals, it never a right policy anyway. But I might agree about the war on drugs, it doesn't work.
07:31 January 17, 2013 by jostein
Please notice that im not accusing the US of being immoral or terribly selfserving. I dont think there has ever been a superpower that has tried so hard to make its foreign policy as moral as the US. All im saying is that US foreign policy has turned into something that looks pretty strange and scary.

I think all USs and most of the rest of us would gain if the US took less responsibility in the world. The only duty of US politicians should be the wellbeing and security and prosperity of US taxpayers and citizens. Imho.
15:25 January 18, 2013 by Tim Temple
You can show them! Go it alone like Switzerland. Give everyone except hate groups and Muslims rifles and train them as to how to use them. Sweden would become too thorny to invade and occupy by the Russians.

Either that or give the Russian ambassador the keys to the country in a much publicized event.
04:22 March 18, 2013 by Mujo
jostein: The U.S. has plenty of its own uranium, and with new technologies, is now a gas exporter and is rapidly becoming less and less dependent on imported oil. You are right that U.S. foreign policies are at times moralistic and misguided, but the U.S. has never invaded a country to take its resources. Your posts indicate that you have a funny view of the world and the threats that exist.
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