• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Sweden fights better than many Nato nations'

Oliver Gee · 14 May 2014, 16:24

Published: 14 May 2014 16:24 GMT+02:00

Bruce Acker made waves in Sweden on Wednesday when the Dagens Industri newspaper ran his op-ed "The world lacks confidence in Sweden" (read it here in English). The former US defence attaché said he penned the debate article "to start a healthy debate".

"I believe Swedes have been living in a world where neutrality has been a very positive, almost religious concept of moral standing," he told The Local on Wednesday. But outside observers may not agree with how it has played out.

"A senior analyst back home once said 'It's very difficult to be sanctimonious if you've been neutral about Hitler and Stalin'," Acker recalled. "I don't want to dredge up old history, but if that old history becomes a pattern it becomes relevant."

Indeed, while many believe Sweden still to be neutral, others argue that joining the EU in 1995 put an end to neutrality.

Also, Sweden has taken part in Nato operations since the Bosnian war in the early nineties. Nowadays, Sweden even has an army that's more compatible with Nato than some actual Nato members' armies.

Acker's piece pointed out that Sweden outperformed many Nato countries in Afghanistan, Libya, and the Balkans, and that Nato commanders surely don't doubt that Sweden will deliver. But will its people be up for the challenge again?

"What (outsides observers) see is a divided electorate (many of whom) still believe in outdated war-fighting concepts, who cling to a concept of self-defence rather than collective defence, and see jobs, welfare, and economy as much higher priority issues than security," he wrote.

The American was not surprised to hear that his text got people talking, as earlier revelations by defence reporter Mikael Holmström and author Robert Dalsjö similarly got people's attention. Both men have argued that despite "neutrality" Sweden has relied on Nato.

Story continues below…

"They describe it as a hoax(...) Swedes have to admit they were duped by their government - and that's painful," Acker said.

He said it was unlikely that Sweden would apply to join Nato in the next few years.

"Popular opinion in Sweden doesn't support this," he said. 

"I also believe both Nato and the US have been quite careful not to presume to know what is best for the Swedish people, but they are both quite clear now that if you believe we have a common problem, then the common solution is Nato." 

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ibrahimovic makes United debut in front of Swedes
Ibrahimovic endured a terrible Euro 2016. Photo: TT

”Everybody has been waiting for this,” says Mr Modesty.

Sweden to investigate citizens' sex lives
It has been 20 years since the last in-depth study of the sex habits of Swedes. Photo: Tammy McGary/Flickr

The Swedish government is to launch a major study of the sex lives of its citizens after reports that lovemaking is on the wane.

Russian 'terror suspect' held at Swedish airport walks free
File photo of Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

UPDATED: A 35-year-old man has been released from police custody after being arrested at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm on Friday morning.

Northern Dispatches
'Moving to northern Sweden was the best thing we've done'
Photo: FB

In his farewell column, The Local’s northern Sweden correspondent, Paul Connolly, looks back at his first four years in Sweden.

Bear family just hanging out on Swedish golf course
Not the bear cub in question. But isn't he cute? Photo: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

A bear family has been roaming a Swedish golf course, and the best thing of all is that no one cares.

The Local investigates
What do we actually know about the violence in Malmö?
Police investigating an explosion in Malmö on Thursday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

International media have presented a "distorted" view of a spate of Malmö shootings and an explosion, a senior police boss has told The Local.

The Local List
Reasons why Stockholm Pride is simply awesome
Photo: Annika af Klercker/TT.

Stockholm's Pride festival culminates on Saturday with a parade – and more than a few parties. Here's why we think it's pretty amazing.

Cashless Swedes sitting on old bills worth billions

Old Swedish bank notes worth 1.4 billion kronor are still circulating, according to the country’s central bank, despite them having been declared invalid a month ago.

Homes
In pictures: Why is Nordic design so hot right now?
Scandinavian design. Photo: House of Beatniks

Design agency Studio Esinam investigates together with Houzz.se why the world is falling in love with Nordic style.

Stockholm one of world's best places to live: magazine
Living the dream. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Stockholm is the tenth best city in the world to live in, reckons this British magazine.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Swedish cop makes arrest of the year
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Anyone for a bite of 340-year-old shipwrecked stinky cheese?
Gallery
People-watching: July 27th
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,343
jobs available