• Sweden's news in English

Olof Palme and Obamania: Swedes' love-hate relationship with the US

The Local · 1 Nov 2010, 12:56

Published: 01 Nov 2010 12:56 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

On November 4th, to the shock and despair of most Swedes, the US mid-term elections are expected to confirm the drastic fall in the approval ratings of President Obama and the Democratic Party.

Let us use this moment to reflect more thoroughly on longer-term Swedish sentiments towards the United States, mirroring the political developments of both countries.

As a prism, we will use the unchallenged champion of putting music and words to the Swedish zeitgeist, Ulf Lundell.

A self-absorbed, bestselling quality fiction author that has never really been accepted by the literary establishment, and a Dylanesque singer-songwriter turned Bruce Springsteen look-alike, he is a Michael Jackson-style celebrity in Sweden. Numerous voices have been raised for his 1982 song Öppna landskap (“Open landscapes”) to replace the current national anthem.

Lundell is Sweden. But he has a great interest in America, from the title of his 1976 breakthrough novel Jack (as in beat author Jack Kerouac) to the H. (as in Hemingway) of his 2010 book En öppen vinter (“An open winter”), his stories and lyrics are soaring with references to American culture.

Just like the average Swede, Lundell never stops dwelling upon his love-hate relationship with the US. Consider the lyrics of his 1976 song USA, freely translated:

I have seen your cowboys and heard your gunshots, fatal lead

I have read your books and drunk your Coke,

I have been attracted and I have wanted to escape

Yes, there was a time when I believed in what you did and what you said

But since I saw who you really are, I despise you

You are being destroyed, you’re falling apart

I'm not grieving you

Yet, here I am, wearing your blue jeans.

In the 1950s and the early 1960s, the United States represented most of what is good in life: peace, freedom, wealth and a thriving culture. America had saved Europe from Hitler and she was protecting us from the Russians.

Everything from rock & roll and the teenager to cars, televisions and refrigerators were imported from across the Atlantic. Many of the Swedes who had left the country for the US around the turn of the century were still alive. Many more wanted to go.

There was a time when I believed in what you said and what you did.

I have been attracted and I have wanted to escape

Then there was Vietnam.

I have seen your cowboys and heard your gunshots, fatal lead

In 1972, Prime Minister Olof Palme compared the Hanoi bombings to the Holocaust, having marched side by side with North Vietnam’s ambassador to Moscow through the streets of Stockholm a few years back. Diplomatically as well as socially, the bilateral relations were at their worst ever.

But since I saw who you really are, I despise you

You are being destroyed, you’re falling apart

It is wrong to assume that the radicalization of Sweden was caused only by the war in South-East Asia. In fact, it was part of the same wave that swept over most of the Western world in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, which, in a self-reinforcing two-way process, enhanced Swedish anti-Americanism.

As in most European countries, the US has always played in important role as a divide in Swedish domestic cultural and political life, the right being for and the left being “against”. As the saying goes: tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.

During the Cold War, Sweden, albeit a democratic market-based economy, was not part of the Western alliance. Neutrality, not choosing between the Russians and the Americans, called for a reserved attitude towards the US. Then, when the Berlin wall came down and the Soviet Empire imploded, the blame-game equilibrium could stop, laying the ground for a more natural but not wholehearted embrace of America.

Swedish discussions about the United States are not limited to the realm of foreign policy. Economic and welfare policies in the two countries are also at the heart of the debate. For decades, Swedes jealously looked at American’s higher living standards, a gap that was exacerbated by the severe economic crisis that struck Sweden in the early 1990s.

But Swedes could always pride themselves with their welfare state. “You don’t want it to be like in the US” was, and is, a commonly heard phrase. Swedes have an inherently benevolent view of the government.

Furthermore, Sweden is the most secularized country in the Western world, most Swedes seeing lack of faith as an inevitable result of an ongoing modernization process. And Sweden, of course, is considered among the most modern countries in the world.

Against this background, it is not surprising that Obamania was even stronger here in Sweden than in the US. And it was not all post-Bush relief.

Story continues below…

A Sveriges Television (SVT) poll ahead of the 2008 US presidential elections found that a mere three percent of Swedes would have voted for McCain, had they been given the opportunity to cast a ballot. The rise of the Tea Party, the revival of the GOP and Obama’s problems are therefore incomprehensible to Swedish observers.

But there is also a twist of schadenfreude at America’s current economic downturn. Whereas the US is struggling with slow growth, skyrocketing unemployment, and rising debt, Sweden is widely lauded as the best crisis manager in the rich world, with a post-recession economy in excellent shape.

The world is upside down, it seems, Stockholm pundits say with smug smirks on their faces.

They are right. But not the way they think. For the greatest changes have not taken place in the US, but in Sweden. In fact, these last two decades, the Scandinavian country has gone through a tacit free-market revolution, with school vouchers and partially privatized social security as the two most pertinent examples from an American perspective. The corporate tax level has been cut in steps and is now markedly lower than in the US.

This liberalization process has led conservative American commentators to celebrate the re-election of Sweden’s centre-right Alliance government in September. The first lines of a recent Wall Street Journal Europe editorial (September 23rd) ran:

We've been waiting to write this for about, oh, 70 years, but here goes: It's time the world started imitating the Scandinavian—or at least the Swedish—economic model.

And Duncan Currie of the conservative National Review Online noted that “[w]ithout much fanfare, the Scandinavian country has been moving away from socialism”, and now “offers greater business freedom, trade freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and property-rights protection than does the United States.”

This development has not really sunk into the minds of the Swedish chattering class. There is always a time-lag between reality and perception. Thus, Sweden is still going to be disappointed at the US mid-term elections.

In the meantime, Ulf Lundell is slowly turning conservative.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

18:31 November 1, 2010 by NickM
Very good interesting article. How many politicians would have the nerve of Olaf Palme to condemn American bombings in Iraq as a Holocaust?

The writer is correct - Sweden is turning into America and most Swedes don't even realise it. Corporate tax being lower in Sweden than the USA is an astounding but telling fact.
18:45 November 1, 2010 by Tanskalainen
I am curious, just what on earth did the Swedes expect Obama to do? The U.S. is in such a level of debt that the the numbers are beyond the grasp of the human brain. China owns much of that debt. All Obama and the Democrats can think to do is print more money and spend it. Just what kind of a savior did you expect Obama to be? Did you expect him to turn the U.S. into another Sweden? Guess again.
18:52 November 1, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Very accurate assessment. I would like to add that the while it is correct that the US as a whole is struggling in the current recession, the people that were smart with their money are living life as usual and can weather this squall. The ignorant folk who (make up a vast majority of the country) subscribed to their grandeur of their wildest dreams and are now getting screwed by not playing it conservative while government regulators fell asleep on the job.

I am surprised that the conservative US commentators have not picked up on the meaning of the September referendum in Sweden. There is a lot to be said and this article touches on it.

The boom lowered on the Obama agenda tomorrow will be the proverbial bucket of cold water thrown on all those dreamers.
20:13 November 1, 2010 by 2350steven
Comment removed by The Local moderation.
20:31 November 1, 2010 by Tanskalainen
@2350steven If Obama is anti-white and pro-black why is he telling black candidates to drop out of elections? If Obama is pro-black why does he refuse to secure the southern border of the U.S. allowing countless Mexicans in to compete for jobs, housing etc. with the blacks?
20:53 November 1, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer

To add, many whites in america thought that either a)vote for obama and wash themselves of "race guilt" (characterized by Clinton supporters) or b) not voting for him, but giving him a chance to implement "change" by being labeled the first 'post-racial' president in history would move the country forward in regards to race relations (characterized by right, independent voters). He went so far as claiming in 2004 that there is not a black, white, latino, jewish america, but one america. Unfortunately, Obama has moved the country backwards, and split america into black, white whathavehou. Nobody can disagree on that. If you do, you must not been paying attention.

Sadly, the black voting demographic is still tossing Obama a 95% approval rating. Slightly lower than the 97% vote they gave him in November 2008. This tells me one thing: Modern race relations are more hindered by "black america" as they are voting on the issue of race alone. Clearly not very post-racial.

I believe the infatuation with Obama in Sweden is perpetuated by the media's toxic anti-Bushness that has poisoned most of Europe over the past decade. You see the poison even today on these very message boards in the form of asinine, off the wall, unfounded, disjointed talking points some commenters parrot out. Sweden, much like America wanted something very different, very non-Bush. That was Obama. The product was positioned perfectly. People bought it. Now, they want to return it.
21:18 November 1, 2010 by cowboykodp
Many off these posts are just regurgitations of all the crap heard daily on FAUX news.

If Obama is such a Socialist and apparently you jokers are against socialism, then why did you move to Sweden?

And if you are posting from the US, then get a life.
21:24 November 1, 2010 by Syftfel
Amongst Americans there is little or no "love" in the Love-Hate relationship. Palme sood for everything thay flies in the face of what America is all about. Palme saturated Sweden with control of every aspect of life. That may have worked briefly in Sweden, but eve most Swedes have come to the realization that Palme idolatry was a mistake. He really had a destructive effect on Sweden. It is an even greater mistake to try to mold the U.S. on a socialist, European style democracy. It is for this reason that the Dems in the U.S., thankfully, will suffer painful losses tomorrow. Hopefully on Wednesday the U.S. will be back on track again after a temporary, misgguided diversion. I never understood why so many Swedes think that it is possible to shape the United States after a Swedish/French/Greek ideals. After Obama's two disastrous years in the White House, even George Bush is beginning to look good. Socialism in the United States is simply not becoming.
22:14 November 1, 2010 by IranianBoy
I don't really know how to interpret this election's results (which is predicted) other that American mood to just punch the first one they see, when they are angry!

Yes dear Americans! the economy has not improved that much that you be swimming in wealth and welfare. but if you had slightest economical and political information, you would had known that Obama administration stopped the biggest recession in the last 80 years and has stabalized your economy.

his stimulus bill money went to small businesses which prevented further job losses while Bush's bailouts went directly to Big banks' pocket who ignited the economical crisis in the first place.

If you Americans didn't just watch FOXnews and you read some newspapers, you would have found out that Obama team delivered your country a health care bill that no body have been able to do that for you in decades.

If it was somewhere like Sweden, the government would have been rewarded with big wins in mid term elections.

Dear Americans! do not punch whomever you see first, when you are angry!

Dear Americans! watch less Foxnews and read more New York times.

Dear Americans! A country run by lawmakers elected with advertises paid by McDonald's and Big oil companies and Big banks and gun industry (thank to your Supreme court) is not a better place than Putin's Russia.

Dear Americans! get educated, attend the solution even in hard times, and reward the guys who have served your country with reelection, not by huffing at them, because of their inabilities....
23:47 November 1, 2010 by Freebie

'Dear Americans! watch less Fox News and read more New York times.'

Would you care for another glass of Kool-Aid my friend.
01:31 November 2, 2010 by svenskamerikansk
Love/hate relationship? It's mutual. It all depends which Americans and/or Swedes we're talking about, doesn't it? And artists often tend to be self-absorbed perpetual adolescents that want it both ways, so.... yawn.

I will delight is seeing Obama suffer a stunning rebuke tomorrow. America just might survive it's 2008 suicide attempt after all! But it will still be a while before the patient is released from intensive care. Kicking out the democrats only stops the bleeding. It's sobering to see how much damage can be done in a short 20 months. A long, difficult recovery lies ahead.
02:31 November 2, 2010 by 2350steven
During the massive oil spill in the Gulf that went on for 45 days did anyone notice how passive Obamas attitude was. He was so concerned for the environment that he took a nice vacation at Martha's Vinyard to play golf. This too did not go unoticed by those in America who genuinly care about environmental issues. Yet another reason that he will be a one term President.
11:15 November 2, 2010 by Dr. Dillner
Today, America will "Take out the trash," by removing a horde of Tax-and-Spend Democrats. This action will send a clear message to the Obama-meister.
13:25 November 2, 2010 by visitorfromnowhere
The American press coverage of America is a big joke. The Swedish press coverage of America is a little joke.
14:31 November 2, 2010 by Alf Garnett
@2350steven: #those in America who genuinly care about environmental issues.# Are these the people that do not eat at McD's´,do not drive gas guzzling bouncycars, walk to work etc, etc??

Not many of them is there!!
14:44 November 2, 2010 by 2350steven

Obama wanted the Black in Florida to back out of the election because he did not have a chance of winning. He would have hurt the chances of the Democrat, Charlie Crist to get elected, which is not going to happen anyway. Obama wants amnesty for illegals because he knows, "Or Hopes That" Latinos will return the favor and vote for him in 2012. Obama has a "New World Order" vision. For Whites to sit in the back of the bus.
16:15 November 2, 2010 by Querist
Question: What was 'the' main reason America elected its' first Black President?

Answer: Eight years of George W. Bush.

17:10 November 2, 2010 by Kevtravels
I'm curious what Swedes think of Palme? What are they taught in school about him?
17:23 November 2, 2010 by 2350steven

Thier were a number of reasons that Obama was elected in 08. "White guilt" that their was never a Black President. Blacks who always vote as a block to the tune of 98% for Obama showed up in record numbers. Wide spread voter fraud "ACORN". The liberal MSM falling all over themselves to endorse Obama. The sudden turn for the worst in the economy due largly to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown brought on by the Democrat controlled congress and Barney Frank. Yes you are right to a degree. The nation was tired of G.W. Bush. Also, Obama could "Talk the Talk". He would get out there in the Mid West roll up his sleeves on his button down collar shirt and talk just like a White Guy. He sold himself in a big way. All style no substence.
18:14 November 2, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
I want to say something pithy, but I'll confine myself to saying something I think is true. There is something like a "love/hate" relationship Swedes have with America. It is generally based on vast ignorance and long-held assumptions, many of which are either false or relatively unimportant in understanding American culture and politics.

Swedish artists should write about what they understand. That is usually not America. I'd like to understand Sweden through the eyes of a talented, observant, honest Swedish artist. This seems unlikely because America looms so large either as a commercial possibility or an easy target for most "Swedish" artists, that most of them seem to be trying to make themselves in the image of Bruce or Bob, etc. It's not working.
18:27 November 2, 2010 by Tanskalainen
@2350steven Charlie Crist is a longtime RINO running as an Independent.
18:43 November 2, 2010 by vms
Love-hate relationship? Sounds more like hate-hate to me, and quite one-sided. The very few Americans who are aware of Sweden at all know that you're the folks who give a bunch of money to a crew of mostly American scientists each year - thank you! - and supplied the originals of all those pretty blonde girls from Minnesota, back in the nineteenth century. Thanks again! They're also flattered at your interest in their music, movies, fashions, and elections, even if you're not all that complimentary about it, because it's all good for business. You will never hold their interest the way the Brits and French do, but let's face it: you're far less interesting.
19:05 November 2, 2010 by mojofat
So many people can't handle the fact that a black man is the smartest guy in the room wherever he goes. Obama and Congress have done more for the american people than anything else in d-e-c-a-d-e-s. But, as has been pointed out, a great swathe of americans just are not very smart. We can partially thank the conservatives efforts at defunding/abolishing the department of education for that one.


Not only are you ignorant and everything you've stated above is easily proved false, you've also exposed yourself as the racist you are with just one sentence: "He would get out there in the Mid West roll up his sleeves on his button down collar shirt and talk just like a White Guy."

Ahhh...but I doubt you even understand what is racist about that. Glenn Beck is calling...he needs you to buy more gold and fear.
19:19 November 2, 2010 by 2350steven
I have great respect for the People of Sweden. They are interesting in their own "Understated" yet effective way. Much like their Modern Furniture, Sculpture, and Artwork.
22:47 November 2, 2010 by Swedesmith
I exercised my right and voted today. At best, I probably did my part to oust one set of liars and thieves with another set of liars and thieves. At one time, politicians were known as public servants. The meaning of this title seems to be lost on many of our current (mis)leaders.
07:14 November 3, 2010 by Alf Garnett
@swedesmith: you're not on your own, hard to choose which evil is the best!!

Todays politicians follow their pocket or bank account as the case may be, all too eager to bow to the highest bidder or with whichever company, project, portfolio they have their money invested. It's not about the wishes of the majority/electorate any more.
07:59 November 3, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Results are in. America has spoken. Obama has been repudiated. Neutered for the next 2 years.

There is much to be said about the similarities between the political climate in the US and Sweden. Be careful about viewing european politics through the prism of the US model, but the result is the same: We have had enough with the leftist banter. Time for REAL change. Here's wishes to a strong Sweden, and a strong USA.
11:14 November 3, 2010 by Freyja14

"Thier were a number of reasons that Obama was elected in 08. "White guilt" that their was never a Black President...."

**Well, A. learn to spell and B. you're CRAZY!

"Obama wanted the Black in Florida to back out of the election because he did not have a chance of winning."

**did you really just use the term "the black"?!?! are you freaking kidding me?!?!

"Americans are turning on Obama because they have found out what he is really about. He is a Communist with and Anti-White agenda."

**what planet are you from???

This is some of the dumbest most ignorant poo I have read in a LONG time!!! hahah. Americans are turning on Obama because we have not had a single president since...hmmm...i'll just throw this out there...JFK, who has actually made positive changes for our country. I would agree with the majority of what other people are saying about this article that our politicians are not representing the people anymore, they are representing the highest bidder. They may go into office with good intentions but money and greed are the only things that seem to make "changes" in the States and those changes are to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The pharmaceutical companies seem to be the driving force in making "political" decisions in the U.S. now. And hey, they're even trying to take away our right to organic foods and alternative non-pharmaceutical treatments but what politician is out there trying to make a change??? If they could even get a "foot out the door" on speaking up for the people they represent they would be swiftly silenced by the greed that speaks and represents the people of the U.S.

Pull your head outta the clouds kid and stop being a racist!
12:23 November 3, 2010 by svenskamerikansk
Obama is the most anti-American president that the United States has ever had. Perhaps that helps explain the silly European affection for him.

It's really a tragedy that it took so much damage to the nation and its economy to awaken sleepwalking Americans to Obama (and the Democrats) hostility towards them and America's founding principles and national character.

Complacency can be very, very costly. It's not clear is America will be able to recover from its colossal mistake called Obama. This election was a only step in the right direction. Many more steps are needed. The hole that America is in is deep.
16:41 November 3, 2010 by gbeye87
The funny thing about this article, and even all the comments is that you all as Swedes follow and understand the politics of America more so than we do. I was born and raised in Savannah Ga. Most of the population is black. Most of these people (in Savannah) voted for our president because of his skin color and not what he stands for. Our once grand country is not so grand any more. This was an amazing article.

And GefleFrequentFlyer, your comment "ignorant folk who (make up a vast majority of the country)" is true. It kills me to be surrounded by people that don't see how things really are. Your on the outside looking in and see more clearly than they can. It's a shame.
16:58 November 3, 2010 by Kevtravels
Well to add my 2cents into the discussion of Obama, I did come across many a young people in the USA (my age) who were Black and basically said "about time for a Black president". And oddly enough it was also the thought shared by some young Europeans I knew as well.

American politics is confusing and depressing at times but 1 must rise above these little "public service ads or ethnic loyalties" and elect the best to continue to better our country.

I remember many Swedes and Brits and Germans and Dutchies who asked me about the win of Obama, asking if it was a miracle or inspired me. I told them no, I was always inspired and planned to do something. But I suppose if his win did more to help inspire a kid who had no dreams, than good on him.
17:26 November 3, 2010 by cogito
He has not got the message spending. The Obama family vacation in india will cost taxpayers $200 million a day, according to this report. http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/us-to-spend-200-mn-a-day-on-obama-s-mumbai-visit-64106

The official White House explanation: Obama wants to celebrate Diwali in India. Or something.
18:51 November 3, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer

Yes, President Obama has unabashedly been addressing "Black" america during his tenure, and specifically in the weeks leading up to this election. And no, using the term "Black" is not "racist". If you thing I'm lying, please go to say, the New York Times, and search how many times Obama was making pitches to Latinos and the "Black Media". Believe it or not, America has a TV network dedicated to certain races. "Race" is a demographic too juicy to ignore when you are trying to earn votes, even if you are "anti racist" democrat.

The election last night was evidence that voters are experiencing "Buyers remorse". They want to return the snake oil sold to them by the snake oil salesman. I'm currently watching Obama's media address, and this guy is so smug, he still thinks he's right on the issues.

Your impulse reaction and charge of "racist" is symptomatic of what is wrong with the left wing. They try to turn any disagreement into a social issue, namely race. Sadly, this impulse is rife inside Sweden.
18:57 November 3, 2010 by 2350steven

I guess that I am deserving of the dreaded R word. Never did like Affirmative Action at the expence of Whites, or forced busing. Never liked to witness the slow destruction of American cities like Detroit and many others. Have you seen pics of Detroit lately. Well it looks like a nuclear bomb went off minus the radiation. Is it the fault of Whites? I don't think so. Back in 94 Whites in South Africa voted to share power with the Black majority. What has happened since then? Desruction of a former 1st world power and genocide against Whites. Does the MSM report on this? No! I would guess that you would respond with something like "well the Whites in South Africa deserved it". Currently Obama and the AG at the Justice Dept. Eric Holder advocate a double standard of justice. One for Whites and the other for Blacks. Of course it favors Blacks. But you're probably right after all. I need to get back with the program. That being "It is our wonderful diversity that makes us great!".
19:12 November 3, 2010 by mojofat
It's ~$200M total...not per day. Geez...ever try fact-checking FOX news?

And this is a country with a recent history of radical islamic militarism...so, should the President travel with Whackenhut security or real security? Should he not travel at all? India is a huge, largely untapped market for the US...despite its size, it's only the 14th largest trading partner of the US...and the US is only the third largest for India. Thus, one of the many reasons for the visit.

"The Obama administration wants to double its exports within five years to bolster domestic growth and create jobs. Bilateral trade in goods and services between India and the United States stands at $50 billion, a tenth of America's trade with China, according to Ron Somers, President of the U.S. India Business Council."

I know actual facts obscure the greater imperative of simply attacking the President for anything one can make up, but try...please try...thinking for yourself at some point and not just parroting Michelle Malkin.
20:12 November 3, 2010 by Freyja14

Diversity does make us great and I'm not siding with Obama either because he's just another puppet that answers to the highest bidder. Our freedoms are slowly being sucked dry from us but you have to look at the big picture and not to scapegoat an entire race of people....scapegoating, racism, and the Utopian view point are very dangerous grounds to tread on my friend. You should instead be questioning why cities like Detroit are in such a slum and if they are set up for the minorities of the U.S. to fail in. When people are constantly kicked around from day one and not given respect then they'll lash out! Are the people of Detroit 'lashing out'? It's tough to say... I take it you're not black, so walk a mile in someone's shoes and then I'll listen to what you have to say. The big picture is that our government doesn't answer for the people anymore and all you have to do is follow the money trail to figure out how decisions are made...that is the saddest part. It doesn't matter what color your skin is, it matters what club you're in per se and that club is money and power. I call it like it is and if you are going to sum up an entire group of people and label them as the downfall of our country then your views are outdated and dangerous!!!!!
20:30 November 3, 2010 by Swedesmith
Yes, it is time for a black President or perhaps a Hispanic one, or an Asian or a woman. Last time I checked, race and gender were not qualifications for the job.

To solve the serious problems we are facing today, America desperately needs the best possible person as President. Unfortunately, with Obama, we did not get that.
20:37 November 3, 2010 by cogito
#35 Mojofat.

Read the link. It says O is spending $200 million A DAY on his family vacation in India. If you can read, rather than sputtering about FoxNews, you would notice that the source I cited is the Indian media.

I notice you do not give a source for your "facts." Surely, one who is such a fan of "actual facts" as you claim yourself to be to be ought to be able to show some sort of source.
21:37 November 3, 2010 by mojofat

Perhaps ignotus would be a more appropriate latin name. Just sayin'...

Anyway, I *know* what the "link" says. NDTV, I'm sure, is a reputable news source...right up there with Reuters and the AP; however, please explain to me how a "a top official of the Maharashtra Government" would know how much the US President is spending on a trip to India (3 days of a 10 day asia trip btw)? He may know how much it costs to rent out the Taj, but they would not know the costs for AF1, US security, etc., which would certainly be the bulk of the expense. I'm calling BS on this until: a) A *reputable* and *objective* news source (i.e., not fox news or any of its ilk...and certainly not some gossip site from India) publishes this story; or, b) there's some basis for the calculation.

Just saying it is so, doesn't make it so. You know, like WMDs in Iraq and so forth.

22:23 November 3, 2010 by 2350steven

Cities set up for minorities to fail? Should have known all along, it's the White peoples fault! Thanks for reminding me. I keep forgeting for some reason. Oh well, I'll just have to carry flash cards with "It's the White Peoples fault" written on them from now on. You want to know what's truely dangerous? The violent crime statistics in this country and who commits them.
22:55 November 3, 2010 by mibrooks27
I am an American. My region of the this country, the Northwest, was settled by Scandinavian people and we still retain many our those traditions. Most of us even speak and read more than a little Swedish in my area. Most of us are as Swedish (or Danish or Norwegian) as anyone in Sweden (or Denmark or Norway).
22:57 November 3, 2010 by Anaisnu
Olof Palme worked strongly for peace between Israel and Palestine.

He was killed in march 1986.

Anna Lindh worked stringly for peace between Israel an Palestine.

She was killed September 11th, 2003.

No further comments.
04:18 November 4, 2010 by alistairwhitman
Sweden's population is a shade over 9 million 3 million less than New York City (counting the 5 boroughs). Why anyone compares Sweden to the United States seems silly.

Swedes are keen on their culture and their way of life and enjoy American entertainment products and soft drinks oh a few dozen folks for Skane actually named their kids classic American sounding names after WWII like because Swedes are have a bit of the bandwagon in them but beyond these anecdotes they are as similar as a fish and bicycle.
11:38 November 4, 2010 by Freyja14
@2350steven: Okay, what do you suppose we do then Mr. Genius? Should we ship them all away?? Hmm kind of like the Nazi party wanted to ship Jewish people to Madagascar?? And then when that didn't work out...we all know what happened? You're still not making a point or any sense at all for that matter. It's not about RACE!!!! Stop pointing the finger at the wrong people! Point your fingers at the corporate greed that is paying politicians off to make decisions that are not for the good of the American people they serve. It's a sick cycle and you are directing your energies in the wrong place! Maybe you should change your reality to spreading love and not hatred. Love gets you a lot further in life.

"Peace does not fare well where poverty and deprivation reign. It does not flourish where there is ignorance and a lack of education and information. Repression, injustice and exploitation are inimical with peace. Peace is gravely threatened by inter-group fear and envy and by the unleashing of unrealistic expectations. Racial, class and religious intolerance and prejudice are its mortal enemies."
14:42 November 4, 2010 by maxbrando
Gee, what a lot of comments. The only reality is that Americans do not give a rat's ass about Sweden - except to condemn it for the idiotic choices for the Peace prize. Other than this monstrosity, one never reads a thing about Sweden, principally because the people are so boring.
14:47 November 4, 2010 by svenskamerikansk

It's the Norwegians who decide the Peace Prize.

Swedes give the other awards (to loons like Paul Krugman),
15:23 November 4, 2010 by Swedesmith

The problem(s) with America's minorities have nothing to do with any inferior genetics or whatever you are insinuating. The problems stem from the overblown social programs that enable people to exist without performing labor. What was supposed to be a helping hand when times were rough has turned into a multi-generational hand-out. This leads to hopelessness, crime, drug abuse and a shattered society.

Any success that I've had in life is not due to any genetic superiority or fantastic intelligence (for sure!) but mainly due to hard work. I was initiated into this work ethic by growing up watching my dad drag his tired old body to work every day for over thirty years at one factory, fifteen at another and ten more years working part time. He had no choice, he had a family to feed, bills to pay. This left a lasting impression on me.

Young boys growing up without a strong male role-model often have no direction in life. There is a huge dis-proportional amount of young, black males in America's prisons today. Granted, they are there because they committed crimes, but the reason for their actions may indeed be rooted in all these demeaning social programs that eliminate the need to better oneself and work for a living.
15:46 November 4, 2010 by gbeye87
Also @ maxbrando

I could have sworn that another American commented on this article aside from myslef. Sweden keeps to herself more so than America. Even though all Americans don't follow you (Sweden) closely, does not mean that some of us don't. Sweden is a brilliant place, and will one day be noticed and shine for all that comes from there. Your people are very smart next to most of ours. There are people that come to a library asking if we have books for crying out loud. Your people would NEVER do something so stupid. We have many amazing things here, but there are numerous people that have lack common sense. Take a little more pride in your home.
16:26 November 5, 2010 by Whitehall
Last August, this Rock-Ribbed Republican Tea Partier Californian traveled to Minnesota for a business meeting with a crew of Swedish engineers.

I thought I was conservative! My Swedish colleagues were VERY outspoken about their liberal government and wanted more freedom and less taxes.

Just like in the US, artists, musicians, journalists, and novelists most certainly do NOT represent their country anymore. Trying to understand a culture and its politics from the output of the intelligensia is a fool's errand.

BTW, you may have heard that California apparently bucked the US trend in this election to repudiate the liberal policies of the Obama administration. This is very much in doubt as there are early signs of massive and widespread voter fraud. This is very dangerous as a delegitimized election makes for a delegitimized government.

California is facing serious financial difficulties and had expected help from the federal government. A newly conservative House of Representatives is not likely to bail us out. (All spending bills originate in the House per the Constitution.) Imagine the response of a newly elected Republican from Alabama being asked to appropriate billions of USD to California. HA!
18:23 November 5, 2010 by mojofat
"Trying to understand a culture and its politics from the output of the intelligensia is a fool's errand."

Quite right in pointing out that the Tea Party has no use for either intelligence or culture.

"This is very much in doubt as there are early signs of massive and widespread voter fraud. This is very dangerous as a delegitimized election makes for a delegitimized government."

Interestingly, whenever a conservative mentions "voter fraud" it's always in reference to the poorest and blackest districts. You never hear about their supposed outrage and concern for voter fraud when it involves electronic voting machine maker Diebold. Or throwing a presidential election to Bush in '00, which was clearly fraudulent.

No, these Orange County white christian conservatives are always fretting about blacks and mexicans actually casting a vote...then they send their goons out to polling places to intimidate...err, "monitor"....the vote.

20:46 November 5, 2010 by Harpoon
I was quite surprised to read an article with such quality and such sensitivity with regards to our relationship with the US on this rather obscure, or at least unknown, site. The next step would be to try to get your head around the US-Swe military co-operation though the last fifty years. You will find many surprises and probably not the ones that the intellectual reader would anticipate.
21:02 November 5, 2010 by mojofat


Finally, this huge lie is being exposed...Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity are all fascist propagandists.
17:32 November 6, 2010 by 2350steven

I liked the story of your father. You sound like a very good person, although I don't agree with you entirely. Please take the time to read 2 articles. Each are 5 pages long. "A Warning for America from South Africa" written by a female journalist named Gemma Meyer, and "Africa in Our Midst"-Lessons from Katrina Written by: Jared Taylor. The Taylor article addresses much about the story of "Katrina" that was covered up by the MSM for PC reasons.
20:48 November 6, 2010 by HYBRED
You can compliment and criticize The USA all you want. But the bottom line is that if they fail and fall off the planet they would be greatly missed. If Sweden failed and fell off the planet nodody would notice.
23:04 November 6, 2010 by Texas1
America is producing less and spending more. Obama can't figure that out so he prints more money from the FEDS, (who in essence are private bankers) who in turn, charge interest. The more you print, the more the dollar deflates and the less you buy and less you produce. How can you make more money when you borrow more money with no return? Big goverment produces nothinga dn Obama is an idiot. We need to bring back manufacturing to America so we produce more than we spend and charge China 25% more on all exports. This will boost consumer confidence and loose the purse strings and bring back hope for AMerica... Problem solved...
09:49 November 12, 2010 by Dom har glömt
Obama lied and people died. He talks alot and really does not do anything.

I am still trying to figure out what the heck has he done to improve something.

He reminds me of a puppy that would bark and then roll over and pea all

over himself if something big were to happen.
09:46 December 15, 2010 by Idun
The relationship with the US would change dramatically if the truth came out about the Palme murder http://www.leopoldreport.com/JohnA.html
20:05 April 29, 2011 by sallysees
Comment: I was reading comments some interesting some not so... Until I came to this little nugget by Anaisnu:

"Olof Palme worked strongly for peace between Israel and Palestine. He was killed in march 1986. Anna Lindh worked stringly for peace between Israel an Palestine. She was killed September 11th, 2003"

I wonder, was she being sarcastic?


Among Christians in the 1980's Olof Palme was considered Israel's most relentless adversary and Europe's most dangerous enemy of Israel. And there was a network of Christian prayer groups fasting and praying for God to remove him from the scene. Palme was the first Eurpean leader to give that murderer Arafat political legitimacy.

now, in Christian circle they give you a little smile when you mention his name.

Its the same with Anna Lindh, who in many ways was far more outspoken and had power and influence here in Europe to hurt the nation of Israel that makes his influence pale by comparison,

she was a strident, charmless in-your-face firebrand who at her death was relentlessly working to stop European trade with Israel. I don't know what it is about Sweden, but it seems to be a hothouse rabid Anti-Semites.

Go figure...
Today's headlines
Presented by Invest Stockholm
How Stockholm's cold climate boosts creativity
Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

Do long, dark winters actually make Swedes more creative and more productive? We spoke to Stockholm startups to find out.

Meet Sweden's lonely Donald Trump voter
A Donald Trump campaign button. Photo: Rogelio V Solis/AP

The Local talks to an American Donald Trump supporter on what it is like living in progressive stronghold Sweden.

Sweden to keep record-low interest rate in 2017
Sweden's landmark negative interest rate will continue towards 2018. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The Swedish central bank said that it will take longer than expected to reach its inflation target.

Presented by Stockholm University
9 unexpected study programmes at Stockholm University
Photo: Niklas Björling

Did you know Stockholm University offers 75 master's programmes taught in English? And some of them are programmes you won't find anywhere else...

Creepy clown messes with the wrong dog walker in Sweden
Not the clown in the story. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A dog helped its owner fight off a creepy clown chasing the pair in southern Sweden.

A million Swedes are digitally excluded: report
How should Sweden bridge the digital divide? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Tech-savvy Swedes? Perhaps not. A new study suggests that at least a million of its residents feel the pain of the digital divide.

Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th time.

What's on in Sweden
Five great autumn events in Sweden this week
Jazz in northern Sweden. Photo: Umeå Jazz Festival

Food, music, movies and more food. What better way of helping yourself forget that the days are getting shorter and colder?

Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available