4) To be or NATO be. Lesson twentynine

Putin visited Finland in June-July 2016 in conjunction with Russia’s up to date biggest readiness control exercise, which was carried out on August 25-31, 2016. It was an informal visit, and according to Russia, they didn’t sign any agreements. Sauli Niinistö and Putin discussed “the relations between Finland and Russia and the situation in Europe”. Before that Putin and the Finnish president Sauli Niinistö met as recently as March 2016 in Moscow.

Nato held a summit in the first week of July 2016, where it was agreed to deploy four reinforced battalions in the Baltic countries and in Poland, which Russia naturally opposed.

At a previous meeting in Finland the Moderate (Moderaterna = alleged right wing political party in Sweden) Karin Enström, Vice Chairman of the Swedish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized Niinistö for meeting with Putin. Niinistö replied that Sweden does not keep up with what is happening in the world and that, e.g. The United States has an active dialogue with Russia. But you have to understand that Finland is cornered by Russia and that it was no coincidence that Putin took a trip over the border in conjunction with the Russian mass mobilization. What were discussed there can determine Sweden’s fate.

The country that wants to annex the Baltics and is located in the east, gain a huge advantage, if they undisturbed under false pretences that no Natoland is going to be affected, first can seize the large Swedish island of Gotland in the middle of the Baltic Sea. If they seize Gotland they can create a total A2AD (Anti Access/Area Denial) over large parts of Scandinavia and the whole of the Baltic Sea with advanced long range air defense systems.

I think that Russia will try to find cracks in the Swedish-Finnish relations. They hope that one country will not apply for NATO membership without the other country also doing so, and that there will therefore be no membership for any of the countries. In one way, the True Finns (political right wing party in Finland) are dangerous which have worked to strip the Swedish-speaking part of the Finnish people of their civil rights. It may come back to haunt them. I believe that Finland is more dependent on hooking on a Swedish membership than Sweden is dependent on hooking on a Finnish membership. Finland, with NATO’s eyes, can probably be more easily sacrificed than Sweden. It can put Finland in a difficult situation if Sweden joins the NATO organization without a co-signing together with Finland. It’s what happened when Sweden joined the EU. The Finns haven’t forgotten.

In the above diagram you can see who the weakest link in the chain is. It’s Germany. For my part, although Sweden is not a member of NATO, I am prepared to help defend a NATO nation in the Nordic region, if it is small, like the Baltic States or Iceland. But promises of military aid without first showing that you are really prepared to follow up on it are not worth much. So I am ready, if I were an authorized statesman, to let our Visby-class corvettes and our submarines, from time to time patrol the waters of the Baltic States in peacetime. I have already made a Baltic ex officer assurances and thus I cannot back down.

I am also ready to support Finland in different ways. But it doesn’t matter what I say, or even what our defense minister Peter Hultqvist says, if we do not have a plan for how the help should be executed in peacetime and in wartime or if we don’t have the means to help in any decisive way. We are not alone in not having a plan. NATO lacks or lacked a functioning plan since the United States doesn’t have any land-based persevering deterrent like medium-range ballistic missile systems with versatile types of war heads, like the Russian Iskander-M, which is deployed in Kaliningrad. The United States has phased out most of its tactical nuclear arsenal and the one that is available is not land-based, it is air and sea based.

This is the fourth and last lesson concerning Sweden, Finland and NATO. I hope I haven’t left the Finns with a grudge towards this patriotic Swede. I am prepared to help the Finns with whatever help we can allow ourselves to give to them, even officers and fighting units in Swedish uniform. A hypothetic war in the twentytwenties will be much more qualitatively materiel focused than in the Russo-Finnish winterwar in 1939-1940, and I am afraid that we are not going to be willing to supply the advanced materiel the Finns are going to need without also controlling its contributive forms. That means that wherever there is advanced Swedish equipment, it is going to be operated by Swedish personnel under Swedish command. At least if I have anything to say about it.

But first we need a solid plan and binding agreements.

Homework:

Can Sweden and Finland prevent that Russia could find cracks in our Swedish-Finnish relations? If so, how?

Please motivate your answer!

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

3) To be or NATO be. Lesson twentyeight

I don’t think that an attack against Sweden will be of a military nature, but the attack will come in the form of a prolonged cyber operation and/or through an economic conspiracy against us. The only thing that can discourage the Russians from committing a cyber attack on Sweden is if we have an ability to attack Russia with the same means.

Georgia’s president Mikhail Saakashvili believed that NATO would intervene if Russia attacked Georgia militarily. But Georgia is more isolated localized geographically because there are only two access roads by land from the Nato country Turkey. Plus, the airport at Georgia’s capital Tbilisi is isolated. In addition, Turkey has a long history of turncoat policy regardless of the consequences for northern NATO countries and others, and it is the Turks who controls the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus into the Black Sea. A NATO intervention was hardly possible.

Georgia 2008 was the famous “litmus test”. It will of course be more of a risk-taking for Russia to attack Sweden before we can join NATO than it was to attack the isolated Georgia. But players come in plenty. Professor Rolf Tamnes, Norwegian historian and professor at the Department of Defense Studies (Institutt for forsvarsstudier – IFS), emphasizes that Russia does not trust Swedish non-alignment, since the extensive cuts in the Swedish defense force is considered as an incentive to seek external help, for example from NATO and the United States.

Apparently, it is not clear abroad what Swedish “non-alignment” stands for. In my opinion, it stands for freedom to choose alliance partners according to our own preferences. We should make this clear to the world, even if the outside world then will reject us even more, because uncertainties benefit us even less. We are sitting in the fox trap regardless.

How may Russia evaluate their geo-economic field and balance it with the geomilitary field?

1) Russia prefer to look at it as if the outside world is dependent on what they have to offer in the form of Russian gas and oil, but I believe that they realize that Germany may make themselves independent from the geostrategic Gazprom and thus Russia. They must keep the Germans happy.
2) It is almost a required condition that Russia is able to simultaneously attack the entire Baltics and parts of Scandinavia not to mention Iceland, if they intend to be able to count on free passage through Öresund, Kattegat and Skagerack, and they must be able to keep their main trading countries, e.g. the Netherlands and France.
3) This in turn requires that the United States first, nearly lose its superpower status. We therefore have no interest whatsoever in the United States losing its superpower status.

But I think that Sweden as a state must grant access to our territory for US troops on Swedish soil if we are to join NATO. It is not enough to receive a Naval ship visit from time to time, which we could also do as a non-aligned country in peacetime. I am not particularly happy to let 5,000 American hungry hearts invade a Swedish small town or one of our Baltic Sea islands in peacetime. Maybe we can do as Norway and let the US stock up materiel in Swedish bunker rooms?

Homework:

The US may have bases in Sweden as a requirement for a Swedish membership. Above all, an air defense base on one of our Baltic Sea islands and access to our airbases and ports. Otherwise the US will never have the time window to intervene in Scandinavia and even less in the Baltic countries, before Russia has swallowed parts of us. If the United States cannot intervene in time on our latitudes and longitudes, then it makes no sense for us to join NATO and we will probably then be denied membership.

But there is also the possibility to accomodate American service members families and thus unburden some pressure on our communities and our society as a whole. Let them contribute to our society and at the same time make it possible for them to use public services such as hospitals and schools at the same low cost as for Swedes. The schools should even be free of charge. I have absolutely no problems with Americans as a people.

Do you agree or not agree? Please motivate your position.

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden