Radio Sweden on January 14, 2013, reported that Sweden could not rely on NATO for help if it were attacked, according to NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen. NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke at the ongoing “Folk och försvar” defence conference in Arctic Sweden. Only NATO members can be guaranteed help from the military alliance, and as it is not a member, Sweden should not depend on any such assistance. Excerpts below:
His remark comes following a statement by the commander-in-chief of the Swedish armed forces that they only have the resources to defend Sweden for a week if it was attacked.
…Staffan Danielsson, a defense spokesperson for the Center Party, a member of the governing coalition said:
“We need to analyse Sweden’s military cooperation with the Nordic region, and with the EU and Nato,” he said. We haven’t done that in 70 years and the commander-in-chief’s comment shows how things have changed.”
That change was highlighted for many this weekend when Russia’s military might was on display with military exercises in the Mediterranean and Vladimir Putin’s pledge to spend billions on [for instance new nuclear submarines] in the coming years.
In the 1980s and 1990s when it became clear that the Russian threat had faded [somewhat], Sweden decreased its military expenditure and no longer focused on defending a potential full-scale invasion from the east,… Now many analysts say that cutbacks have gone too far and the military needs new money.
Journalist Claes Arvidsson is a editorial writer at center-right leaning daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in Stockholm who welcomes the commander in chiefs comments.
“Finally we have the basis for a proper debate on defense. It’s become clear for the public what the situation is.”
The Center Party and Liberal Party, both member parties of the present center-right coalition want the Swedish parliament to consider the benefits of NATO membership and argue that much of the defense forces systems are already geared up for cooperation with the North Atlantic defense organization.
Sweden may be non-aligned but it is part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme and regularly hosts NATO military exercises. It also has a military pact with the Nordic countries to come to each others aid in the event of an attack.