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NATO scores big with Sweden on board

Jul 17, 2023

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After months of deadlock, Turkey’s president has agreed to support Sweden’s NATO membership, clearing the way for the Nordic country to join neighboring Finland in the military alliance. Both Sweden and Finland have had long-standing policies of remaining neutral in armed conflicts, which they abandoned soon after Russia invaded Ukraine.

According to Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan, this is a big win for NATO because Sweden is the most capable country to join the alliance in the last 50 years.

Excerpted from Peter’s July 14 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

Hello from Bison Peak in Colorado. By the time you see this, the knot should be tied on Sweden joining NATO. There’s still a little arm-twisting that will go on behind the scenes, but most of the heavy lifting is done (and Turkey got the bribe they wanted, sooo everyone’s happy).

From a strategic POV, this is a huge win for NATO. Sweden is, bar none, the most capable country to join the alliance in the last 50 years, not just another security consumer mooching off everyone else. In addition, Sweden’s capabilities are also hyperfocused on one goal in particular…keeping Russia in its place.

Sure, the Swedes have been relatively neutral in the past, but they’re still armed to the teeth with shiny new toys. And from the perspective of the Americans, getting Sweden on board was the best possible outcome.

For the alliance as a whole, Sweden is more than just another name on the list; it’s a country that could reshape NATO’s entire outlook on the war in Ukraine.

Hello from bison peak in Colorado. I’m about 12,000 feet right now probably gonna be seen here tonight. Anyway, by the time you get this message, everything should be pretty official. It looks like the Swedes are going to be joining NATO, the Vilnius summit, the Turks, after making a couple outlandish demands that basically indicated that they were looking for a bribe, apparently behind the scenes got the bribe that they were after, and have given a preliminary approval. Now this is not done until it’s done. You still have to have the Turkish parliament sign off on ratification and after that we there is one more obstacle but the Hungarian parliament,
Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban has basically been acting as a advanced force for the Russians in NATO and the EU. So there are some complications that could arise. But the heavy lifting has been done an hour on us to require a little bit of light arm twisting to probably make it happen. I have no idea what the bribe is that the Turks demanded and received. But everyone seems pretty close, pathetic. Things like this happen in Europe all the time. Anyway. So onto the strategic issue. First and foremost, Sweden is the most capable country to join NATO since its formation back in the 1950s 1952, I believe. You had your initial batch of Atlantic countries, which included say Britain in the Netherlands and Canada, the United States, obviously, those were very capable countries. And then in 1955, West Germany was admitted almost as a subject state. The Germans were not allowed or issued opinions on strategic issues. And so they basically just served as a bulwark within the teasin, the Allied system until we had reunification in the 1990s. And since then, the countries that have joined, whether it’s during the 70s and the 80s, with countries like Greece, or Spain, or Portugal, or in the post cold war era, such as Latvia, or Romania, or Poland, they have definitely fall into the category of what they like to call security consumers. countries that don’t have militaries that are right size to their needs, and or have extreme geographic vulnerability to potential hostels. Sweden is the first country of note that has does not match that pattern. Sweden has been a major industrial military power over a half a millennium. And the reason we don’t think of Sweden as a major player is because for the last 300 years, it’s been neutral. In a conflict called the Great Northern War. Three centuries ago, Sweden was the preeminent military power of the entirety of Europe, and almost ended up ruling it all. And it took a coalition of everybody else, including the Russians, and the people that we now think of as the Germans to break Swedish power in Northern Europe. Since then, they have enforced a degree of neutrality on themselves literally going back centuries. But they are not a normal neutral country, they are armed to the frickin teeth. They are a maritime power. But unlike the United States that has maritime interests in every ocean basin, theirs is entirely focused on the Baltic Sea. They have arguably the best amphibious military capability outside of the United States In the United Kingdom. And again, it’s very, very focused on a very specific geography. And that means that with the Swedes within the NATO family, you get that sort of defense competence, with a cooperation that is very, very focused on one thing, and one thing only, and that is Russia. The Swedes have been quietly advocating for positions that will box in the Russians, and that will encourage independence and development in places like the Baltic Republics ever since 1992. Now they’re not doing it as a neutral. Now they’re doing it a hand in glove. And it’s only going to be a matter of time, I would say weeks to months, not years to decades, before Sweden emerges as one of the leading voices within the Alliance itself on pretty much everything that matters as regards the Ukraine war. That means defense cooperation, that means military procurement, that means pushing for democracy and all of the fringe states. That means hemming in the Russians, that means taking a relatively forthright position, visa vie the Chinese it is basically you’re looking from an American point of view, is it the best country in the world just joined the network. And unlike countries like say, France or turkey, or even the United Kingdom that have their fingers in a lot of pots, and so there’s always conflicting interests in the Swedish military. Every day you wake up, you prepare for one thing, the war with the Russians, and there is a war with the Russians right now. All right. That’s it for me, everyone. Take care

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