In Stockholm, some people are very hostile to NATO membership! According to some experts, the third-largest democracy in the world is set to join the exclusive NATO club.
Sweden.: Putin’s next target?
Although Russian aircraft had previously flown over the island of Gotland before the invasion of Ukraine, there is currently no indication of any Russian invasion in Sweden. It is true that the occupation of Gotland, a favorite holiday destination for Stockholm residents during the summer, is crucial for controlling the Baltic Sea. However, at the moment, the Russians, already entangled in Ukraine, may reconsider their plans for dominance in Europe. But in Stockholm, some people remain strongly opposed to NATO membership!
On the other hand, it’s Vladimir Putin’s motivations that are causing concerns. Considering the human toll (even for Russia) and, more importantly, the economic vendetta it has brought upon his own country, the Russian intervention is by no means justified, not even from a strategic perspective. So, what are Putin’s motivations? For now, although some French analysts attribute the roots of the war in Ukraine to vague historical speculations of dominance for Russia, it’s unlikely that Putin would risk Russia’s position in the international hierarchy to play the role of a czar.
This presumed recklessness of Russia’s leader amplifies a sense of anxiety in Sweden. Both countries have been rivals for as long as anyone can remember. During the incidents in Gotland, a highly anxious atmosphere had enveloped the Swedish capital. Even today, the allies’ non-intervention in Ukraine suggests to Finland and Sweden that, in the event of a rash move by Putin, the allies might simply stand aside and let the Russian giant act. But in Stockholm, some people remain strongly opposed to NATO membership!
In Stockholm, some people are very hostile to NATO membership!
However, Sweden, which is now considered one of the most beautiful democracies in the world (ranked 3rd in independent assessments), has a long tradition of left-wing politics. In Europe, Sweden is the only social democracy that is thriving. Everywhere else, socialist parties are struggling, except in Sweden. And in the tradition of European social democrats, their ideology often includes a basic “anti-Americanism,” which generally aligns with not automatically aligning with American positions. Joining NATO is seen as a de facto acceptance of the American position. It’s a core aspect of social democracy. In Stockholm, some people remain very opposed to NATO membership!
Yesterday at Medborgarplatsen, opponents of NATO membership had gathered to voice their rejection. Several hundred people had assembled there at the initiative of far-left parties, distributing their leaflets on the local “Bastille Square.”
However, opposition to Sweden’s NATO membership isn’t limited to the far-left. Some Swedes we spoke to are adamant about their independence. A young father we met at a local bar hinted, “Russia doesn’t scare me. What I don’t want is for my son to go to war in 20 years for no reason. Because with NATO, we’d be dragged into wars that have nothing to do with us.” In Stockholm, some people remain very opposed to NATO membership!
According to the same Stockholm resident, local surveys suggest that in the event of war, 60% of Swedes would be willing to defend their country with arms. Nevertheless, despite the fear and anxiety, and despite the position of the Swedish government, Stockholm’s residents still question the wisdom of NATO membership.