An Overly Clear Signal on Defence

Here, everything is counted twice, or not at all, and what is given with one hand is taken away with the other with a dexterity that makes Joe Labero look like an amateur. To go into it in detail is, for me, overwhelming; but, after recent developments, one can make some simple observations:

1. Six years ago, parliament ordered a new defence, Insatsorganisation14 (IO14). A little later, the commander confirmed that this defence, when fully in place, is capable of defending one position in Sweden against an attack for a week.

2. Given that there is now ongoing strong armament, invasion and war in our vicinity, and provocations against our and neighbouring countries’ borders, it has become an increasingly common opinion, indeed even in parliament, that this level of ambition is of the lowest order.

3. Therefore, the government and the bourgeois opposition held talks on strengthening our defence, not least in the form of increased defence spending.

4. The armed forces have calculated that it will take about 4 billion SEK a year in extra funding to be able to realise IO14…

5. …which in any case is generally considered to be outdated and inadequate.

6. The government, the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Centre Party agreed to inject 10.2 billion SEK extra into defence for the period 2016-2020…

7. …which corresponds to about half of what the armed forces need to implement something that is already not enough.

8. At the same time, the 10.2 billion SEK is being hollowed out by 1.7 billion SEK, so the real contribution is only 8.5 billion SEK; partly because employer contributions for younger employees are being raised and also because the profit-hating Social Democrat and Moderate politicians in government are demanding that the state’s Fortifications Agency, whose whole raison d’être is to provide premises for defence, raise its rents so that the yield rises.

At the press conference after the agreement, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist emphasised that it would send a clear signal to the outside world. This is probably accurate, but not in the way he imagines. On the contrary, the agreement shows that, despite Georgia, Ukraine and the Russian Easter, crisis awareness and the ability to act are missing in our political system. Too much is still feeble and as if it is not really for real, and this applies to the politics of both defence and security. ”Threats to peace and Swedish security are best averted by fellowship and cooperation with other countries,” the government wrote in its defence policy bill (2014/15: 109). At the same time, in the defence agreement, a report will be commissioned on international cooperation that will not even be allowed to evaluate military alliances.

The collaborations were already investigated last year in an excellent way by Ambassador Tomas Bertelman. He found that Sweden’s frequent contacts with NATO means that we are perceived as a member of the pact, but that we are without the safeguards that a proper membership would offer. This dangerous paradox needs no agreement or government bill to solve it.

Thus, are there no bright spots in the darkness of the defence politics that has prevailed under Göran Persson’s and Fredrik Reinfeldt’s leadership? Well, perhaps.

I am not thinking primarily of ”the big bet” on 8.5 billion SEK. True, it is better than minus, or zero, or the more modest increase that the Social Democrats had proposed, but it remains totally inadequate and could also make it more difficult for the involved parties to come up with sensible proposals in the future.


Hederskulturens medlöpare

Första skottet gick in i pannan, det andra i käken. Hon slapp höra hur fadern upprepade ordet ”hora” när han sköt. Obduktionen visade att den första kulan avslutade Fadime Sahindals 26-åriga liv.

However, it is a very good idea to fill the military gap in Gotland – before someone else does. Gotland has immense strategic importance, and it has been irresponsible and risky to leave the island virtually undefended. The unit that will now be stationed there cannot, of course, repel large forces, but it can at least ensure that the island is not lost through an accident or because of a grey area.

Improved armament for the Home Guard is also welcome. The Home Guard’s successful recruitment shows a keen interest in defence, and those who join must have adequate equipment.

A staggering statement in the bill is reminiscent of how far the cluelessness has gone: ”The planning for civil defence should be resumed…” How could we take it for granted that vulnerability and supply would never be a problem? It is a psychological riddle and the way back is long.

Finally, it is extremely urgent to dramatically raise the level of ambition in terms of psychological defence. Anyone who is wondering why is highly recommended to read Peter Pomerantsev and the other writers involved in this issue’s theme.

PJ Anders Linder

VD och chefredaktör i Axess. 

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