This is not the time to make decisions in a moment of historical hysteria and panic, writes Jan Oberg.
By Jan Oberg
Here’s what the West is intellectually unable — in the midst of its boundlessly self-righteous, militarist mood to see:
NATO’s expansion policy created — and is responsible for — the conflict.
Russia created — and is responsible for — the war. There exists no violence which is not rooted in underlying conflicts. Conflict and peace literate people, therefore, talk about both.
And if they want peace, they do not increase the symptoms — the war — they address the real cause, the conflict and ask the conflicting parties to tell what they fear and what they want and then move, step-by-step towards a sustainable solution.
But neither the mainstream media nor politicians have the civil courage to address the conflict. It’s only about the war and only about Russia and President Vladimir Putin who must be punished, no matter the price to be paid by future generations. If we survive.
It’s a banality to point out that it takes at least two to conflict. But that’s the intellectual and moral level decision-makers, media and much of academia operate in these dark times.
This approach has no future and can never bring peace. Period.
Decisions taken with this irrational approach and emotionalism will only make things worse. Such as Sweden and Finland joining NATO based on the hysteric panic of the moment: There simply exists no credible, realistic scenario that would lead to an isolated, out-of-the-blue Russian attack on either of them if they remained non-aligned as they’ve been for decades.
That some less knowledgeable people — or people who speak for NATO membership — have been talking about even an isolated, out-of-the-blue attack on the Swedish island of Gotland is Monty Python politics.
So why will Finland and Sweden now make a disastrous, tension-increasing decision to join NATO? Here are some of the possible reasons:
Both have been under heavy pressure by NATO and the U.S. in particular. Sweden’s prime minister, Olof Palme, was murdered – a man who stood for the U.N. goal of international disarmament, nuclear abolition and the intelligent concept of common security. U.S. ambassadors have held secret meetings with Swedish MPS, there are many channels, demands and rewards.
Sweden’s single worst security challenge was the Russian submarine, U 137 Whisky on the Rocks. It was Russian, yes, but the operation was an American PSYOP – psychological operation – conducted by the “navigation expert” on board who was the only one never interviewed in Sweden and who soon after disappeared.
It was a PSYOP intended to make Sweden recognize that the Soviet Union was a threat, that its defence against the East was deficient and that it should seek protection from the West itself. This is extremely well-documented by professor emeritus, Ola Tunander’s, eminent multi-decade research, latest published in the book, Navigations-Experten. Hur Sverige lät sig bedras av U 137 (The Navigation Expert. On how Sweden accepted to be deceived by U 137).
Step-by-step, Sweden was guided in the right direction. Certain Swedish politicians knew what was going on, but the media and the people didn’t.
Wooed by US & NATO
Both countries have moved to be wooed by the U.S. and NATO. They have, over the last 20 years, become engaged with NATO in all kinds of ways – so, as the saying goes, why not marry now?
In other words, Finland and Sweden now join because they have – incrementally – made one wrong decision after the other, painted themselves into a “no-choice-but-NATO” corner and abdicated every ounce of their historical, independent-minded creative foreign policy thinking. And stopped criticism of warfare and militarism.
That has also been possible because critical, or alternative, independent intellectual input into ministries of foreign affairs has been cut out and substituted by various types of pro-American marketing of policies.
For decades, the NATO Echo Chamber has defined the national pro-NATO Groupthink. Nobody was allowed in to ask: Where on earth are we heading in, say, 25 years from now?
Further, Sweden and Finland are now joining because elites related to the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex, MIMAC, in both countries – rather than the people – decide security and foreign policy matters.
Of course, there was extremely little open public discussion; it wasn’t wanted. Decision-makers knew that NATO’s nuclear weapons foundation and its members’ contact wars, particular in the Middle East were seen as basically evil among the citizenry.
Liberal media suggest that there cannot be a referendum because there is such a time pressure — presumably before that Russian invasion of Sweden and Finland — and, so, just make the most important foreign and security political decision since 1945 in a hurry now there is popular outrage at Russia — the beloved, necessary enemy.
The Swedish decision-makers of course know that there will never be a 75 percent or so majority for NATO — which is what there should be to make such a fundamental, fateful decision. So much, you may say, for democracy — but no new NATO member has held a referendum where NATO and other alternatives were freely discussed and a 75 percent majority came out in favor. (According to the Swedish Svenska Dagbladet daily of May 6, 48 percent think that Sweden shall join, but in just one week those who are not sure what to think have increased from 22 to 27 percent).
Finland’s pro-NATO opinion seems to have grown from 53 percent in February to 76 percent in May 2022. It was 19 percent in 2017 according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Ukraine has played its role.
A further reason to join is the intellectual disarmament that has left decision-makers unifying around one alternative; forgotten to leave other doors open and deliberately quelled alternatives.
The discourse of peace — in media, politics and research — has been disappeared. Peace has come to mean weapons, deterrence, more and more of it coupled to blind loyalty with every U.S./NATO war.
For instance, then Social Democratic Prime Minister Göran Persson’s government quickly decided to disable Sweden’s weapons export prohibition legislation in 2001 in order to be able to continue exporting weapons to the U.S. during its invasion of Iraq.
This multi-year intellectual disarmament is manifest — and always tends to favour military over civilian means as well as diplomacy. And not only in these countries, of course.
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An institute such as SIPRI – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – has decayed intellectually into something that should rather be named Stockholm International Military Security Research, SIMSI – as I have suggested years ago.
In other words, the political creativity that was needed to run an independent policy of neutrality, non-alignment and global disarmament coupled with a strong belief in international law vanished years ago.
It’s easier to follow the flock – particularly when, as it seems, the Social Democratic party today exists only by name.
Without exhausting all those — tragic — reasons, one final reason to mention is the role of the media. Like everywhere else, media from left to right have unified around a pro-Western, non-neutral policy. The present pro-NATO propaganda, not the least in the liberal Dagens Nyheter, is pervasive.
Critical voices are marginalised and public information “explainers” are reduced to some high school-like basic facts coupled with FOSI, Fake + Omission + Source Ignorance. Sweden is able to have televised panel discussions where, de facto, all the participants are more or less pro-NATO thus leaving out a large part of public opinion. *)
There are potentially so many — some more likely than others — that they cannot all be listed in a short pointed analysis like this. But let me mention:
- The Swedes and the Finns will become less secure. Why? Because there will be harder confrontation and polarization instead of soft borders and mediating attitudes. In a serious crisis, they will, for all practical purposes, be occupied and told what to do by the U.S./NATO.
- To the degree that, at some point in the future, the two countries will be asked to host U.S. bases— like Norway and Denmark now – they won’t be able to say “No!” Such bases will be Russia’s first-order targets in a war situation.
- From a Russian point of view, of course, their NATO membership is extremely tension-increasing and confrontational. Russia has 8 percent ($66 billion) of the military expenditures of the 30 NATO members. Now there will be a huge re-armament throughout NATO. Germany alone plans to increase to almost twice as much as Russia’s expenditures. Ukraine will receive about $50 billion. Add a re-armed Sweden and Finland and we shall see Russia rush down to 4 percent of NATO’s expenditures — and still be called a formidable threat.
- There will be virtually no confidence-building and conflict-resolution mechanisms left in Europe. No discussion will be possible about a new all-European peace and security system. And whether it is understood and respected or not, Russia will feel even more intimidated, isolated and — in a certain situation — become even more desperate. As does, normally, the weaker party in an a-symmetric conflict. We are living in very dangerous times and these two countries in NATO will only increase the danger, there is no way it could reduce it.
- If Finland and Sweden so strongly want to be “protected” by the United States and/or NATO, it is completely unnecessary for these two countries to join because, if there is a serious crisis, the U.S./NATO will under all circumstances come to “protect” or rather use their territories to be closer to the Baltic republics. That’s what the Host Nation Support agreements are about.
The only reason to join would be paragraph 5 – but the disadvantage is that paragraph 5 requires that Finland and Sweden will be expected to participate in wars that are not about their defence and perhaps even in future international law-violating wars à la those in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya. So, will Finnish and Swedish young people be killed in future NATO-country wars? Are they ready for that?
- It will cost a fortune to convert their military infrastructure to full NATO membership — and when they have joined, they will pay whatever the price will turn out to be. In addition, there will be much less de facto sovereign decision-making possible — here de jure is almost irrelevant. And it was already very self-limited before they joined.
- As NATO members, Finland and Sweden cannot but share the responsibility for nuclear weapons — the deterrence and possible use of them by NATO. It’s also obvious that NATO vessels may bring nuclear weapons into their ports — but they will of course not even ask — they know the arrogant U.S. response is that “we neither confirm nor deny that sort of thing.”
This goes against every fibre of the Swedish people — and Sweden’s decision to not develop nuclear weapons dating some 70 years back.
- The days when Sweden and Finland can – in principle, at least – work for alternatives are numbered.That is, for the U.N. treaty on nuclear abolition and the U.N. goals of general and complete disarmament, any alternative policy concepts like common security, human security, a strong U.N. etc. They won’t be able to serve as mediators — like, say, Austria and Switzerland. No NATO member can pay anything but lip service to such noble goals. NATO is not an organization that encourages alternatives. Instead, it seeks monopoly as well as regional and global dominance.
- Finland and Sweden say yes to militarist thinking, to a “peace” paradigm that is imbued with weapons, armament, offensiveness (long-range + large destructive capacity), deterrence and constant threatening: NATO is human history’s most militaristic organisation.Its leader, the United States of America, has been at war 225 out of 243 years since 1776. Every idea about nonviolence, the U.N. Charter provision of making peace by predominantly peaceful means (Article 1 in the Charter) will be out of the window.
- The political attention, as well as funds, will tend to switch to military matters, away from contributing to solving humanity’s most urgent problems. But – we know it now – the excuse will be Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Is there any huge change that cannot be justified with reference to that?
- While everybody knows that the Arctic is going to be a region of central security and peace concerns in the near future, this issue has hardly been discussed in relation to the two countries’ NATO membership. However, it doesn’t require much expertise to see that U.S./NATO access to Sweden and Finland is a clear advantage in the future confrontation with Russia and China there.
- As NATO members, Sweden and Finland not only accept but reinforce decades of hate of the Russian people, everything Russia including Russian-European culture. It will say yes to the West’s reckless, knee-jerk collective (illegal) punishment of everything Russia, the cancellation of Russia on all dimensions.
Once upon a time, in contrast, Finland’s President Urho Kekkonen stood for policies of active neutrality, a go-between role and initiating the OSCE. Finland was proud that its people felt that neither the East nor the West was an enemy, various kinds of equidistance prevailing. And that was during the height of the First Cold war when the Warsaw Pact was about 10 times stronger vis-a-vis NATO than Russia is today. How and why? One reason was that policies had an intellectual foundation and leaders a consciousness about what war meant. Not so today.
- The prospect that no NATO advocates talk about is this: In all likelihood, we have only seen the hard beginning of an extremely Cold War with an ever-increasing risk of a Hot War too. It is the stated purpose of the U.S. – and that means NATO – to weaken Russia militarily in Ukraine so it can’t rise ever again and to undermine its economy back home through history’s hardest, time-unlimited and unconditional sanctions – that is, sanctions that will not be lifted in a lifetime or more.
- And, finally, by joining NATO, the two countries will be forced to side with the larger West in the future world order change in which China, the Middle East, Africa and South America as well as huge non-Western regional associations will gain strength.
The U.S. priority No. 1 is China. As NATO members, Sweden and Finland will be unable to walk on two legs in the future – a Western and a Non-Western — and will decline and fall with the West – the U.S. Empire and NATO in particular.
If you think that’s a too daring and pessimistic scenario, you’re not following developments and trends outside the West itself. Also, please consider that a split and problem-torn U.S., EU and NATO have just come together for one reason: the negative policy of hating Russia and cover-up for its crystal-clear co-responsibility for the conflict that brought us where we now are.
The West has no positive vision anymore. Its actions are about re-armament, threats, sanctions, demonization, the self-righteous “we-never-did-anything-wrong” and the concomitant projection of its own dark sides upon others, China in particular.
For small countries to put all their eggs in one basket when they do have alternatives and acting without a clue about the next five-to-10 years has always been a recipe for disaster, for war.
Both NATO and the EU act these days as the passengers did in the restaurant of the elegant, luxurious RMS Titanic.
There were huge problems which should have been solved for humanity to survive: climate, environment, poverty, inequality, militarism, nukes, etc. They are now forgotten. Economic crisis and disruptions followed, and then came the Corona virus and took a heavy toll on all kinds of resources and energies. And, finally, now this war in Europe with its underlying NATO-created conflict.
This is not the time to make decisions in a moment of historical hysteria and panic. This is indeed a moment to keep cool.
One can only regret that Sweden and Finland lack the intellectual power to see the larger picture in time and space. NATO has had the time since 1949 to prove that it can make peace. We know now that it can’t. Joining it, therefore, is one big gift to militarism and future warfare.
Jan Oberg is an internationally experienced, independent peace and future researcher and an art photographer, columnist, commentator and mediator.
This article is from The Transnational.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
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We will see if these sanctions exceed those of the Ottoman Empire against Europe, when they cut us of the silk road. But for americans that might be back befor history began.
Since they do not learn history, or geography, or foreign languages, I assume they are all math wizards.
On a strategic level, NATO move makes sense. It will allow a tighter control of the Baltic Sea. If you color a map of the states under NATO’s control in blue, and including Finland and Sweden , it’s pretty. It goes well on a strategic board game where the armies and civilian populations are little pieces of cardboard. If you are not a kid, you realize that this is pure provocation when the other party went to war in Ukraine for that matter. On a strategic level, it increases the pressure on Russia and obliges it to take care of two fronts, to weaken it? On an intellectual level, it just tell the Russian and China that there is no intention to pull back, negotiate,… All these big words, too fancy for NATO to understand. This is a situation similar to World War 1, where a local conflict that could have been solved with negotiations, whirlpool out of control. What a lot of people understand in the West is the equation Putin bad, Ukraine and us good. Putin, Biden, Trump, Europe leaders do not matter fundamentally. NATO is at the border of Russia, way closer than Hitler’s army in 1941, with armies and weapons able to act if deemed necessary. For PayPal and Co., imagine that China instigates a coup in Mexico and puts “their guys” in power, gives them some money and toys. Some Americans living in Mexico (dual-nationality) refuse to recognize that guy. The new government is encouraged by the Chinese to take firm action. It gets messy, the conflict cross the border, etc… Without hypothesizing that Canada, for some reason joins later on the “Chinese Alliance for the protection of the South Pole” – our Finland…, how long do you think iy will take to these people (not the American citizens, but Bush, Clinton, Biden, Macron, Johnson and people working in security agencies and corporations) to go to war against China? I believe that, like with the anti-abortion movement in the USA, comparatively few people are deciding on dangerous policies to advance personal interests. These people do not seem that intelligent too, war is not a game of poker, especially when nul=clear weapons are on the table.
Hans Meyer I wish to comment and doing it a reply to your here mine will be close to your text which is important to me in this case. Especially in view of the fact that I’m positively impressed by your comment.
About half way through your text you write “For PayPal and Co. imagine that China . . . . ” and your words put me to thinking about the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and their work. This Organization seems to have plenty of detractors but it is the product of their efforts I wish to address here.
First topic being why so much secrecy about Americans involved in some nasty smelling business.
The Panama Papers et all have solidly established the Offshore Banking Industry has been and is as alive as any of the other international corporations that exist. At one time this commerce was touted as being 6 trillion dollar a year business by an organization of various banks.
We see from the tact the U.S. took dealing with Putin and Russia that the weaponization of world finance was and is being used against Putin and Russia in the form of sanctions. This is common knowledge but suppose the U.S. was /is threatening other countries with the same treatment if they don’t go all in with the US. I readily assume NATO nations were informed of U.S. intentions to give non-complying NATO countries the same “rough”treatment.
By another name, coercion. Sweden especially has a vested interest in this case because of their notorious reputation for harboring secret bank accounts.
So in the case of Sweden I see the distinct likely hood they are being seriously pressured by the U.S., to be sure I’m not sure that Finland finds it’s self in the same exact position but their shown intentions of rolling over for the US dread-nought might be explained by other reasons. Again secrets hidden from public consumption and edification.
“It’s just a thought”, as Beau would say, but a dog-damned valid point seeing as certain intelligence organizations have historically been involved in illegal off shore banking. Activities, and I do believe this, that all involved would love to bury along with Putin and his knowledge of the same.
See you all in the bread lines!
Accurate description of NATO mentality – it’s all a big game of Risk. The comparison with WWI (unworthy European and U.S. leaders, massive propaganda) is apt, unfortunately.
Finns and Swedes won’t be any safer by joining Nato. Quite on the contrary. So, why is it that their leaders use the current Russophobia and war hysteria to push their countries into a military alliance from which there is no way out?
How can the US/Nato/collective West, or whatever, bring so much pressure to bear on the leaders of these two nations to make them take such a monumental step without any democratic process?
Do they know something, we aren’t supposed to know? Have the dices been cast? Is WWIII a done deal? Do they try to get on the right side before it’s too late?
Or is it greed? Does the collective West have to defend its high standard of living by waging war on the rest of humanity? Are the walls against the migrants not strong enough to keep out the paupers from our consumer paradise that’s destroying the planet’s resources? Did somebody have unconventional ideas about how to solve overpopulation?
I’m wrecking my brain, but I just can’t find the answers.
Well, I guess it’s just opportunism. There is nobody at the steering wheel. The imperialists size any opportunity to expand their power without giving a thought to the consequences. The Empire always finds opportunities to start wars that serve its interests. The world is full of unsolved problems. There are plenty of opportunities.
The old war hawks are gone. Even Brzezinki warned Obama against pulling Ukraine into Nato before he died. Did he see the light before he went into that dark night? The new war hawks are devoid of any intelligence or insight. They believe they can command humanity’s knowledge with a click of their computer mouse, yet they are totally devoid of wisdom. They are empty shells or zombies. Too bad I don’t believe in lizard humans or other conspiracy theories ;-)
I always considered Finland and Sweden to be wiser than this – guess they have also been taken over by the wealthy western bureaucrats who are really the ones running the world (off the cliff so to speak).
If you want to control people, give them something to fear and hate. It’s the oldest trick in the demagogue’s book.
I think we are entitled to ask why their neutrality could survive the Soviet invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan but not the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.
Sweden does not even have a border with Russia!
Joining NATO will make them safer, so we are told. But we are not told how.
The sheer dishonesty of it all should be obvious.
A small correction to an otherwise excellent article: Russia and the Ukraine are responsible for the war. On a historical note, Finland shares with Ukraine a historical sympathy with Nazi Germany. Field Marshal Mannerheim received a very important visitor in Finland during the war: Adolf Hitler for the Fuhrer’s birthday.
To be fair they share other things as well. Finland saw neighbouring Estonia ( who speak a similar language) invaded by Russia in 1940, thousands deported to Russia and thousands of Russians settled to impose communism. They were forced to be part of the USSR. Finland was also attacked and the war was finished by ceding Land to Russia, where it remains. During the Cold War the Soviet govt insisted on being able to veto the publication of certain books or viewing of some films. The Passikivi doctrine was a way of appeasing the USSR while remaining an independent and capitalist country. The Soviet Union had some control over their foreign policy.
Ukraine suffered the famine caused , basically by Soviet policy. Some Russians also died and in other parts of the USSR. The exact numbers are disputed but they range from two million to double that. When Hitler invaded, many welcomed the Germans as liberators. But their behaviour alienated the Ukrainians. They were taken back into the USSR. They actually had representation in the United Nations as separate state but the policy was tightly controlled from Moscow. Neutrality can mean different things to different people depending on their historical experience.
They voted for independence after the collapse of the USSR. There is good reason to think that the Putin government wish to re-incorporate them into the Russian federation.
I include this page from Novesti published in February but taken down after a day or so.
and the U.S. and NATO.
“Foolish”??? A bit of an understatement, I think.
Excellent article and brilliant analysis of the consequences for the people of Finland and Sweden in joining NATO. It seems like everything to lose and not much to gain except extremely short termed virtue signaling amidst the current Russiaphobic hysteria. It is sad, because these 2 countries has been well respected by most of the world and all that will go into the drain.
Thank you Jan. I arrived at these conclusions in my own, uneducated way. Given that a modest person can understand the true state of affairs it is perhaps not Intellectual Disarmament. It is something more sinister and intentional. It is deeply rooted in western society and is shown to be a characteristic of our civilisation. And sadly our style of civilistion is ending civilisation itself. Clearly we won’t stop until that is achieved and we are determined to achieve it. Personally, I can think of nothing more tragic than Sweden, the country that I loved for its 200+ year example of principled peace, that avoided the global conflicts of the last century, that showed us how to live without militarism, that made my heart sing for its remarkable ability to follow its own path, to be willingly conquered by the USA and to damn itself by sharing its certain fate. I felt that I had found the most wonderful country. I was wrong. Hejdå Sverige
Correction: The US/NATO-backed regime installed regime in Kiev created — and is responsible for — the war that started in 2014. Washington made sure the regime would never implement the Minsk agreements.
Excellent, well reasoned and detailed analysis. I only wish more people would at least read and engage with the ideas presented.
As they say follow the money, I wonder if these two countries have had any visitors lately carrying huge amounts of cash or perhaps just a few blank checks.
Look to Nokia, Ericson, and Saab to get some interesting new contracts in the next few years …
Watched an hour-long video earlier today with Garland Nixon, Scott Ritter and Ray McGovern discussing this matter of Sweden’s and Finland’s Anschluss into Nato, this after watching an hour and a half presentation by Ritter alone last night on the same topic–so my attributions may derive from either one talk or the other with no accuracy other than my porous memory.
All thought that this move was madness, making most of the same arguments as the author of this piece. However, they all seemed pretty sure, especially Ritter, that the move would logically and necessarily escalate into a kinetic response by Russia, particularly against Finland with its long border with Russia, offering opportunities galore for American incursions. As Oberg says, Nato will inevitably demand all sorts of rights, favors, and concessions from these countries, including bases and deployment of missile batteries situated no more than 3 minutes transit time from St. Petersburg, Russia’s equivalent to Chicago or Los Angeles, which is mere kilometers from the Finnish border! Both countries essentially lose their sovereignty and become vassals, lackeys, slaves, bee-yotches or what have you of the American cowboys.
If Putin is in a lather over Nato missiles on his border in Ukraine he will flip out to the point of taking pre-emptive action against these countries for such an impudent act of aggression. One of the the analysts ventured to say that as soon as Nato stations any troops, builds any infrastructure or supplies any weaponry to Finland Putin will, at the least, have to launch a “demonstration” of what the Finns can expect in response to any Nato provocation (i.e., announce a dummy target to the now hostile Finnish government and vaporise it within 3 minutes using hypersonic launch vehicles) regardless of the fact that the president of Finland characterised his response to her phone call today, apprising him of her joining the Nato sorority, as surprisingly controlled and civil–not raving out of control as she had expected.
Of course, irrespective of Putin’s courtesy and charm, that means all hell breaks lose since the US simply lives for such perceived provocations and sensed insults to which it can over-react with extreme prejudice. To wit: The long promised MAD exchange finally becomes reality. WWIII is guaranteed, boys and girls! Money back if not satisfied…though you’ll have nowhere to spend it with the biosphere wiped clean to a tabula rasa of granular green glass.
Always makes me laugh. The way the Anglo-Americans think that they are going to avoid the coming holocaust. Speaking for myself I live in London which is going to be totally destroyed and its inhabitants – including me – who are going to be ‘vaporised’ to use Orwell’s description in 1984. That is a fate which is going to affect most of Europe, although the US might avoid the worse of it. But of course then comes the fall-out and the nuclear winter. Sorry chaps no way out. But I have reached the old age of 77 so frankly I have given up caring. There used to be a song in the war of 1914-18 that British soldiers sang in the trenches as the German artillery opened up. It went something like this. The original version went something like this:
”Hush here comes a whizz-bang,
Hush here comes a whizz-bang
Come on you soldier boys get down those stairs
Into your dug-out and say your prayers
Hush here comes a whizz-bang
And its headed straight for you
And you’ll see all the wonders of No-Man’s Land
When the whizz-bang hits you.
No the updated version.
Hush here comes a Sarmat
Hush here comes a Sarmat
Come on you neo-cons get down those stairs
Into your fall-out shelters and say your prayers
Hush here comes a Sarmat
And its headed straight for you
And you see all the wonders of a post-nuclear landscape
When the Sarmat hits you.
Just my version of black humour
Putin is to blame. Russia, afraid of Nato on its borders, may now have neighboring Finland join Nato. It’s really up to Finland. They are NOT in a civil war or dispute over territory like Ukraine. If Finland is afraid of Russia, and why wouldn’t they be, then Nato offers security.
The downside is losing neutrality, well, they lost that with EU membership, so it would lose its no armed alliances status, and might have to fight for the defense of the already 30 Nato states. Finland sent troops to Afghanistan to defend the USA after Nineleven. Joining Nato would be a slap to Putin’s face and completely up to Finland. Another downside is that at least one of Russia’s nukes will be aimed at every Nato nation, probably Helsinki in this case. So it’s one fear of Russia either way.
Sweden is another case. Russia tries to intimidate Sweden on a regular basis. Without a land border with Russia, Sweden is safer, and if Finland joins Nato, then Russia attacking Finland would trigger Article 5 for Nato defense, thus blocking a land invasion via Finland.
I’d think, and this is just my thinking, is that Sweden, who has been neutral from war making a couple of hundred years, will wisely remain neutral IF Finland does join. Then again, Sweden might want protection from Russia’s navy. Sweden, like Finland, is full of smart people, will do what is best for itself, and I don’t think will be swayed by under the table threats or promises by the US which is intent on expanding Nato. Swedes won’t lightly add Stockholm to Russian nuclear targets. Putin says hypersonic missiles will be placed in Kaliningrad just across the Baltic sea from Sweden — a clear threat made there. Sweden has a small but sophisticated army. Sweden had effective troops in Afghanistan who did a lot of good work trying to help the Afghan people.
In any case, Putin has to be sorry he invaded Ukraine. It’s all backfired. Still he remains. I see no end to the war there. The US is fueling the fighting with intent on weakening Russia in the long run and aiming for regime change, as WH officials and President Biden have stated.
I hate the invasion, hate the war, want it to end ASAP but see no real leader trying to do so. Maybe Sweden, or even Finland too, throwing Putin a face saving bone to not join Nato if he will stop the fighting and withdraw might be worth a try. There’s a Nobel Peace Prize for the peacemaker. I don’t see Ukraine even agreeing to a cease fire with Russia’s army on their land and add the USA spending more money on them than all other world aid combined…approaching some $50 billion in less than 3 months and more to come. What do you foresee or want? As for me, I want a quick, if imperfect peace before 3rd world innocents begin to starve or Nuclear Armageddon happens.
NATO is to blame.
It all adds up to the wholesale betrayal by 30 nations by their own governments. They swore an oath to serve and protect their nations, now they throw their nations under the bus in order to serve the American MIC, the war profiteers. Morally they are down there where Hitler is. None of them has any sense of decency or character, there are no words to describe it.
Where have all the statesmen gone? We desperately need people like DeGaulle, Brandt, Adenauer, Eisenhower, Truman, Olaf Palme, Kennedy, both assassinated, and Urho Kaleva Kekkonen.
As president Kekkonen worked relentlessly for Finland’s neutrality, and for some 70 years the Fins enjoyed peace and prosperity.
With Sweden, they influenced humane, progressive policies. Now the INCOMPETENT, small-minded people in government, to put it mildly, without any debate, with no referendum, they flash all that down the toilet. All in the interest of the American MIC and a deranged president. On command, they get ready to self-destruct. Actually, all the NATO governments are traitors, betraying their people, their nation. They are the real criminals, the real cause of all this.
Russia never threatened the neutrality even though in many ways Sweden was a de facto NATO member already, now Finland copied Ukraine helping to close the NATO noose around Russia’s neck for no good reason.
An excellent article. I have wondered: where are the informed citizens of Finland and Sweden? Why have they allowed a corrupt elite to lead them to such a loss in independence and security (in the name of security yet!)?
For heaven’s sake, do they not realize? It’ll not even be up to Putin any more … if these countries affiliate with NATO, they become the enemy. Helsinki and Stockholm and Malmo become targets of thermonuke bombs, where before they were the neutral zone. WHY would you volunteer for such a turn of events??
Please stop talking about “mainstream” media, there is no such thing.
Media is either corporate or independent. Corporate media is fascist and a tool of the state, which is itself a tool of corporations.
The “beloved and necessary enemy.” That seems almost to say it all. What a sad time we live in. Thank you for this excellent analysis.
It is so pathetic to see yet more European lap dogs pawing for “NATO security” while pretending to be so concerned about climate and sustainability. Imagine the “carbon footprint” of what is going on just in Ukraine. Oberg’s article needs to go to every home in Finland and Sweden.
Yeah…lap dogs…but in the American kennel. I reside in Europe and would say that this continent is going dumb, blind and deaf ‘infected’ with Americanism.
It seems generally impossible for both writers and commenters here at CN to every acknowledge that things might happen in the world which are not the result of US/NATO scheming.
It’s not hard to agree that it would likely be better if Finland & Sweden remain neutral and not members of NATO. But it’s totally infuriating to me to constantly see writers and commenters here consistently take the position that none of this would be happening if the US/NATO had not planned it all along. There’s even a sentence in the middle of this article suggesting that the “role” of Ukraine was to be the site of a war that would convince Finland & Sweden to join NATO.
You don’t have to stop being critical of the decisions of the US and NATO to acknowledge that there are other problematic nations/national leaderships in the world. You don’t have to deny the long term issues with NATO expansion to acknowledge that Finland and Sweden are planning to join NATO *because* Russia launched an unjustified attack on Ukraine.
There’s as much myopia in thinking that everything that happens in the world is because of the secret (or not so secret) machines of the USA, as there is in believing that the USA is the greatest nation on earth and nowhere else matters. In fact, it sometimes seems that the two positions are fundamentally related to each other. Recognizing that “my country does evil things” or even “my country is fundamentally and consistenly evil” does not require adopting the pretense that everything (good or bad) taking place in the world is the result of “my country’s evil”, nor does it require adopting the position that “since my country is evil, enemies of my country must be good”.
The attack was not unjustified. It was the result of the decisions of the US and NATO.
Paul, I made a similar point a few weeks or so ago. Many Americans are given to thinking that events happen in the world due to action by the US or non-action. It is the same whether they are on the right or , as you indicate, on the left.
I wrote above that there are sound historical reasons for Finns to distrust Russian intentions . It seems that the pressure to change long standing policies came as much from below as above. I have see some Finns posting on facebook. Limited value as evidence but still some. Unlike Americans, many Europeans are meeting or hearing about real Ukrainian people taking refuge in their country. Whether joining NATO makes any difference in the long run, remains to be seen but IMO it is seen as a gesture of solidarity with a country unjustifiably attacked and which has resorted to mass scale destruction-something which some here denied was going to happen.
There also seems to be an idea that Russia will respond with more war and that we are responsible for that. We lived with two armed camps either side of the Iron Curtain for several decades. We live with Russian ballistic missile and cruise missile submarines a few hundred miles off the coasts of western Europe. We live with incursions into airspace.
If we look at defence spending in European NATO it has fallen and the size of the French, British and German armies are at historic lows. The concept of a NATO military attack on Russia seems very far fetched. For what purpose? Yes , there are rivalries but the MiC would prefer a cold war-real wars are too dangerous.
The real threat to the Russian government is not in NATO tank fleets or a population lusting for war, but that the peoples of states once part of Russia want to be part of the west, the EU which is different in many ways to the US. This shown in the elections, the party programs and votes secured. The countries are not a threat but the values are. Russia has many things to admire but the government is authoritarian, the media has little freedom, the state has a close connection to the church , oligarchs are close to the centre of government, militarism is lauded, feminism and LGBT values are rejected -seen as decadent western values. I have had friends who travelled in Russia. One can find these things in the US too, which is why many of us in Europe feel a need for more separation from Washington. But dissent is possible and happens. The governments of Hungary and Poland share some of those Russian values but the younger people dispute them . However, the Polish govt was even more keen on supplying weapons to Ukraine than the Pentagon at one point.
It is complex.
NATO is not a defensive force, it’s an aggressive force and a danger to international stability. People need to shift their thinking on this.
La guerre fasciste en Ukraine est washingtonienne.
L’OTAN, qui aurait due être dissoute lors même de la dissolution du Pacte de Varsovie, s’est métamorphosée d’organisation défensive contre l’URSS à organisation offensive contre la Russie et la Chine. Bien que Washington est affirmé, juré, promis, verbalisé, écrit le contraire, l’OTAN, comme son créateur, Washington, ne répond qu’à son instinct BESTIAL de destruction de notre HUMANITÉ.
Et pour cause, ses finalités sont la cupidité, le marché et l’illusion populiste; nous sommes à des années-lumière de la finalité HUMAINE.
Les affidés de la BÊTE IMPÉRIALISTE OCCIDENTALE WASHINGTONIENNE sont inaptes à assumer leur HUMANITÉ, et incapables d’en assurer la sécurité et la survie.
Tant et aussi longtemps que la constitution et les institutions de Washington ne seront pas totalement rejetées du revers de la main, le fascisme, le militarisme, le racisme, l’affairisme, le cléricalisme, le libéralisme, le nombrilisme et le féodalisme économico-politique resteront à demeure dans cet État voyou, criminel, barbare, tueur, assassin et meurtrier washingtonien. Il en est de même pour son État voisin canadian.
La Russie est en légitime défense, situation provoquée par les affidés de la BÊTE IMPÉRIALISTE OCCIDENTALE WASHINGTONIENNE.
Oui. Ces décisions de la part de politiques affidés comme vous dites à Washington (il vaut mieux dire peut-être au pétro-capital anglo-américain) ne bénéficieront d’aucune manière au peuples de leurs pays. C’est pourquoi on a eu tort de laisser un Macron au pouvoir en France. Il a dit naguère du mal de l’OTAN, mais là on voit dans ses actes de quoi il est réellement fait.
It would have been Macrons job to secure the implementation of the Minsk accords. He did not.
This made his claims to be the big negotiater, being on the phone with Putin and Zelenskyj all day, look silly.