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comment by wonton
wonton  ·  832 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: America, welcome to the war

Your comment reminded me of this article I read a couple of weeks back, it does a great job of explaining Sweden and Finlands relationship to NATO and Russia.

    For both Sweden and Finland, it is of vital interest that NATO is successful in its reassurance and defense of the Baltic states. Analysis from the Swedish Defense Research Agency show the region surrounding the Baltic Sea as one theater of operations in the event of war. This view is also reflected in the Swedish Parliamentary Defense Commission’s reports since 2007 onward, which state that it is impossible to foresee a military conflict in the Nordic region that would only affect one of the countries. The close operational interdependency of the region is also one of the reasons why the Sweden and Finland are invited to the NATO Warsaw summit. The Swedish island of Gotland, located in the middle of the Baltic Sea, has throughout the centuries been strategically important terrain and remains so today. As a result of Russia’s anti-access/area-denial dome over Kaliningrad, NATO lines of communications to reinforce the Baltic states are pushed northward. As shown by several analyses and simulations (see also the criticism), NATO would need to use bases in Sweden to defend the Baltic states. Likewise, Finland dominates the Gulf of Finland, which constitutes Russia’s maritime and airborne access route to the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad.

    For Sweden, one of the first wake-up calls of a resurgent Russia was the simulated nuclear attack on Sweden by Russian bombers on the night of Easter Friday in 2013. Both Finland and Sweden have since signed host-nation support agreements with NATO to speed up the process of hosting NATO forces when needed. So why don’t Sweden and Finland just join NATO? Both countries have been very active partners of NATO for many years and are in many respects more NATO-interoperable than several NATO members. For instance, both countries participate in the NATO Response Force and both regularly participate in major NATO exercises and operations.

    The reason for not joining is partly a question about identity. Both countries have strong public narratives that support non-alignment and even neutrality, even though public support for NATO membership has increased during the last few years, especially in Sweden. Both countries also understand that it would be advantageous to apply at the same time to avoid provoking a stronger Russian reaction. When Finland signed established its host-nation support agreement with NATO in 2014, it passed smoothly, without outside influence. Yet in Sweden, Russia tried to influence the debate of ratification of the agreement, according to the Swedish security service.