To get into NATO, Sweden and Finland just made a complete sell-out to Türkiye and Washington/Brussels arms-twisting. I believe we are seeing only the beginning of their foreign policy abdication and move toward total obedience to foreign interests.
As a matter of fact, this deal is as sensational as it is significant – but for a reason that has not been highlighted enough.
It is clear that it’s a one-sided a-symmetric agreement: Article by article it tells what Turkey wants and what Finland and Sweden have accepted to do to please Türkiye – a must, of course, because President Erdogan indicated early that he would otherwise not support, or would veto, the two countries’ application for membership.
The Memorandum doesn’t mention human rights even once. The two countries accept Türkiye’s nationalist repression of everything Kurdish. I am absolutely no expert on that conflict but here is an English article on the semi-official Qantara which is related to Deutsche Welle and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs – “Turkey – a Battle of Narratives. For a century, the Kurds and other minorities in Turkey have been subject to state repression…” It gives you the flavour of what Sweden and Finland are getting into with a servile mind.
And of course, we shall all forget Türkiye’s own rampant support to terrorists in Syria and, in particular, to the horrendous destruction of Eastern Aleppo that I happen to know a little about as you may read here.
What has not been highlighted is this: Hidden inside a document mostly about something else, we find an amazing change in Sweden’s arms export policy. For your information, all arms export from Sweden is prohibited; however, when it happens to the – large – extent it does, it is because a special board examines every export request from the arms industry and then lets it go through as an exception to the law!
Now, read carefully Article 7 in the Memorandum:
“Turkiye, Finland and Sweden confirm that now there are no national arms embargoes in place between them. Sweden is changing its national regulatory framework for arms exports in relation to NATO Allies. In future, defence exports from Finland and Sweden will be conducted in line with Alliance solidarity and in accordance with the letter and spirit of article 3 of the Washington Treaty.”
And what does that article 3 in the Treaty state?
“In order more effectively to achieve the objectives of this Treaty, the Parties, separately and jointly, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.”
Then comes the 6th point in the Memorandum’s Article 8:
“Finland and Sweden will ensure that their respective national regulatory frameworks for arms exports enable new commitments to Allies and reflects their status as NATO members.”
That – nice little – change in Swedish foreign policy is explained here in MedyaNews (which describes itself as “a portal that covers the news, events, activities and initiatives of Kurds and other oppressed peoples and presents this news to the international public based on a democratic, ecological, and women-based societal paradigm”):
“The Swedish arms embargo was established in autumn 2019 against Turkey after it launched a military campaign against the Kurdish People’s Defence Units (YPG) in northern Syria. Back then foreign minister Ann Linde said: “Turkey’s actions are irresponsible and contravene international law, risk serious humanitarian consequences and could lead to a resurgence of Daesh [the Islamic State]. The UN Security Council must immediately shoulder its responsibility to avert further escalation, acting with EU partners.”
The Memorandum implies, therefore, that Sweden (and Finland) can/must again deliver weapons to Turkey irrespective of its international law-violating warfare and human rights policies.
But as if this was not enough, the reference to NATO’s 1949 Treaty makes it clear that the two countries have new commitments and their arms export policies “will be conducted in line with Alliance solidarity.“
That is, not only vis-a-vis Türkiye but vis-a-vis all the alliance members.
That solidarity can mean anything in any situation – except one thing: That Sweden can unilaterally decide not to export weapons to NATO members because Sweden disagrees with a certain policy or some other NATO member’s warfare and human rights record. That would be interpreted as being in non-solidarity with the alliance and not living up to its demands.
Some may say that that is, at the end of the day, not a big deal because Sweden is a large arms exporter and has been for decades: For instance, Samo Burja of Bismarck Brief writes it succinctly:
“Despite a relatively small population of just over 10 million people, Sweden is one of the world’s largest exporters of weapons. In 2014, it was the third largest weapons exporter per capita at $53.1 per capita, behind only Israel at $97.7 and Russia at $57.7.2 From 2009 to 2019, it was the world’s ninth largest arms exporter in U.S. dollars with a cumulative value of $14.3 billion.3 In the same time period, it ranked eighth in arms as a percentage of total exports.4
Swedish factories produce not just small arms, but advanced systems like fighter aircraft, missiles, tanks, submarines, corvettes, and air-defense platforms.”
Sweden also exports weapons to many non-NATO countries – e.g. Brasil, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland and Mexico in 2021. However – and that is not unimportant – Sweden could decide as a sovereign state to put an embargo on Türkiye because it disagreed with Turkish foreign policy and military invasion.
Something similar will not be possible for Sweden in NATO.
As I said, this is only the first instance of the huge changes Sweden – and Finland – will have to go through to “perform” as NATO members and achieve complete integration at the price of complete submission.
The last bits and pieces of an independent foreign and security policy will likely soon disappear. And since there was no public debate worthy of democracy in Sweden about the pros and cons of NATO membership (and only 48% in favour of it), the Swedish foreign policy elites will have to increasingly do things behind the scenes and give up whatever is left of a principled and sovereign policy.
And even less will there be a public discussion. Important foreign and security political decisions will be taken more and more in NATO forums like the Madrid Summit and be presented at home to the Swedish people – not the least thanks to politically correct, uncritical mainstream media – as a reasonable price to pay for getting the ‘protection’ of NATO that Sweden has never had before and done very well without.