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/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.
Why will Sweden and Finland join?
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 US in particular. Sweden’s prime minister, Olof Palme, was murdered – a man who stood for the UN goal of international disarmament, nuclear abolition and the intelligent concept of common security. US ambassadors have held secret meetings with Swedish MP, 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 recognise 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.
• Both countries have moved to be wooed by the US 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% 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% majority came out in favour. (According to the Swedish Svenska Dagbladet daily of May 6, 2022, 48% think that Sweden shall join, but in just one week those who are not sure what to think have increased from 22 to 27%).
Finland’s pro-NATO opinion seems to have grown from 53% in February to 76% in May 2022. It was 19% 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 decision-makers have unified 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 US/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 US 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.
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. *)
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