Joining the West,

Lily Lynch, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Balkanist Magazine.

[…] ‘Having been firmly opposed to any NATO move only weeks ago’, wrote former Swedish Prime Minister turned liberal thinktank groupie Carl Bildt, the political class ‘will now face a contest between an older generation and younger ones looking at the world with fresh eyes.’ […]

It’s not hard to see why business are so invested. Swedish defense industry giant Saab is expecting major profits from NATO membership. The company, whose majority shareholder is the Wallenberg family, has seen its share price nearly double since the Russian invasion. Chief Executive Micael Johansson has said that Sweden’s NATO membership will open new possibilities for Saab in the areas of missile defense and surveillance. The company is expecting dramatic gains as European countries raise their defense spending, and first quarter reports reveal that operating profits have already risen 10% over last year, to $32 million. […]

But the decision to join NATO does not just rely on a hollowed-out discourse of solidarity; it is also presented as a vital act of self-interest – a defensive response to the ‘Russian threat’. In Sweden’s case, we are asked to believe that the country is currently facing greater security risks than during both World Wars, and that the only way to address them is to enter a beefed-up military alliance. Although Russia is supposedly struggling to make headway against a much weaker opponent in Ukraine – unable to hold the capital, hemorrhaging troops and supplies – we are told that it poses an imminent threat to Stockholm and Helsinki. Läs artikel