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What are the reasons why Sweden hasn’t joined NATO?

How does Sweden’s NATO dilemma affect its politics and security? Read our latest narrative that explores the complex factors behind Sweden’s hesitation to join the alliance and how it differs from Finland’s situation 🤔🧨🔒

By InfoPublished 10 months ago 4 min read
Can't Join NATO 🤔🧨🔒

Sweden's Long Road to Joining NATO - Why They're Worth the Wait

Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine has prompted a major shift in European security, with Finland and Sweden abandoning decades of neutrality to pursue NATO membership. But while Finland was swiftly approved, Sweden's admission is stalled.

This article examines the obstacles holding up Sweden's NATO bid, and why securing their place in the alliance is strategically vital. Their advanced military capabilities and intelligence skills would be forcing multipliers in containing further Russian aggression.

Putin's Invasion Backfires as NATO Expands

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed one aim of attacking Ukraine was halting NATO's eastward expansion. Instead, his actions are bringing the alliance right to Russia's doorstep.

Along with Finland, whose rapid ascension became official in early 2023, Sweden is poised to join NATO after over 200 years of neutrality. But unlike its neighbor, Sweden faces lingering roadblocks from current NATO members.

"Putin's efforts to contain NATO have massively failed. Instead, his militaristic efforts in Ukraine have forced many countries to reverse their previous neutral stance," said one analyst.

Bringing Sweden under NATO's protective umbrella will plant a key western bastion in the Baltic region. But objections from Turkey and Hungary have hampered Sweden's application so far.

Overcoming Turkish and Hungarian Resistance

Turkey initially opposed Sweden and Finland's bids, accusing the Nordic states of harboring Kurdish militant groups. But after negotiations, President Erdogan dropped objections to Finland in March 2023.

Sweden has also taken steps to address Turkey's concerns, including extraditing convicted Kurds. After Sweden's foreign minister called Sweden's anti-terror laws insufficient, Erdogan seemed slightly more amenable to their membership.

Hungary remains opposed to admitting the Swedes, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban irked by Sweden's criticism of his authoritarian governance. Orban complains Sweden has an "unfairly damaging opinion" about the state of democracy in Hungary.

Sweden called Orban's Hungary a "hybrid regime with parliamentary autocracy" in a September 2022 EU report. Orban appears unwilling to budge on his anti-Sweden stance. The rest of NATO has limited options to sway him.

Why Sweden is Worth the Wait for NATO 🤔🧨🔒

Why Sweden is Worth the Wait for NATO

Despite the political friction, Sweden would provide major reinforcements for NATO forces in the Baltic region:

  • Advanced fighter jets - Sweden's Saab JAS-39 Gripen is a rugged, versatile 4th generation fighter perfect for defending the Baltics.
  • State-of-the-art submarines - Sweden's stealthy Gotland-class subs are so quiet they 'sunk' a US aircraft carrier in war games.
  • Top anti-tank weapons - The Carl-Gustaf recoilless rifle is a flexible infantry weapon purchased by many NATO members.
  • Sophisticated intelligence - Sweden has honed its counterespionage skills recently against Russian spies and cyberattacks.
  • Strategic geography - Bases on Gotland Island could help control the Baltic Sea and block Russia's navy.

Though limited in manpower, Sweden's high-end capabilities and geography along the Baltic make their inclusion a windfall for NATO. Their membership would complete the Nordic quartet in the alliance alongside Denmark, Norway and Finland.

Integrating Sweden's Military Strengths

While Sweden's military is small, their niche technologies and assets will enhance NATO's defenses:

Saab JAS-39 Gripen - The Ideal Fighter for the Baltics

This advanced 4th generation fighter is perfect for dispersed operations on highways and rural roads. Easy maintenance by small crews enhances flexibility. Analysts tout it as ideal for Ukraine's war with Russia.

Gotland-Class Submarines - Scarily Stealthy

These inexpensive but highly stealthy diesel-electric subs run virtually silent with advanced propulsion. In US Navy war games, Sweden's subs 'sank' a nuclear supercarrier, alarming top brass.

Carl-Gustaf Anti-Tank Rifle - A Versatile Infantry Weapon

With multiple ammo types including bunker-busters and flechettes, NATO members already use this flexible recoilless rifle. It outclasses top Russian armor.

Cutting-Edge Intelligence - Honed Against Russian Spies

Constant Russian espionage efforts have honed Sweden's counterintelligence capabilities. Their international cooperation will aid NATO security services.

Strategic Baltic Bases

Gotland Island's bases can help control access to the Baltic Sea. Combined with mainland locations, Sweden offers vital strategic depth along NATO's northeastern flank.

Sweden and Finland - Shifting the Security Paradigm 🤔🧨🔒

Sweden and Finland - Shifting the Security Paradigm

Russia's gambit to violently seize Ukrainian territory has backfired badly. Instead of limiting NATO, the alliance is expanding directly up to Russia's borders.

Once Sweden joins alongside Finland, a united Nordic front will solidify across the Baltic states. This will massively complicate potential Russian aggression in the sensitive Arctic region.

President Putin is witnessing the very situation he sought to prevent unfold before his eyes thanks to his refusal of diplomacy. Perhaps this expansion into what Russia considers its sphere of influence will give him pause before undertaking similarly disastrous misadventures again.

For Sweden, sacrificing over 200 years of neutrality is no easy decision. But Russia's belligerence forces their hand. NATO will gain a valuable member that boosts defense of northern and eastern Europe.

Sweden has much to offer militarily while bringing unique capabilities to the alliance. Their membership is strategically vital and worth securing despite political grumblings. United against tyranny, NATO will grow stronger.


  • Disclaimer: Images apart from the title image were generated with Bing AI, we always want to entrust our readers are not deceived.


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