Editorial: Who prepares us for peace?

The Sweden-NATO relationship

Judging by the NATO Secretary General, Western leaders seem increasingly intent on escalating to an unimaginable full-scale war with Russia. It is a disastrous path that they have embarked on, demonstrating the desperate need to strengthen the voices for long-term solutions based on dialogue and diplomacy rather than on bombs and incitement.

publicerad 17 februari 2024
- av Markus Andersson
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a press conference in Sweden.

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The rhetoric of the Western establishment is becoming more strident and belligerent with each passing month. The propaganda effort to gain public support for a fatal war with Russia seems to be getting more and more intense.

About a month ago, several Swedish leaders declared that Swedes must now “mentally prepare” for war with Russia, while the Minister of Civil Affairs called for “total resistance”.

Similar messages have been conveyed around the same time by European politicians and senior officials in other European countries.

A strong basic preparedness and a defence force that has the capacity to secure the country’s borders is of course nothing strange, but a normal state of affairs in every normally functioning nation state. In the same way, it is of course perfectly natural for most citizens to defend themselves if they are invaded. This could have applied to Sweden as well, had it not been for the fact that our rulers have spent half a century systematically disarming and weakening the Swedish defense.

Now, our hope lies instead with NATO, and NATO alone, it is argued – a military alliance led by a United States that has become far more notorious over the years for its long list of coups and wars of aggression than for thoughtful defense.

The doomsday scenario is getting closer

With NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declaring that citizens must “prepare for a confrontation that could last for decades”, rearm, increase arms production and intensify military support to Ukraine, it is clear that war is seen as the only possible way forward.

The “Russian aggression” risks spreading to Europe, and more countries could be invaded if Ukraine falls, they say. Therefore, Stoltenberg argues, it is necessary to play hardball and for NATO countries to increase militarization in a way not seen since the Cold War.

“NATO does not seek war with Russia”, Stoltenberg promises, but it is not clear what efforts are actually being made to bring about constructive talks, dialogue and a lasting peace in Europe. It is highly unclear whether any such sincere attempts are being made at all, especially when Vladimir Putin himself says that he has had no direct contact even with the US President since the outbreak of the war.

It is perfectly possible to be highly critical of Putin’s actions, the war in Ukraine, and to sincerely regret the immense human suffering it has caused – while at the same time easily realizing that a major European war will benefit no one. Apart from the military-industrial complex and other similar actors in the most obscure corridors of global power politics.

What is clear is that such a war will inevitably lead to millions of dead Europeans, a humanitarian disaster on par with that suffered during World War II – and moreover a situation that potentially risks escalating to the magnitude that one of the parties decides to use a number of the nuclear weapons they have in abundance and which have the potential to actually destroy Europe as we know it.

A doomsday scenario, to be sure, but nevertheless a scenario that is creeping ever closer and has unfortunately become much more likely today than it was five, ten or 20 years ago.

The path of war

The perception in the West seems to be that Russia must be bombarded into submission and that this is the solution to the conflict in the region. Hand in hand with this is the notion that Russia is a ‘no-talk state’. Both of these tenets are incredibly dangerous and drive us closer to a confrontation where no one has anything to gain, except those who actually want Europe, the US and Russia to burn together in an unimaginable inferno.

In today’s Western debate, there is an almost complete absence of serious voices that instead put forward strategies on how to end the fighting and strengthen peace in Europe; voices that are given the space to remind us that dialogue diplomacy is the way forward towards a better world and that it is not in Europe’s interest to “fight to the last European” or to sacrifice its sons, brothers and fathers on the altar of big politics, as the Ukrainian people have already been sacrificed. Unfortunately, our leaders do not seem interested in listening to these increasingly rare voices. The path they have chosen is that of warmongering – and above all that of the United States.

Which parties win in each European country’s parliament also seems to be of limited importance, as most have so far been willing to let their foreign policy be dictated by the US.

The power must again be subordinated to the interests of the people and peace. There is a long way to go, but the only way to get there is to do what we can to be heard and to empower those who have the integrity to say no to the madness, in every possible way. Strengthening and supporting truly independent media is one such way.


Markus Andersson

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