With the conclusion of the Cold War, Sweden implemented a strategy of containment, but recently Swedish leaders have expressed genuine concerns about Russia’s ever-growing aggression and military actions in the region and elsewhere. As a result, the Swedish defense command has opted to amend the Military Strategy Doctrine.
The Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) handles threats against the country’s sovereignty. Russia is now seen as a possible threat to Sweden’s interests and even its independence. The has led to a change in the Swedish defense strategy and has led to calls for a more aggressive stance to counter any Russian aggression.
In recent years Russia has been seen a pursuing an aggressive foreign policy. They intervened in Georgia (2005), and Ukraine from (2014-present). Their recent intervention in Syria, has also shown that Russia still is a major military power and is not afraid to use force to achieve its strategic goals.
The revision of the Military Strategy Doctrine will lead to an expansion of the Swedish military forces as the country prepares for potential attacks. It will need to establish a framework that would facilitate a deployment of its advanced weapons systems to engage in a sustained and highly coordinated response to outside aggression. This strategy also factors into collaboration with other interests that could be used to resist the Russian forces. Sweden will contemplate working with multinational partners such as the, European Union and NATO forces.
The Parliamentary Defense Committee chairman Allan Widman explained the decision by stating, “We could not continue on a path of depletion in our Armed Forces. We live in more unpredictable times. The old military doctrine was shaped after the last Cold War when Sweden believed that Russia was on the road to becoming a real democracy that would no longer pose a threat to this country.” Based on the actions of Russia over the last couple of years, that country’s intentions have clearly shifted and remain unpredictable.
Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist also weighed in on the justification of this transition in Sweden’s military strategy. Sweden seeks to develop closer military ties with its neighbors. By forming a deeper cooperation among the Nordic nations, a direct response to a possible aggressive Russian action will be possible.
Not surprisingly, the Kremlin has denied any notion that Russia would participate in an attack against NATO or European interests. It has dubbed these accusations outlandish and indicative of media spin. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin last July, released a statement that these rumors were “the kind of thing that only crazy people think, and only when they are dreaming.”
However, the Swedes are still determined to ensure that they are in a position to defend themselves against any threat from Russia.