Sunday, August 16, 2015

Not NATO-Worthy

Sweden's military is a joke, and NATO shouldn't consider Sweden for membership until Sweden can be a provider rather than a consumer of military security.

Sweden used to have a potent military to defend their neutrality. No more:

A couple of decades ago, Sweden had a strong military. Its air force was one of the capable in the world, its navy had dozens of ships and submarines, and artillery guarded the coastlines from a multitude of secret mountain hideaways.

Now, after a number of fatal decisions, based on the belief that wars in Europe were a thing of the past, most of its military is gone and Sweden has virtually no means of protecting itself.

According to Sweden's Supreme Commander Sverker Göransson, we can, at best and in five years, defend ourselves in one place for one week.

It would be good to have Sweden in NATO--if they had the military of a couple decades ago.

The funny thing is, Sweden's military placed the dumbest bet in history: they bet that if they cut defenses they could use the funds saved to build a new more relevant Swedish military in the post-Soviet era:

The highest military leaders in the country were convinced that the threat of invasion was all in the past, and that the country's defenses could therefore be shut down. They convinced the politicians that a complete military makeover was the right thing to do; they wanted a "pause" and to come back in ten years -- more modern and stronger than ever.

We now know what happened. "Half of the transformation went very well," Wilhelm Agrell states. "The dismantling of the old structure."

Now that the Russian Bear is back, the Swedish military is unable to "snap back." Huh.

Do read the whole thing about how Sweden got to this point in time.

This really might be Sweden's best defense today.

So would Sweden be a solid ally today? No. I wouldn't let Sweden in NATO since NATO's already inadequate military power would have to defend Sweden from Russia.

Perhaps if Sweden made an effort to seriously defend Gotland Island in the Baltic to keep Russia from seizing it to screen an invasion of NATO's Baltic members, I'd open up the NATO membership path.

Right now the burden on retaking Gotland would be on the United States Marine Corps.

Note that in that Gotland post, I wasn't mocking the notion that Russia might find it useful to take Gotland if they attack any of the NATO Baltic states.

What I found ridiculous about the scenario in the linked article is that Russia takes Gotland for a better conventional screen for their aggression and then escalates to nuclear weapons to hold the island.

The flaw is that if Russia is willing to escalate to nukes, they'd be willing to escalate to nukes whether or not they capture Gotland. Gotland is irrelevant in that scenario.

Anyway, Sweden is not NATO-worthy the way they have let their defenses wither away.