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US, Sweden and Finland Boost Military Cooperation to Form New Alliance

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US, Sweden and Finland Boost Military Cooperation to Form New Alliance

Written by Alex Gorka; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

The US, Swedish, and Finnish defense ministers signed a trilateral Statement of Intent (SOI) to expand defense cooperation on all fronts. The signing ceremony took place in Washington on May 8. In 2016, the two Scandinavian nations finalized separate defense SOIs with America. Now they have signed a joint document to unify those previous agreements and enhance their interoperability.

The Scandinavian visitors claimed this was just a starting point for a more mature relationship. The agreement emphasizes the countries’ combined joint exercises and streamlines the procedures that have been established to manage them.

Other issues covered by the SOI include regular trilateral meetings at all levels, the exchange of information (including about weapons systems), increased practical interaction, cooperation in multinational operations, improved communications, and the promotion of the EU-NATO strategic partnership. The latter issue will transform the Scandinavians into a connecting link that will eliminate the chance of any European deterrent that could operate with any real independence from its North American “big brother.”  Washington wants to make sure that the PESCO agreement will not protect Europe’s defense industry from US companies.

Sweden hosted the Aurora military exercise in September 2017, the largest such event on its soil. The US supplied most of the visiting troops. The American military has also taken part in a number of drills in Finland recently. That country will host a large-scale NATO exercise as early as 2020 or 2021. The US has already been invited. The militarization of the Scandinavian Peninsula is moving full speed ahead.

The recently signed SOI actually transforms the bilateral agreements into enhanced trilateral cooperation.  For Stockholm and Helsinki, joining NATO is not an option for domestic political reasons. At least not for now. Instead, a new US-led defense alliance has emerged.

The increased tempo of exercises anticipates a larger US presence. It has far-reaching implications. With American military personnel rotating in and out of Sweden and Finland, any offensive action against one of those states would officially be an attack on a NATO member.  It would trigger a response as envisaged by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Russia considers any American military presence there as provocative. The US is not a Scandinavian country. If an incident took place that resulted in a clash between Russian and US forces, the two Scandinavian nations would be pulled against their will into a conflict they may have nothing to do with. The American soldiers on their soil will never be under the control of their national commands. More US presence means less sovereignty and more risk.

Actually, since they are EU members they don’t even need Article 5, because Article 42.7 of the EU treaty also contains a binding mutual-assistance clause. France invoked it after the 2015 Paris terror attacks.

Last year Sweden and Finland joined the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF).  All other participants in the nine-nation formation are NATO members. It means that in an emergency their armed forces will operate under NATO command, becoming parties to a conflict they could avoid if they were really neutral.   The two also cooperate with Washington through the Northern Group (NG), which consists of 12 countries, although Sweden and Finland are the only non-NATO participants. That organization holds its own dialog with the US. Another venue is the five-nation Nordic Countries group, that includes these two non-aligned members.

In reality, Sweden and Finland have already joined NATO through other groups and agreements.   They did so informally, avoiding referendums and the relevant parliamentary procedures at home. This should be viewed as part of a broader picture. In early April, the first-ever US-Baltic States summit took place in Washington. It was an unprecedented event that somehow was kept out of the media spotlight.

The leaders of NATO’s “frontline states” called for a permanent US military presence in the region. They want that to be much larger than just American participation in multinational battalions. They are asking for a permanent presence on a much wider scale.  Washington, which already has forces deployed in Norway and Poland, is considering rotating American troops through the Baltic nations as well. Poland and the Baltic states are a focus of NATO’S bellicose preparations. One might as well forget about the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act (1997), which states that no substantial forces should be deployed in the proximity of the borders. That document has already been breached by NATO.

The US guests have provided advice on how to promote American influence (they call it “democracy”) in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, the members of a newly formed anti-Russian alliance. and it’s not just the defense sector. Last year, Lithuania began importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from America. Poland has also built an LNG terminal to expand the shipments of American gas to Europe, which compete with Russia’s energy supplies.

The withdrawal from the Iran deal is not the only time a US position on an issue has been opposed by the leading European nations. There are many more points of disagreement. Old Europe is gradually creating an independent deterrent.  A rift between the EU and the US is deepening. But as one can see, Washington is building another pro-American alliance on the continent. It does not mean it will replace the North Atlantic alliance. Certainly not. On the contrary, it will strengthen the US position in the bloc.

But aside from NATO, Washington also leads an informal alliance of “frontline states” that are intimidated by a nonexistent threat. The idea of the Russia bogeyman is being exploited by the US in order to reach its foreign-policy goals. Northern Europe is being turned into a hornet’s nest, with its good-neighbor policy gradually being replaced with confrontation that benefits the US but makes the region less secure.

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  • Michał Hunicz

    How to smash Finnish CIA-paid trolls – guide written by myself on YouTube (my comment with 335 likes, check my first answer there): https://youtu.be/Pc49Zot93QQ

    • Serious

      I love how Switzerland gives the middle finger to everybody. XD. The power of real democracy.

      • Vitex

        The power of financial hegemony.

      • goingbrokes

        The global financial elites cannot allow Switzerland to become entangled in any alliance whatsoever, that might compromise the security and low profile of the Bank of International Settlements. For better part of a century all criminals have kept their money in Swtizerland. Democracy, puhleez…

    • FlorianGeyer

      I would add that the NATO forces have been degraded in the 21st century due to political meddling with LGBT and gender equality issues.

      Their fighting capability would also be hampered by the plethora of nations involved that have differing priorities.

      The German Army also suffered from such multi national systemic weakness in Russia during WW2.

    • velociraptor

      tales

  • Janne Kankaanpää-Haissoufi

    As a Finn I can say that Finland is not in Nato and if you follow any public polls conducted in Finland, you will find out that only 17% of Finns want to join Nato. That is probably lower, than the same polls in Russia. Any bilateral, or trilateral defence agreement made between Finland and USA is made by government against the will of our people. Finns do not consider Russia a threat to us and regular Finns even were against sanctions on Russia, but on many EU matters they do not ask what we want.

    • goingbrokes

      Like in most western countries, democracy has become a joke that at most involves your local council. Anything beyond that is now in the globalist grasp.

    • JPH

      Goes to show you also can’t control your politicians.

  • Serious

    I though nazis wanted to take over Europe ? XD.

  • Serious

    Americans have written some words in a paper. So, now, they can build military bases in Sweden and Finland. That’s how it works.

    • Janne Kankaanpää-Haissoufi

      USA can never open bases in Finland. Public opposition to such a move would be enormous. It is different thing to write words on paper and to move US base to Finnish soil. Sweden might move to Nato, Finland will not. There are two pro Nato political parties in Finland, ultra right perussuomalaiset and Kokoomus, but people are overwhelmingly against such a move. I would rather eat my left testicle, than Finland to join Nato.

  • Serious

    I’m looking for a group of people to take over the world. First, We will write it on a paper.

    1 – The Universe belongs to us.
    2 – The ones who don’t agree are terrorists.

    We need weapons and the best scientists.

  • Smaug

    The guy writing this is clearly Russian and has a negative view on US intentions. For obvious reasons he fears and misunderstands the expansion of US influence, and he also doesn’t understand MAD. The US and Russia will avoid war with each other at all costs for the same reason (no one wins nuclear war).

    The Baltic States fear that the same thing will happen to them as did to Ukraine and Georgia where more than one local conflict coincided to cause de facto annexations by Moscow. The author of this article should understand that one state’s improvement of security is by necessity another state’s loss. And the expansion or deflation of one superpower’s influence is by necessity a rival superpower’s loss or gain.

    The formation of the trans-Baltic alliance has been going on for 1-2 years and is mostly the strengthening of existing treaties. Lithuania declared itself pro-US, Sweden reintroduced the draft, Denmark is expanding it’s armed forces, etc. All this said, by decisively committing to a side these nations are becoming more stable, not less.

    • Bob

      ‘…has a negative view on US intentions. For obvious reasons he fears and misunderstands the expansion of US influence…’

      Do you even look at maps? Finland is next door to Russia – as are all the other European countries the US actively seeks to station their troops and missiles in, running all the down Russia’s western border to Romania. This is naked and overt aggression – do you see Russia spending vast sums to establish missile sites in Mexico or Canada pointed directly at US? Err, that would be no.

      • Smaug

        Cuba.
        Clearly you are just as and human biased as everyone else, since you label all expansions of Anglophone influences as ‘aggression’ while the expansion of Russian influence are ‘security measures.’ It has been a pattern of the last couple centuries that either the Baltic states are satellites of Russia or allied with a faraway superpower (like Germany, UK, or US).
        I would like to bring to your attention that Finland in particular has been hostile to Russia since 1918 when the Bolsheviks took over, they even allied with Nazi Germany in order to recapture land lost during the Winter War. Understand, these people WANT a clear US influence in the area, but that does not necessarily mean the US will garrison troops there (that would be ill-advised).

        • A SCova

          Do you mean Guantanamo base?

          • Smaug

            I made a point so you change what I said?

          • as

            Well he made a point that what’s left now in that country certainly isn’t USSR turned Russia military base or missile base or whatever.

        • as

          Anything post cold war cases you can think of ?

        • Bob

          Cuba…that is a bit desperate, and scraping the bottom of the barrel. It was rather a long time ago – way back when Russia was part of the Soviet Union. Incidentally, the Soviet missiles were sent to Cuba as a direct response to the US previously establishing offensive ballistic missile sites in Turkey, and both were removed at the end of the crisis. But do you have anything more recent than 1963 to offer, in contrast to the US establishing contemporary missile sites in Romania – directed directly at Russia? No…?

        • Bob

          ‘…you label all expansions of Anglophone influences as ‘aggression’
          while the expansion of Russian influence are ‘security measures…’

          No, actually it is the US State Department and Pentagon themselves, that have formally issued policy statements in which they define Russia as a primary enemy of the United States – not the other way around. In contrast, you’ll presumably have noted the consistent diplomatic language of the Russian Federation, referring to the US as a western partner.

  • Jeffrey Wildanger

    It;’ s obvious y.all are trollin. Sweden is the country northleft of Finland. Switzerland is the place where Lord Caulk Mayer Redshield and the Pope get naked and play in the money