[NOTE: These two short columns offer an admirable review of two key moments in the impact of Putin’s Ukraine invasion on my own thinking.
When I imagined these countries as actual places (which, I admit, wasn’t often), my speculation was that they held to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” stance vis-a-vis the USSR/Russia on one side, and the West, which meant the US-NATO war machine on the other.
In a nuclear “exchange” between these two behemoths, northern Scandinavians, whatever their political notions, would likely go up in the planetary puff of smoke.
That idea was crude, tho probably not entirely wrong. But what about a big, but not-(yet)apocalyptic war, in which one behemoth invaded a nearby country, in a retro-style imperial power grab?
Such a scheme seemed unlikely, outlandish: it was so twentieth (or even nineteenth) century, totally antique.
But then, that’s the big war the Swedes and Finns suddenly faced.
Even many experts weren’t expecting it. Gwynne Dyer wasn’t, and his doctorate is in military studies, and he’s been observing/reporting on militaries and wars for decades.
Nor were Dyer and Co. expecting what happened next: the powerful Ukrainian resistance — and the radical response in northern Scandinavia.
Not being any kind of expert, I wasn’t expecting any of this either. But of the two, the leap out of 275 years of neutrality into NATO was the bigger shock to my thinking (doubtless this reflects my safe “social location”; it would have felt very different if I was in a Kyiv or Mariupol cellar, with Russian artillery shells falling all around).
Dyer reacted quickly. These two columns, from late last spring make all sort of sense of the Sweden/Finland move. They’re not “news” now, but they show how, almost overnight, both the rulers and citizens there woke up, with their world shaking, and realized they weren’t neutral anymore. It also explains much of why I woke up late last February, and found I wasn’t neutral either. I join with those who want Ukraine to be free.]Two Columns by Gwynne Dyer
Farewell Neutrality: Sweden and Finland
By Gwynne Dyer
16 May 2022
It’s easy to imagine Vladimir Putin coming into the shop marked ‘Sweden’, breaking some fine china accidentally on purpose, and growling: ‘Nice little shop you’ve got here. It would be a pity if something happened to it.’
But Sweden is not a pottery shop, Putin is not a Mafia capo, and what’s going on in the Baltic now is not a protection racket. Continue reading Sweden, Finland, NATO, Neutrals & Nukes: A Concise Analysis