Sweden Can’t Defend Itself

Check this out:

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.

And:

So how do Swedish politicians imagine defending the country if the Russians get it into their heads to, say, invade Gotland?

The island in the Baltic Sea is a strategically important outpost, close to the Baltic countries, which are all members of NATO. Joining NATO never appealed to Swedish politicians, but in 2009, the Swedish Parliament suddenly announced a “declaration of solidarity” with the EU. It reads:

“Sweden will not remain passive if a disaster or attack should hit another member state, or Nordic country. We expect other countries to act the same way if Sweden is hit. Our country will thus give and receive support, civilian as well as military.”

Given that NATO is essentially the USA, it is interesting to note how the secular Gnutopia we often hear about depends on the American military to survive.

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20 Responses to Sweden Can’t Defend Itself

  1. Kevin says:

    And that’s the heart of the matter. The US could dedicate it’s entire defense budget to social safety nets and make America a progressive gnutopia, and then the predators would take over immediately. Secular paradises exist only in the shadow of the American military, yet they are usually the first to criticize America for its defense spending.

  2. Bilbo says:

    I challenge the assertion that NATO is essentially the USA.

    http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_67655.htm

    I also challenge the assertion that there is a dilemma between providing a strong social safety net and a strong military. I suggest that taxing the wealthy at higher levels would eliminate whatever apparent dilemma might exist.

  3. Syllabus says:

    I suggest that taxing the wealthy at higher levels would eliminate whatever apparent dilemma might exist.

    I doubt it. If you mean an income tax, well, there are many ways to generate wealth for oneself without it counting as income (which, incidentally, is why Warren Buffett’s secretary had a higher income tax bracket than he, IIRC). If you mean a tax on all liquid assets, I still doubt that would do anything significant, even if you stepped from the richest CEOs and so forth to taxing – hell, even removing completely – the liquid assets of most major corporations.

    Why is this? Well, combining discretionary and mandatory spending, military spending accounts for ~15.88% of the federal budget, while Medicare and health spending alone accounts for ~27.42%, and SS, labour, and unemployment spending accounts for a further ~33.26%. So “social safety net” accounts for over 3x the federal budget expenditures that military spending does, at ~61% of the entirety of the federal budget, or ~$2,318,000,000,000 in total. This is larger than the entirety of tax revenue, which sits at ~$2,050,000,000,000. (And this is probably a conservative estimate, since this doesn’t account for spending on state- or local-level welfare programs.)

    Given that we spend more on entitlement programs than we actually collect in gross tax revenue, I doubt that we could make any significant entitlement improvements by taxing the wealthiest income quintile more, even if we included a complete tax (in less euphemistic terms, if we completely stole all the liquid assets of all the richest 1% and all the most wealthy corporations). At most, this would allow us to spend more on entitlement programs for one or two years, since those liquid assets are gone, poof, caput.

    But, I mean, if you’ve got another idea that doesn’t involve actually stealing money from people, I’m all ears.

  4. Kevin Stuart Lee says:

    The page Bilbo linked states that 73% of the defense spending as a whole is covered by the U.S., with 50% of the remainder covered by France, Germany and the UK. It laments the over-reliance of the European allies on France, Germany and Great Britain, and the over-reliance of the alliance as a whole on the United States for defense. NATO has 28 member states, and 24 of them are contributing 13.5% of the defense costs. Now, the page makes clear that the defense costs are not synonymous with the organization’s total operating costs, which presumably is where the other members help out. Moreover, NATO began as a defense pact among western European nations and the U.S. was brought in later. However, NATO is a military organization with collective defense as its prime objective. Defense spending is the heart and soul of such an organization, around which the rest of the structure is built. Without its heart, there is no NATO. In such a situation, contributing to the group’s clubhouse in Brussels doesn’t carry the same weight as providing it missiles and air defense infrastructure. It helps, but it’s not the essence of the organization. In addition, the founding European states brought in the U.S. precisely because they knew it was the only effective counterweight to the Soviet Union. Sure they could have gone it by themselves, but they would appear rather a paper tiger without the credible teeth of the U.S. Without those, NATO would lose a crippling degree of effective punch. As such, I agree with Mike that, yes, NATO is essentially the U.S. It is the undeniable animating force behind what NATO is. De Gaulle nearly broke up the organization over that.

    Now, not every member state can and will contribute to NATO’s defense budget at American levels. No one’s expecting that out of Albania or Croatia. However, the fact remains that Sweden’s fellow Scandinavian countries who are NATO members – Norway, Denmark and Iceland – are contributing comparatively little. To bring the issue back to what I think is this post’s focus, I would argue that short-shrifting defense on the assumption that territorial wars are a thing of the past is a symptom of the same leftist, secular worldview regnant in Scandinavian countries so idealized by the gnus. A comparable worldview is thriving in Canada, where I live, another wealthy NATO member that is contributing little to defense. This country has been asleep at the switch since Pearson. Canada is another good example of a country whose “progressive” dreams and “values” can only exist in the shadow cast by the American defense umbrella.

    Syllabus did an excellent job outlining the weakness of Bilbo’s proposed fix to the first Kevin’s proposed dilemma. This isn’t a national revenue problem, but a priorities problem. Regarding Sweden, its progressive income tax can go up to 60% of your total income if the Guardian piece I got the figure from is accurate. They are getting plenty of money, clearly enough to sport their social safety nets and a fine military up until the recent past. Their priorities however dictated against maintaining the latter. Unless you’ve gone too far down the Laffer Curve, raising taxes simply provides more money. It says nothing about where the state puts that money. National priorities dictate that, and for the U.S., but not for Sweden as of late, a healthy national defense is a priority.

  5. Bilbo says:

    The 73% figure is a comparison of how much the US spends on its total defense budget compared to Europe, not to how much it contributes to NATO. It contributes 22% of the NATO budget. True, if Europe continues its current insane austerity program, its economy will continue to collapse and bankrupt even more European countries. Let’s hope they come to their senses.

    As to ways of raising revenue here in the US: http://www.sanders.senate.gov/top10

    “Stealing”? I guess anyone can make the claim that the government collecting taxes from anyone is “stealing.” The question is whether the “stealing” is fair. In a country where the top 0.01% of the population almost as much as the bottom 90%, I think the case for Robin Hood can reasonably be made. http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2015/jul/29/bernie-s/bernie-sanders-madison-claims-top-01-americans-hav/

  6. Kevin says:

    Leftists generally lose me the second they say “fair share” since they invariably fail to explain how we know what a fair share is and why it is indeed fair. It’s a buzzword phrase like “war on women” that in of itself means nothing.

    I fail to see how austerity measures are bad in the long term since eternal deficit spending is unsustainable.

  7. Syllabus says:

    I could go through Sanders’ proposals one by one, but the problem is that he’s not showing his work. He asserts that all of these things — increasing capital gains tax rates, establishing a severe inheritance tax — would raise the budget by, in case you missed it, relatively minor amounts over the course of a decade or so; the entire sum of the proposed budget modifications (not counting the ones he claims will decrease the deficit (though I’ll at least hand it to him that he cares about slashing the deficit)) would add ~$1,993,000,000,000 over the next 10 years, and we blow through over $300,000,000,000 more than that every year in entitlement spending. So I’m very sceptical of the proposition that doing what he says would make much of a dent in how entitlements are currently handled or make them better.

    And that’s assuming that every single thing he proposes there is correct and would work out exactly as he says — that is, that no incentives change over the 10 years, that there are no adverse offsetting economic effects that come with those tax code changes, that we develop no new expenditures in the interim, and so forth. He’s given, or his website at any rate has given, absolutely no figures or calculations that would support the conclusions, nor has it presented tables or figures from which these hypothetical calculations were made. So I’m taking them with a massive grain of salt.

    This of course leaves out an enormously glaring question: if one asserts that we ought to be doing more about social safety net programs, and we’re already spending truly gargantuan amounts of money on those sorts of things (>60% of the budget, both discretionary and mandatory), what would be the projected amount of money that would bring entitlement spending to a reasonable level? If I grant that we’re not doing enough in the way of helping the least fortunate, elderly, and sick in our society — a proposition of which I’m not at all convinced — then is increasing the amount of money we spend on that line item the best solution to it? If we’re already ostensibly throwing >$2,000,000,000,000 at it and that’s not enough, wouldn’t it be time to assess what we’re already doing and see if we can’t do more or the same amount of stuff in a more efficient or different way? Well, I mean, we could, but since many of the entitlement programs (SNAP, for example) are effectively partial state subsidizations of major companies like Wal-Mart and Kraft, and because much of the re-evaluation of those line items would involve reassessing public sector employment payrolls, along with stuff like pensions, and that doesn’t sit terribly well with public-sector lobbyists, that would be politically difficult.

    Aside from which, you need to come up with a definition of “their fair share” that isn’t some equivalent of “eat the rich” or “the rich should be able to be turned to by the state at whim to subsidize a certain program”, and which actually involves some sort of principle; otherwise it is, in fact, robbery, given the state’s monopoly on force. Taxes in se aren’t theft, but tax brackets which are subject to the whim of the state or the mob, and which allow no recourse other than yielding or else imprisonment, are effectively robbery as far as I can see.

  8. Kevin Stuart Lee says:

    Ah yes, I misread that. Thanks for catching and correcting that.

  9. TFBW says:

    Ah, 2015, when we thought that the biggest threat to Sweden was hostile foreign invasion. Not even two years later, and the big problems are migrant-dominated no-go zones, plummeting police morale, and rumblings of possible civil war. Gnutopia at its finest.

  10. Talon says:

    I’d be leery of taking Breitbart as a credible source on so called no-go zones. The term “No-go zone” stems from a misunderstanding about the classification of those poverty stricken areas and the goals in doing so. No-go zones are economically vulnerable areas with increased crime and while they do have higher risk for radicalization, few are dominated by migrants, mostly drug and other criminal gangs which have plagued Sweden for a few decades. Police, postal and emergency services take special precautions when entering these areas and residents are reluctant to report crimes, frightened of reprisals. These “No-go zones” appear more like an American urban ghetto afflicted by ethnic tension and narcotics trafficking than a population the grip of Sharia Law and Islamic Terror.

    http://www.newsweek.com/sweden-police-vulnerable-areas-no-go-zones-628029
    https://www.thelocal.se/20170621/no-go-zones-what-you-need-to-know-about-swedens-vulnerable-aeas
    https://www.thelocal.se/20150319/sweden-has-had-gang-problems-since-1990s
    https://www.thelocal.se/20170607/heres-how-one-of-swedens-roughest-areas-edged-out-its-drug-gangs-seved-malmo-crime

    Still, it appears the reputation of Sweden as some enlightened secular/atheist paradise is greatly exaggerated, afflicted by similar poverty, drugs and violence to that present in the “backward” America. Secularization doesn’t appear to have conferred any real benefit to the Swedish people.

  11. TFBW says:

    Still, it appears the reputation of Sweden as some enlightened secular/atheist paradise is greatly exaggerated …

    And socialist, too — not that it’s super-relevant. Look, I don’t want to overstate the “no go zone” thing — the place is not a war zone (yet) — but there are some real problems there, and the crime stats bear testament to the fact that some of this is attributable to the recent (2015) major influx of migrants. It seems that the root of it all is not secularisation as such, or immigrants as such, or even Islam as such, but rather a pathological fear of racism. They don’t talk about the issues, because the facts point to the immigrants being the cause of certain increases in certain kinds of crime, and there is an underlying fear that if this is discussed openly, then race hate will flare up. This skews the entire society towards virtue signalling their concern and tolerance for migrants, and projecting ire towards anything critical of other races — or even pro-Swedish. The following ad illustrates the extent of this fairly clearly, I think.

    The short version is that Sweden is plagued by political correctness, and it’s causing them to ignore real issues and unwittingly exacerbate the underlying problems in so doing. The link between this and the rise in secularism is not at all obvious, but I think it primarily has to do with a rejection of the Judeo-Christian model of human nature. In some sense, rampant political correctness emerges from a model of human nature which supposes that most people are basically good, and so long as the enlightened ones keep a lid on things, everything will be fine. That’s probably not how the self-appointed enlightened ones would describe it, of course.

    If anyone’s interested, I’ll post another video of a Swedish psychologist talking about these issues, since he speaks on the subject in a far more informed manner than I could hope to do.

  12. Talon says:

    I think part of the issue is that Sweden also has radicalized neo-Nazis who are happy to target immigrants and activists with explosives, so it is perhaps understandable that authorities don’t label them as “most likely to rape”. It may not be just a matter of “not hurting someone’s feelings” but an attempt to prevent escalation of violence with yet more terrorism and death. Efforts to avoid blaming immigrant populations (rather than individuals or gangs) for crime doesn’t seem so unreasonable in that light. Some newspapers have attributed sudden increases in a specific crime to specific refugee groups such as young Afghani males and public groping of women and as far as I can tell, such journalists have not been labeled racist by the Swedish government.

    https://www.thelocal.se/20160629/swedish-police-to-hand-out-anti-groping-armbands
    https://www.thelocal.se/20170609/gothenburg-sweden-two-men-charged-over-refugee-home-bomb-attack-received-military-training-in-russia

    How does one balance such concerns? On one hand you have citizens who are reporting increases in crime by refugees and on the other you have refugees and natives alike being targeted by neo-Nazis who feel the time for talk is over and more violence is needed. I think the Swedes downplay both, they debate if such bombings by Nazis are terrorism (of course they are!) and avoid associating ME/Islamic culture with the disrespectful attitudes of some migrants toward women. The Swedes themselves disagree about where just criticism of migrants ends and racism begins but I don’t think dialogue has ended.

  13. FZM says:

    TFBW,

    They don’t talk about the issues, because the facts point to the immigrants being the cause of certain increases in certain kinds of crime, and there is an underlying fear that if this is discussed openly, then race hate will flare up.

    I don’t think this kind of problem is just limited to Sweden.

    In the past when debates have arisen about mass immigration in the mainstream media in the UK, I’ve wondered if a lot of people feel some kind of inhibition about examining the bad/negative aspects of it (or the weaknesses and flaws in the case for it) for this reason. Then there is a problem if ignoring or refusing to look at the bad sides of high levels of immigration because of a fear of stimulating hate and prejudice against immigrants already present in a country feeds into decisions about future immigration policy.

  14. TFBW says:

    The “neo-Nazi” thing is probably true to a limited extent, but overblown. It’s a label that’s thrown around far too readily as a shaming and silencing tactic, because nobody wants to be called a Nazi. Heck, if you are branded “far right” you can easily loose your job and friends, as people hasten to distance themselves from you. It’s the political correctness thing again. This exacerbates the problem because, deprived of the ability to voice their grievances in public, some people will resort to violence in secret instead. After all, if people are going to call you a Nazi, then there comes a “what the hell” point where you may as well act like one.

    Here’s that interview with a Swedish psychologist I mentioned last time. This person wished to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions, and the voice-masking (plus accent) might make it hard to understand. It has captions, however, so activate them if you need them.

  15. TFBW says:

    @FZM: “I don’t think this kind of problem is just limited to Sweden.”

    It’s not, but western Europe seems to be on the leading edge of the problem.

  16. FZM says:

    talon,

    I think part of the issue is that Sweden also has radicalized neo-Nazis who are happy to target immigrants and activists with explosives, so it is perhaps understandable that authorities don’t label them as “most likely to rape”.

    This poses a dilemma. If there is good evidence that immigrants are more likely to commit rapes and other crimes, but it has to be concealed from the public in case it stimulates neo-Nazis (or leads people to believe that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes and therefore reflects badly on certain kinds of pro-immigration polices?) that is problematic in a democracy.

    Should the police themselves take account of this data in how they choose to target resources and their policing efforts? As far as the violent Neo-Nazis go, controlling them and preventing them launching attacks should be one of the responsibilities of the police, if the police are incapable of doing this effectively (as a result of sympathy with the Neo-Nazis or incapacity?) then you do have a problem.

  17. Talon says:

    FZM

    This poses a dilemma. If there is good evidence that immigrants are more likely to commit rapes and other crimes, but it has to be concealed from the public in case it stimulates neo-Nazis (or leads people to believe that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes and therefore reflects badly on certain kinds of pro-immigration polices?) that is problematic in a democracy.

    Are authorities actually concealing it from the public though? Or are they just not talking about it loudly enough for some individuals? Are they refusing to admit that any immigrants have committed crimes or are they hesitant to publicly label an entire somewhat vaguely defined group as criminals? Are all immigrants rapists? No? Then why label “immigrants” as likely rapists when only x percent of them are likely to commit such crimes?

    Should the police themselves take account of this data in how they choose to target resources and their policing efforts? As far as the violent Neo-Nazis go, controlling them and preventing them launching attacks should be one of the responsibilities of the police, if the police are incapable of doing this effectively (as a result of sympathy with the Neo-Nazis or incapacity?) then you do have a problem.

    The police do take account of such data, if you reference one of the previous links I posted they do put extra police resources into high crime areas (so called No-go zones) including those containing immigrants. Police also support public awareness campaigns about sexual assaults targeting vulnerable areas or public events where such crimes are more likely to occur. The police are probably partially responsible for catching violent Nazis, but I suspect the government may become involved when the perpetrators use explosives as in the previously mentioned Nazi bombing of a refugee home. This may be part of the reason they do not make a fuss about criminal immigrants, why help neo-Nazis gather the recruits needed to become a larger problem, forcing them to commit more resources to fighting them?

    My take is that the Swedish authorities do not single out immigrant groups for public criminal denouncement is that it would create more problems than it would solve. We approach the discussion mostly from the perspective of it affecting immigration policy, but the Swedish authorities must take other considerations into account, such that adopting policies which encourage public fear of immigrants, increase white nationalist recruitment (also a problem in the rest of Europe) and slow integration would be irresponsible. I suspect policy is more concerned with statistics than adopting/rejecting a specifically Judaeo-Christian view of human nature. Rather than believe that people are basically good, it appears they accept that people, even native-born citizens, are subject to making bad or downright criminal choices out of fear or resentment and structure policy in such a way as to minimize risks.

  18. TFBW says:

    @Talon:

    Are authorities actually concealing it from the public though? Or are they just not talking about it loudly enough for some individuals?

    Not so much concealing it as ignoring it, apparently. From an official government source:

    The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention has conducted two studies into the representation of people from foreign backgrounds among crime suspects, the most recent in 2005.

    2005 is a long time ago. There was a big increase in the rate of immigration at that time, and another large increase a couple of years ago. The country’s demographics have skewed accordingly, particularly in the “no go” zones. Integration is a problem. Even if the crime rate is attributable to unemployment rather than religion or ethnicity, what sort of result do you expect when you import masses of third-world people who don’t even speak the local language? It’s no surprise that Sweden is a contender for the top spot in terms of unemployment rate gap between locals and immigrants.

    My take is that the Swedish authorities do not single out immigrant groups for public criminal denouncement is that it would create more problems than it would solve.

    My take is that the government is committed to a policy of massive immigration for some reason (whether it’s economic theory, globalist ideology, or pathological altruism at root), and they protect that policy by scare-mongering about Nazis if anyone suggests it might be a bad idea. They don’t need data, because accusations of racism are having the desired effect. Such an approach makes reasoned debate about the issues impossible, however, and that’s a very bad thing.

  19. FZM says:

    Talon,

    Are authorities actually concealing it from the public though? Or are they just not talking about it loudly enough for some individuals? Are they refusing to admit that any immigrants have committed crimes or are they hesitant to publicly label an entire somewhat vaguely defined group as criminals? Are all immigrants rapists? No? Then why label “immigrants” as likely rapists when only x percent of them are likely to commit such crimes?

    I don’t know if they are concealing or actively downplaying things, that’s why I wrote: ‘If there is good evidence that immigrants are more likely to commit rapes and other crimes…’

    From what TFBW posted, maybe it is actually the case that relevant data is being, if not actively concealed, ignored or not collected.

    If crime statistics show that particular immigrant groups are x times more likely to commit a particular category of offences than natives, it should be possible to state that imigrants are x times more likely to commit a particular category of offences than natives, according to the data.

    I suspect policy is more concerned with statistics than adopting/rejecting a specifically Judaeo-Christian view of human nature. Rather than believe that people are basically good, it appears they accept that people, even native-born citizens, are subject to making bad or downright criminal choices out of fear or resentment and structure policy in such a way as to minimize risks.

    This may highlight a problem:

    Supposing that when examining and discussing the issue of immigration and what policies to adopt surrounding it, the Swedish authorities, mass media and society in general is assumed to have a strong duty to take into account:

    The need to avoid policies and commentary which encourages public fear of immigrants; the need to avoid increasing white nationalist recruitment; the need to avoid anything that might ‘slow’ or hinder integration.

    This requires adopting a specific view of human nature in which people are basically very good (and immigrants maybe even better and valuable than natives), regardless of what any statistics or data might suggest.

    This has to be maintained because if it isn’t people, especially native born citizens, might be subject to making bad or downright criminal choices out of fear or resentment (even if this has a basis in data).

    Policy and discussion needs to be structured around the idea that immigration is overwhelmingly positive or beneficial for Swedish society, because any other policy would be fearmongering, inspire prejudice etc.

    Since all policy and discussion concludes that immigration is overwhelmingly positive, a high level of immigration obviously needs to be maintained.

  20. TFBW says:

    In further news of Sweden’s institutional aversion to identifying the ethnicity of criminals, police in Stockholm are now instructed to refrain from describing suspects’ race and nationality, because doing so makes them look racist. If the facts make you look racist, it says something about the facts.

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