Must Sweden prepare for war?

With reference to Sweden's planned accession to Nato and the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Swedish Commander-in-Chief Micael Bydén and Civil Defence Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin have called on the Swedes to prepare for a potential war. Practical action must be taken, Bohlin stressed at the Annual National Defence Conference. Commentators share their concern.

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Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

Being ready does not mean being afraid

Those who panic now have misunderstood the message, Göteborgs-Posten writes:

“The risk of Sweden being drawn into a war has increased, but ultimately remains minimal. ... Being prepared for war is not the same as being afraid of war - but quite the opposite. It is an invitation to rethink one's own situation and one's own role in a war or crisis situation. ... Even the most malevolent are reluctant to start a war if defeat is to be expected. And on an individual level, mental preparation for war and crises can help to rule out the worst-case scenarios - in which panic is often the greatest enemy.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Learn from our neighbour

Berlingske praises Sweden for its prudence and bemoans the lack of such commitment in Denmark:

“The threat emanating from Russia is not confined to Ukraine - the whole of Europe and perhaps Scandinavia in particular are in the danger zone. ... If the worst were to happen, Denmark would in principle find itself in an appalling situation without functioning defence mechanisms or a sufficiently prepared civil population. ... We need to think more long term, like the Swedes. We have a demoralised military, with mouldy barracks. ... But unfortunately the seriousness of the situation is not being responded to with a plan that could provide security.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Focus on deterrence

Writing in Neatkarīgā, journalist Bens Latkovskis asks how war can be prevented:

“There is only one answer. The only way to prevent war is to make it clear to the potential aggressor that we are not going to back down, and will respond with a strong, deadly counterattack. ... We must prepare for war individually and collectively. Up to now we have failed to learn from history, and so far there is no reason to believe that this time will be any different. Even if I would like to hope that I am wrong.”