NATO chief delusional in his speech: Swedish security expert

Security expert believes the NATO chief’s speech on the inclusion of Sweden and Finland is to reassure scared children

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By: Ayanangsha Maitra | CHENNAI
Updated: 09 January, 2023 8:30 am IST
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg participates in the Folk och Försvar Security Conference

Addressing the Folk och Försvar security conclave in the Swedish town of Sälen on Sunday, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg affirmed the fast inclusion of Finland and Sweden and more security personnel are kept on high alert.

Speaking on the speedy inclusion process of the two Scandinavian nations, the NATO chief said, “This has been the fastest membership process in NATO’s modern history. All NATO allies have signed the accession protocol. 28 out of 30 countries have ratified. I am confident that we will soon be able to warmly welcome you as full members of NATO.”

Howbeit, the intelligentsia circuit in Stockholm as well as the periphery are not much hopeful about Stoltenberg’s comments.

Talking to The New Indian on Stoltenberg’s remarks on Sweden and Finland’s inclusion in NATO, Greg Simons, an Uppsala-based Swedish geo-security analyst, remarked, “Stoltenberg is delusional in his speech. On the one hand, criticise Russia for things that NATO has done and continues to do. On the other hand, the Ukrainian Defence Minister’s recent media revelation that Ukraine is fighting NATO’s war for it and paying with blood, which is why the West must pay with money and weapons.”

“It is what one would expect from a Western official — lots of ideological and political symbolism in it, but little substance. It is a speech to reassure scared children. Of course, Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO is not guaranteed, as they have not and cannot meet Turkey’s demands on passing their entry into the alliance.”

While addressing the conclave, Jens Stoltenberg, the 63-year-old Norwegian politician-turned security-umbrella honcho, called for increased support for Ukraine and cautioned not to underestimate Russia. He went on to say that Russia hasn’t changed its ambition. In his view, the inclusion of the duo will warm up NATO’s tentacles in the Nordic region, the Baltic region and Europe in general.

The NATO chief mentioned that Sweden and Finland are already integrated into the military cooperation of NATO. Finland and Sweden concluded accession talks earlier at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels in July 2022.

“It is inconceivable that NATO would not act if the security of Sweden and Finland were threatened. It is dangerous to underestimate Russia. It also has major consequences for security in the Nordic region. It is therefore rewarding that Sweden and Finland are now becoming members of NATO,” Jens Stoltenberg asserted.

“This is not to provoke a conflict, but to prevent the war in Ukraine from becoming a full-blown war between NATO and Russia,” he clarified during the security conclave on Sunday.

“At NATO, we also had precise intelligence about the build-up of Russian forces along the border and their concrete plans. We made this information public and warned about a possible invasion for months. We repeatedly made significant political and diplomatic efforts to prevent war. But President Putin still chose to attack,” Jens Stoltenberg said.

On the sidelines of the Folk och Försvar Security Conference in Sälen, Jens Stoltenberg called on Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, the foreign as well as defence ministers, and the leader of the opposition, Magdalena Andersson.

In a separate development, KFOR, NATO’s security arm in Kosovo, turned down a plea from Serbia to deploy about 1000 additional security personnel to Kosovo amid a spat between Serbia and Kosovo.

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