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New Research Division Publication -
Closing Sweden's Military Security Deficit: the National Debate on NATO Membership

  • 14 Mar. 2018
  • |
  • Last updated: 02 Oct. 2018 09:41

Research Paper 144

Dear Reader,

The security architecture of Northern Europe is changing rapidly, with various cooperation arrangements being strengthened or formed to link states in bilateral and group configurations.

In official reports and statements, Swedish representatives attribute the deterioration in the security environment in Northern Europe to the aggressive behavior of Russia, and Russian disregard for previously accepted international and European norms and rules. Sweden has only recently begun to implement a programme of military reform and modernization as an appropriate response to perceived Russian intimidations. However, the country is not a member of the one organization that can promise collective defense: NATO. Whether other cooperation frameworks can close the deficit is the most contested aspect of the current Swedish security discourse. While the Swedish political establishment generally strives for consensus on defence matters, there are indications that the issue of relations with NATO could become a point of contention in the 2018 General Election.

We hope you enjoy reading this paper on one of NATO's closest partners and one linked to strategic issues on the Alliance's northern flank.


Jeffrey A. Larsen, PhD, Director Research Division

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