Sweden opening bases to US military intensifies geopolitical confrontation


China Military Online
Li Jiayao
2024-07-04 21:36:24

By Kong Gang


The Swedish parliament recently approved a defense cooperation agreement that allows the US troops access to all its military bases. This has not only given a military boost to NATO, but will also reshape the regional landscape and aggravate bloc confrontation.


Sweden is a strong military power. Its army has multiple heavy equipment, including the advanced Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank; its air force is equipped with hundreds of aircraft of various types, including fighter jets manufactured by the country itself; and its navy is armed with new types of vessels such as the stealthy Visby class corvettes. Sweden is capable of independently developing its main battle equipment. Its home-made advanced fighter Gripen can take off and land on regular highways in emergencies, and the Gotland Class submarine, the "masterpiece" of the Swedish military industry fitted with the Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) system that supports sustained submerging, boasts good stealth performance and is reputed in the international defense market.


Sweden's accession to NATO will expand NATO's military capacities in North Europe, squeeze Russia's strategic space, aggravate bloc confrontation in the region, and further deteriorate the security situation in Europe.


With its long coastline, Sweden can largely improve the geographical conditions for NATO's military deployments and increase its resources, enabling the organization to take advantage of Sweden's seaports and air force bases and integrate the military resources from Norway to Finland. With this, the Baltic Sea is more like an "internal lake" of NATO, and the Kaliningrad is further isolated from the Russian mainland.


It must be pointed out that the Nordic balance that played a significant role during the Cold War is now gone with Sweden and Finland joining NATO. The balance used to protect North Europe from the highly charged military confrontation even in the zenith of the Cold War, but now the border between Russia and Finland has become the longest line of confrontation between Russia and NATO. It's foreseeable that with the disappearance of the buffer zone, the intense confrontation between Russia and the US-led West will be sustained for a long time in areas near the North Pole.


However, the defense deal with the US has met opposition in Sweden, mainly regarding jurisdiction and the deployment of nuclear weapons, despite the parliamentary approval. Moscow has warned against NATO's northern expansion, saying that it will take corresponding retaliatory countermeasures considering the deployment of NATO's troops and equipment in the new members. Experts reckoned that joining NATO will hardly bring Sweden enduring peace as it wishes, but will instead increase the risk of embroiling it into war and conflicts.


(The author is from the PLA National University of Defense Technology.)


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