23/3 Jonathan Feldman: Sweden’s Military Transfer to Ukraine for beginners

Sverige har länge ägnat sig åt en vapenhandel som tillhandahåller vapen till icke-demokratiska stater, stater som plågas av fruktansvärda mänskliga rättigheter, eller stater som Sydafrika och Brasilien som, även om de är nominella demokratier, har regimer som spenderar miljontals dollar på vapen medan en stor andel av deras befolkningar står inför fattigdom och ekonomisk osäkerhet.

Vissa drar slutsatsen att Ryssland helt har gett upp diplomatin, men om sanktionerna och det ukrainska motståndet ger effekt, så kan det finnas utrymme för diplomati. Sverige kan dock inte spela denna roll effektivt på grund av sin partiska roll som vapenexportör.

Detta skriver Jonathan Feldman, professor vid Ekonomiska institutionen i Stockholms Universitet i en artikel i den US-amerikanska tidskriften Counter Punch, i en artikel där han ifrågasätter det kloka i att sända svenska vapen till Ukraina:

Sweden has transferred (or is the process of transferring) 5,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. As a student of Swedish arms exports, I found this development interesting and potentially troubling. In order to put this transfer into the proper context, we need to review the scale of this transfer, some key elements of Swedish history, how some on the “left” respond, and the implications of arms transfers (and related moves) for Swedish security. Some will argue that Sweden needs to defend Ukrainian democracy against an aggressive, Russian state militarist invasion which has been linked to war crimes.

Others may argue that Sweden’s incremental moves away from neutrality and non-alignment are dangerous, immoral and counter-productive. Whatever you believe, it is still necessary to present a larger context for deliberating on this question. There is no doubt that Russia’s cruel invasion should be opposed, the question for Swedes is whether transferring weapons is the best way to do so. Sweden has gradually, but increasingly quickly, moved closer and closer to NATO, part of a decades long movement in which military leaders from Sweden cooperate with NATO and the U.S. military.

The Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson argued in a press conference on February 27, 2022 that the Swedish government supported weapons transfers to Ukraine because Putin had upset the European security order (by attacking a democracy in a mass military attack), because Ukraine received mass support from the Swedish people, and because she deemed that this decision was in the best interests of Sweden’s security. The weapons transfers involve five thousand antitank weapons, a similar number of helmets and life jackets as well as freeze-dried food for soldiers.

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