Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

US gains access to Swedish military bases under new agreement

The new cold war

Published 7 December 2023
- By Editorial Staff
US secretary of defense Lloyd Austin with Swedish defense minister Pål Johansson during a press conference in April 2023.

The US will be allowed to station troops, conduct exercises and store weapons and combat vehicles at 17 Swedish military bases. This is according to a new military agreement that the Swedish government has just signed with the country.

The Berga naval base in the Stockholm archipelago, the Luleå air base, and the Gotland regiment, among others, will be available to the US military. The agreement, known as the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), gives the US the right to conduct exercises and deploy military personnel by air and sea. It also allows the country to store defense materials such as combat vehicles, ammunition and weapons systems in Sweden.

– This doesn’t mean that all 17 sites will be used, but we have worked in close dialog based on where it is most important from a military perspective for them to be able to store defense material, says Pål Jonson (M) to the state broadcaster SVT.

For the US, the military agreement is about gaining better access to locations near the Baltic Sea and in the Arctic, according to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

– The only thing better than having Sweden as a friend is having Sweden as an ally, he says.

Nuclear weapons not ruled out

Other Nordic countries have similar agreements with the US. Norway, for example, signed such a military agreement in 2021, giving the US unlimited access to three Norwegian air bases and a naval base. The agreement includes a clause stating that the US cannot have nuclear weapons in the country. There is no such clause in the agreement with Sweden.

However, Pål Jonson says they see no need or reason to have nuclear weapons in Sweden.

– The Swedish position is well known to the US and we have also communicated it. There are no expectations from the American side and there is no need from the Swedish side either, he says, according to the Bonnier newspaper DN.

Social Democratic commentator Göran Greider believes that the US is de facto invading Sweden and notes that this is also happening without any significant debate.

“It is astonishing how docile, or perhaps fearful, the Swedish people have become”, he writes in an editorial in Dalademokraten.

Parliamentary approval required

The DCA still needs to be approved by the Swedish parliament before it can come into force. A number of legislative changes will also be required. The agreement is independent of whether Sweden joins NATO or not, but the idea is that the two military partnerships will strengthen each other.

– As important as this agreement is, it is also important that we become a full member of NATO and are covered by NATO’s common defense guarantees, says Jonson.

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