NATO Aspirant Sweden Signs Deal To Let US Military Use All Its Bases
Sweden is not even in NATO yet—amid the continuing holdup and objections from Turkey and Hungary—but that didn’t stop the US and Sweden this week from brokering a deal to let American troops have wide use of Swedish military bases for the first time.
The newly inked Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) this week signals Stockholm finally and fully abandoning its its centuries-old policy of neutrality, given the Pentagon has confirmed that US forces can now “operate in Sweden, including the legal status of US military personnel, access to deployment areas (and) prepositioning of military materiel.”
Defense Lloyd Austin and Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson held a signing ceremony on Tuesday, and hailed that the deal will ”create better conditions for Sweden to be able to receive support from the United States in the event of a war or crisis.”
At a moment Sweden is still waiting anxiously for its accession into NATO to be announced, the US State Department has said the DCA with Sweden will “apply seamlessly before and after Sweden’s accession to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).”
All of this is a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, which led both Finland (who is NATO’s newest member) and neighboring Sweden to drop their non-alignment policies. As the AP reviews:
Sweden’s strategically important Baltic Sea island of Gotland sits a little more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) from the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad.
The United States struck a similar deal with Sweden’s western neighbor, NATO member Norway, in 2021 and is currently negotiating such an agreement with NATO members Finland and Denmark, two other Nordic countries.
From the start of the war in Ukraine, the Swedish prime minister’s office has cited Russian aggression as making necessary a greater and broader readiness posture in case of a state of emergency, or even potential attack on the nation.
I had a productive meeting today with Swedish Minister of Defence Jonson . It’s great to meet with a true partner and future NATO Ally, especially as we face significant security challenges in Europe and across the globe. https://t.co/vCcH6hZX21 pic.twitter.com/ZNnUfxaz2Q
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) December 6, 2023
This has lately even included reintroducing conscription for Swedish civilians in the case of a national emergency.
As for the new DCA, Pentagon chief Austin said it “sends a strong signal that we remain committed to addressing security challenges together.” All of this has caused Russia to enter a defensive posture regarding its Scandinavian borders, and in the region of the Baltic Sea.
Tyler Durden Sat, 12/09/2023 – 07:35
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