What is – or rather was – Sweden’s armed neutrality?

I think it is now widely known that in the absence of an heir to Sweden’s throne, it was offered to one of Napoleon’s most prominent Marshals – Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, who founded the Bernadotte dynasty adopting the name Carl XIV Johan in 1810  that still today is the ruling house of Sweden’s monarchs. He was also King of Norway.

Before this, he was also involved Sweden’s armed neutrality, and formed the Second League of Armed Neutrality in 1800:

“The Second League of Armed Neutrality or the League of the North was an alliance of the north European naval powers Denmark–NorwayPrussiaSweden, and Russia. It occurred between 1800 and 1801 during the War of the Second Coalition and was initiated by Paul I of Russia. It was a revival of the First League of Armed Neutrality (1780), which had been quite successful during the American War of Independence in isolating Britain and resisting attempts to interfere with their shipping. The Second League was less successful than the First.

So Swedish neutrality went back to the First League of Armed Neutrality of 1780, an alliance initiated by Empress Catherine of Russia.

The Second League was intended to protect neutral shipping against the Royal Navy‘s wartime policy of unlimited search of neutral shipping for Frenchcontraband, in an attempt to cut off military supplies and other trade to the First French Republic. The British government, not yet anxious to preserve Russian goodwill, openly considered it a form of alliance with France and attacked Denmark, destroying parts of its fleet in the first Battle of Copenhagen and forcing it to withdraw from the League. In addition to this Prussia invaded Hanover in April 1801 as a way to attack the British. Paul’s death in March 1801 and the accession of Alexander I led to a change of policy in Russia, and the alliance collapsed. Russia later joined the British in a coalition against Napoleonic France.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_League_of_Armed_Neutrality)

There are a number of observations to make about this stance taken by the Second League.

First, it brought together all of Scandinavia in an armed neutrality alliance. Finland at this time was still part of what used to be called Sweden-Finland:

“Sweden–Finland is a debated Finnish historiographical term referring to the Swedish Kingdom from the Kalmar Union to the Napoleonic wars, or the period from the 14th to the early 19th century.[1][2] In 1809 the realm was split and the eastern half came to constitute the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, in personal union with Imperial Russia. The term was coined by Finnish historians during the 1920s, but since then there has been an effort to drop it from professional historiography due to its inaccuracy.[3] However, it is often still used in everyday Finnish speech and taught in schools.”

At the Battle of Copenhagen of 1801 Denmark was defeated and so was lost to the Second League of Armed Neutrality.

Second, it was an alliance that included Russia, and was in opposition to Britain. Russia was not the enemy, they were allies against Napoleon Bonaparte.

From these historical roots grew Sweden’s Armed Neutrality. The Social Democratic Minority Government is having to make many peculiar compromises to keep its armed neutrality. It is far too early to judge how successful it will be. One thing is certain. Swedish politics is governed by compromises between the Moderates and its allies (Centre, Christian Democrats and Liberals) on the one hand and the Social Democrats and its allies (Greens and Left Party) on the other. As long as the two main political parties – the Social Democrats and the Moderates keep to the old tradition of making no great changes without unanimity – on a major issue as Swedish Armed Neutrality is almost certain to be maintained.

It will be expensive to make up the lost ground of the period of the false “end of the cold war” which lasted from 1991 to 2009, after the collapse of the USSR and up to the EU attempt to recruit Ukraine. And there are already strains in the bourgeois alliance, and indeed in the Moderate Party.

In early 2010, toward the end of the Reinfeldt Administrations,  The EU announced its intention of approaching Ukraine regarding membership of the EU. I wrote the following  in jimsresearchnotes, in my post The New EU and its embroilment in Global Ostpolitik of early February 2010:

“Nor is this all. As recently as this year, the European Commission wrote “The EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship with Ukraine, going beyond co-operation, to gradual economic integration and a deepening of political co-operation”. A similar wording can be found in the European Commission statement on relations with Georgia albeit somewhat more cautiously phrased in view of strong Russian resistance to further EU expansion east, referring to “…a closer relationship with Georgia involving a significant degree of integration and deepening the political co-operation.”

This is a dangerous time in international politics. The Global Hegemon is in decline and is becoming more aggressive to resist, inevitable though the decline is. Old America and Old Europe face the rising power of Russia, Iran, and China. Old Europe (the EU) remains shackled by it adoption of the catastrophe that is the Euro. It is also tying its fate closer to the USA, a secret treaty that will give much power to the multinational corporations. Scandinavian countries will pay the highest price for this in terms of high unemployment, as Washington’s Blog explains in a recent post:  http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/05/un-lawyer-calls-ttp-ttip-a-dystopian-future-in-which-corporations-and-not-democratically-elected-governments-call-the-shots.html. The EU is determined to ignore the popular outcry. Interestingly it is in Germany and Austria, followed by the UK that by the strongest resistance exists against the TTIP. Total signatures so far almost 1.75 millions. Sign the stop ttip petition.

The stage appears to be set for a new subprime mortgage crisis, while borrowing and Quantitative Easing create further problems, encouraging indebtedness  by low-income earners. It is hard to imagine a more explosive economic situation. www.acting-man.com is well worth reading.

 

 

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