Over the weekend, United States President Donald Trump spoke to an attentive Melbourne, Florida rally. The president began talking about what he claims are some very serious issues that much of Europe is dealing with, particularly mentioning the open migration of Germany and Sweden.The president then shocked the audience by announcing some very surprising news. "When you look at what's happening last night in Sweden – Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden!" Although Trump was implying that immigration was dangerous to the country of just under 10 million people, the Republican conveniently forgot to acknowledge that Sweden does face a clear and present danger with Russia. The Nordic country has recently told all of the municipalities to "prepare for war" with Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader who may or may not be a close personal friend of Trump's.In early December, The Telegraph reported that Sweden was reverting back to their Cold War tactics, entitled the Total Defense Strategy. The Civil Contingency Agency, known in Sweden as MSB, sent a letter to all municipalities to ensure that all emergency sirens were operational, have working bunkers, and "be open to cooperating on war exercises with the Swedish Armed Forces." The preparation could be for something as minor as civil disorders to all out war. In addition, they will most likely be reinstating compulsory military service from all 18-year-olds, estimated within the next two years. According to The Telegraph, MSB civil defense leader, Magnus Dyberg-Ek, explained to Svenska Dagbladet newspaper that the country is going back to their previous Cold War defense.
"This strategy is not new. We used it during the Cold War and we are going to now strengthen coordination regarding civil defense."What Dyberg-Ek says is new is that the situation has taken a negative turn and there is currently a threat of conflict and even war. Sweden must be prepared for any possible scenario.
"What is new is that the security situation in our neighbourhood has worsened, and that we must therefore make preparations regarding the threat of war and conflict."Nearly four years ago, Russia conducted some war games and dabbled into Swedish air space. According to NATO, this is one of many such threats by Russia in Sweden, as well as the entire Baltic region over the past few years.
In addition, The Guardian reported that Sweden has determined and issued a report stating that a "growing body of research highlighting Russia's increasing use of active measures as a foreign policy tool towards western states" since 2014. They accuse Russia of creating fake news and other types of disinformation, to influence Swedish people. The report identified "troll armies" that target academics, journalists. The "information war" also includes Twitter accounts hijacked.
There is a great deal of concern about Russia influencing the major election in 2018. According to The Local Sweden, Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven says he out "cannot rule out" Russian influence on the election.
In addition, there has been a rise in Russian spies working at airports and business in Sweden. The extremists are accused of engaging in "psychological warfare," designed to "rattle residents."
The Russian Embassy has poo-pooed the notion of any such spying as "James Bond theories."
"The story feels like it is inspired by the James Bond films, resonating here in Sweden where there is unfortunately an established tradition of regularly looking for a 'Russian trail'."Sweden has not been in a war in just over 200 years, when the country lost Finland to Russia. They remained neutral during both World Wars. This year marks the 100 year anniversary of Finnish independence from Russia, but it seems that Russia does not want to totally let go. Last summer, according to Reuters, Putin threatened Finland should they join NATO.
"NATO perhaps would gladly fight with Russia until the last Finnish soldier."Sweden and Finland are not the only countries that face a Russian threat. The Local Norway, the English language paper for Norway reported in October that Russia threatened the country with a possible nuclear attack because of the deployment of 330 United States Marines stationed at Vaernes. Frants Klintsevitsj, a deputy chairman of Russia's defense and security committee stated that this deployment demanded a reaction as he spoke of dire consequences.
"How should we react to this? We have never before had Norway on the list of targets for our strategic weapons. But if this develops, Norway's population will suffer."The paper also mentioned that although the United States has "vast amounts of military equipment" positioned in strategic locations in Norway, primarily in tunnels dug deep into the mountainous region, there are no troops currently stationed in these hidden locations.
What are your thoughts that Sweden is preparing for a possible war with Russia, while the President of the United States indicated that their danger is with immigrants? Does this make you trust Putin more or less after reading this news?
[Featured Image by Kevin Dietsch - Pool/Getty Images]