Swedish security policy responses to the emerging post-Cold War environment : rising to the challenge, conforming to a pattern
Down through the twentieth century, Sweden has woven a complicated security policy pattern. Shifts in that weave, and in contrasting motifs of solidarity and isolation, have been determined by external events and by the restrictions or release that these have effected. In the wake of the Year of Revolution (1989), and with the collapse of bloc politics which was its aftermath, a new motif in the Swedish policy pattern began to emerge. The traditional policy of neutrality was effectively relegated to a reserve position in diplomacy, and in its stead a renewed commitment to Europe was declared. To what extent had this dramatic new profile been influenced by the events of 1989? Focusing on the disintegration of the post-1945 security system and on the growing intrusion on Sweden of the process of European integration, this study examines how the Social Democrats, under the leadership of Ingvar Carlsson, finally and openly acquiesced in their country's clear dependence on the European Community, and how the non-Socialist coalition, led by Carl Bildt, set aside the long cherished policy of neutrality in favour of a more European identity for Sweden. With an economic as well as a strategic dimension to the challenges facing Sweden, the Year of Revolution alone had not been enough to bring about Sweden's own policy revolution. Neither could it be said that the `Swedish Revolution' had been the sole work of the non-Socialist coalition, since the groundwork had been laid by the Social Democrats. Notwithstanding the new profile, a continued commitment to the `hard core' of traditional policy was to be preserved. Sweden would maintain freedom from military alliances, a strong defence force, and an independent defence strategy. If Sweden were to become a member of the EC, or European Union (EU), could this policy core be sustained? Did the new Swedish identity not seem rather similar to the old one?