Swedish Politicians at Odds Over Whether Patriot Missile Defence System Should Be Linked to NATO

While the liberal-conservative Moderates and the Liberals believe this is the way to go to make the most of what is seen as one of Sweden’s largest defence procurements in the modern era, the national-conservative Sweden Democrats warn of risks of being drawn into a superpower conflict.

A recent offer by the US to link Sweden’s newly purchased Patriot air defence system to NATO has sparked a political debate in the formally non-aligned Scandinavian country.

It was US Army Commander for Europe and Africa Christopher Cavoli who came up with the proposal during his recent visit to the air defence regiment in Halmstad, who received the new system.

“The fact that Sweden acquires Patriot gives it an opportunity to – if Sweden so wishes – join a community of armies that have Patriot too and have the ability to establish a network of defence systems. This means a very powerful opportunity”, Cavoli told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

In Sweden’s neighbourhood, such a network could include NATO members Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands, as well as the US. Militarily, such a connection would provide Sweden with benefits like more complete radar information about threats from the air and ballistic missiles fired.

Yet, both the US general and Swedish Chief of Staff Karl Engelbrektson emphasised that the link to the Patriot network is purely a Swedish political decision.

The chairman of the parliament’s defence committee, Pål Jonson of the liberal-conservative Moderates, said the…

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