In yesterday’s post, I showed that Putin has increased Russian military expenditures significantly even though Russia has not been exposed to any external threat since the collapse of the Soviet Union. As people in Georgia and Ukraine know, Putin intended to use the increased military capacity for offensive purposes.
Swedish “peace activists” flood our newspapers with letters claiming that our military expenditures drain the health care, schools, and other parts of the welfare state on resources. But there is of course no contradiction between having a strong defence and an ambitious health care sector. We used to have both a strong military and civilian defence and a high-standard health-care system. After our financial crisis in the beginning of the 1990’s, we decided to de-arm our national defence in order to restore our public finances
And if countries with less resources can afford to increase the safety of their people, why can’t we?
We are richer than people in Baltic and Eastern Europe countries. According to WHO and OECD our health-care system is also better. But we do not have the same horrible experiences as the people in these countries have. The Soviet military were in ruins during the first years after the collapse. But people in these countries did not trust the new Russian governments. Following free elections, with debates on NATO membership, the governments in the Baltic countries and the other former Eastern European countries, decided to seek NATO membership.
And they were right to do so. Before Putin became president, relations with Russia were relatively quiet. Tensions have increased since he became president which especially the Baltic countries have experienced. The Russian operations against these countries are described here, here, and here by these countries intelligence services.
It is therefore not surprising that these countries decided to increase their defence capabilities when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014. Unfortunately, Sweden has not yet made national security a priority.
Military expenditures before and after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.