Säkerhet utan alliansfrihet. Svenska alliansstrategiers teori och praktik


  • Jacob Westberg


Title:Security Without Non-Alignment: The Theory and Practice of Sweden’s Alignment Strategies.

This article aims to contribute to the present debate on Sweden’s security policy orientation by introducing some general theoretical propositions and concepts related to research on alliance formation and alignment strategies of small states. A further aim of the article is to challenge the mistaken but common view that Sweden ever since  has pursued a consistent policy of non-military alignment.
The usefulness of these propositions and concepts is firstly illustrated with an analysis of Sweden’s previous experiences of military alignment and participation in cooperative security efforts aiming for collective security. Secondly, insights from Sweden’s previous experiences and general research on alliance behaviour of great and small powers are used to discuss potential benefits and costs related to three
possible future alignment strategies: (i) a small state military alliance between Finland and Sweden, (ii) a bilateral military alliance between Sweden the US and (iii) a Swedish membership in NATO. Finally, the question of continuity and change in Sweden’s policy of non-alignment is addressed. In answering this question the concepts of critical junctions, path dependency and external shocks are introduced as analytical tools to analyse causes of both continuity and change. I relation to these concepts Sweden’s security strategies have been characterised by far less consistency than theories of critical junctions or external shocks would lead us to expect. It is also argued that the policy of non-alignment since the end of the Cold War has lost most of its practical relevance and that the deteriorating security situation in
Europe has created a need for a new coherent Swedish security strategy.