David Swanson Foreign Policy nato

Top 10 Reasons Sweden and Finland Will Regret Joining NATO

By David Swanson / World BEYOND War

Friendly advice to my brothers and sisters in Finland and Sweden.

  1. There are people at the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin laughing at you. You shouldn’t feel special. They laugh at the U.S. public all the time. But getting countries with much higher standards of living, better educations, and longer lifespans than in the United States — countries that obtained these things largely by staying neutral and apart from the Cold War and numerous hot wars — to sign onto a pre-agreement to join in future wars (the sort of lunacy that launched World War I) and to commit to buying boatloads of weapons in eternal preparation! — well, the laughing is unlikely to ever end.
  1. Have you seen those angry protests across Europe (not to mention South Korea) recently? You’ve got decades of those to look forward to if we survive your dumbass decision that long. People may be demonstrating in their own selfish interests with a bit of ignorant bigotry thrown in, but they’re protesting for both peace and for the redirection of resources toward useful things. They may be aware that the misdirection of resources into wars kills vastly more people than the wars (and will until the wars go nuclear). But most of their countries are locked in, the way yours are about to be. Parts of your land will belong to the U.S. military; you’ll lose even the right to ask what poisons are dumped into your water. Parts of your government and industry will be subsidiaries of the U.S. military machine, no more able to function without it than is Saudi Arabia — where people at least have the excuse that they can’t legally speak or act freely. Within two years of the start of every war that the U.S. public cheers for, a majority in the U.S. always says it shouldn’t have been done — but never that it should be ended. It will be the same with you and joining NATO, not because of any mystical nonsense about honoring dead troops by killing more of them, but because NATO will own you.
  1. Not only is the sky blue, but, yes, it is true: Russia has a horrendously awful government that is committing unspeakably vile crimes. You can see them in the media the way you ought to be able to see every war, and every side of every war. Allowing your government to imitate Russia’s will make Russia’s worse, not better. Russia cared about little other than stopping the spread of NATO and did what it had to know would rapidly accelerate the spread of NATO, because it lost its mind to war, and because it and you are being played for suckers by the United States military, including that branch of it called the RAND corporation which wrote a report recommending the provocation of a war like this one. When this war escalated six months ago, the U.S. government called it unacceptable and unprovoked. Obviously every war is unacceptable. But this one basically now has the formal name Russia’s Unprovoked War — not only because it was so openly and intentionally provoked, but so that the provoking can continue.
  1. You’re an escalation of a provocation. You’re some perfectly nice harmless loving person who doesn’t want to hurt anyone and is scared to death of Russia and either has no idea that nonviolent defense is possible or knows that your government has no interest in it. But there’s some person of that exact same description in Russia who will see your government’s actions as extremely frightening, whereas putting nukes into Belarus will be comforting and soothing. Well, nothing will ease the concern generated in good noble hearts by that idiotic outrage like repeating it with U.S. nukes in Sweden or Finland. There is not anything the least bit difficult to understand about all the good intentions and fear for loved-ones. Nor should there be anything difficult to understand about the fact that this will end with a high risk of nuclear apocalypse and nothing good along the road to it. The arms race that some countries used to have the wisdom and independence to keep out of is a vicious cycle that needs breaking.
  1. Not only did the U.S./UK/NATO want this war, but they took careful steps to avoid its ending in the early months, and have done everything they could to develop an endless stalemate. There is no end in site. Your governments joining NATO is another provocation that will increase the emotional commitments on both sides but do nothing to make either side likely to triumph or to agree to negotiating peace.
  1. It is possible to oppose both sides of a war, and to oppose the mission of the weapons dealers that support both sides. Not just weapons and wars are driven by profits. Even the expansion of NATO that kept the Cold War alive was driven by weapons interests, by the desire of U.S. weapons companies to turn Eastern European nations into customers, according to Andrew Cockburn’s reporting, together with the interest of the Clinton White House in winning the Polish-American vote by bringing Poland into NATO. It’s not just a drive to dominate the global map — although it’s certainly a willingness to do so even if it kills us.
  1. There are alternatives. When French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr in 1923, the German government called on its citizens to resist without physical violence. People nonviolently turned public opinion in Britain, the U.S., and even in Belgium and France, in favor of the occupied Germans. By international agreement, the French troops were withdrawn. In Lebanon, 30 years of Syrian domination was ended through a large-scale, nonviolent uprising in 2005. In Germany in 1920, a coup overthrew and exiled the government, but on its way out the government called for a general strike. The coup was undone in five days. In Algeria in 1961, four French generals staged a coup. Nonviolent resistance undid it in a few days. In the Soviet Union in 1991, the late Mikhail Gorbachev was arrested, tanks sent to major cities, media shut down, and protests banned. But nonviolent protest ended the coup in a few days. In the first Palestinian intifada in the 1980s, much of the subjugated population effectively became self-governing entities through nonviolent noncooperation. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia freed themselves from Soviet occupation through nonviolent resistance prior to the USSR’s collapse. Nonviolent resistance in Western Sahara has forced Morocco to offer an autonomy proposal. In the final years of German occupation of Denmark and Norway during WWII, the Nazis effectively no longer controlled the population. Nonviolent movements have removed U.S. bases from Ecuador and the Philippines. Gandhi’s efforts were key to removing the British from India. When the Soviet military invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, there were demonstrations, a general strike, refusal to cooperate, removal of street signs, persuasion of troops. Despite clueless leaders conceding, the take-over was slowed, and the credibility of the Soviet Communist Party ruined. Nonviolence ended the occupations of towns in Donbass during the past 8 years. Nonviolence in Ukraine has blocked tanks, talked soldiers out of fighting, pushed soldiers out of areas. People are changing road signs, putting up billboards, standing in front of vehicles, and getting bizarrely praised for it by a U.S. President in a State of the Union speech. Nonviolent Peaceforce has a long record of greater success than armed UN “peace keepers.” Studies find nonviolence more likely to succeed, those successes longer lasting. Look at the examples in the films Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Soldiers Without Guns, and The Singing Revolution. There’s a screening and discussion with the makers of that last one on Saturday.
  1. Negotiations in Ukraine are perfectly possible. Both sides are engaged in both insane cruelty and in exercising restraint. Were they not, were one side composed of irrational monsters, then the risk of immediate terrorist attacks in Sweden and Finland would be at the top of this list. We all know that’s unlikely because the talk of irrational monsters is the nonsense we knowingly tell each other in order to be able to stomach supporting a war. There are a great many ways to engage with the world other than organized mass murder. The notion that supporting NATO is a way to cooperate with the world ignores superior non-deadly ways to cooperate with the world.
  1. When you join NATO you’re going way beyond kissing up to Turkey. You’re endorsing the horrors that NATO has committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. Did you know that in the United States NATO is used as cover for crimes? Congress can’t investigate if NATO did it. And people can’t question it if NATO did it. Placing a primarily-U.S. war under the banner of NATO prevents Congressional oversight of that war. Placing nuclear weapons in “non-nuclear” nations, in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, is also excused with the claim that the nations are NATO members. By joining a war alliance you legitimize if not somehow almost legalize in millions of somewhat mushy minds the wars that alliance engages in.
  1. NATO is seeking to destroy the most beautiful place in Montenegro.

Ask me about these points and explain the errors of my ways on this webinar on September 8.

David Swanson
David Swanson

David Swanson is Co-Founder, Executive Director, and a Board Member of World BEYOND War. He is based in Virginia in the United States. David is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk World Radio.He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. Longer bio and photos and videos here. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.


  1. If you want people in the US to attend your webinar, how about stating the hours in terms of EST or WST?
    I would like to attend your webinar, but it only shows Europen times. Great article, though. It’s why I am interested in this webinar.

  2. 5: “There is no end in site” Should be sight. This mistake makes me think less of you. If you can’t express yourself correctly, don’t do it at all – it will only discredit you.

  3. Sweden and Finland have shown that their societies are just as insane as the rest of the collective west. From safe and neutral, they have put themselves in the front line for when the bombs begin to fall. Reality rarely if ever, has mercy on this level of stupid.

  4. I am not quite sure that David Swanson is qualified to speak for the Russian people as he seems to sway between high regard and the lowest disdain, as in “Russia has a horrendously awful government that is committing unspeakably vile crimes.” I think he has drunk too much Russophobic Kool-Aid without any notion of reality. Try reading some of the late Professor Stephen F Cohen.
    As far as non-violence, that worked in the early days of the Donbas separation. Then, Kyiv sent its Nazis who knew how to kill Slavs. It is what they do best. So, war began in earnest.

    1. Oh look, russian propaganda and lies. Go fight in the war if you support their genocide so much.

  5. If non-violent protest works, how is it that the U.S. is nearly constantly at war, covertly and overtly, often in multiple places at the same time?? The greedy madmen and madwomen do not give a damn what the people think or say and they are relieved we let off a bit of stream when one of these impotent little protests takes place.

  6. We’ll said, we can end war, I know it, if we can get people to listen to you!!!!

  7. David S. I would be interested in your delightful thoughts : did USA stumble into this war by happen stance, or was it carefully planned to replace cheap Russian gas with costly American LNG?? UK and Europe has been conned into paying enormous prices to support the war, or they are staunch allies for anti Russia?? How long will ordinary Europeans be able to keep paying while there is high unemployment, sky high living costs and even shortages of food and common staples? Germany and Europe plans on reducing trade with China which further slows down the world’s economy. The entire world is ripe for another world War, almost same the conditions as WW1. There is never any reason for peace but endless excuses for wars.

  8. This article begins by claiming it’s trying to give friendly advice but the content doesn’t read as friendly to me, with the only sort-of friendly bit at the start of “reason 4” but even that reads as a hollow sort of chiding. It’s not until point 7 that the author starts to get to the real points that ARE WORTH MAKING.

    It’s abundantly clear the author has NEVER been to either of these countries and likely doesn’t know anyone in either AND HASN’T EVEN DONE A MODICUM OF WEB RESEARCH!

    Sure, the author makes some good points later on, but to TRULY UNDERSTAND AND BE HELPFUL one has to know something about the purported audience, otherwise it’s just a rant into the wind.

    I am fortunate enough to have spent significant time in both countries and have taken the time to learn a good bit about them. Best of all, I’ve established decades-long friendships with people in both.

    Just to clarify a friendly point: While Swedes call their country Sweden (close enough in the English version) the other country’s name isn’t Finland, it’s Suomi. While there was lots of ignorant, western-European debate about both name’s origins in the past, modern scholarship indicates the name’s about 4,500 years old (the Suomi people have been there around 11,000 years), and SURELY even Western Europe has known of this name since at least 1400 with the documented history of Swedish King Gustav Vaza, from when the region was a part of Sweden. …POLITE FRIENDS use the name Suomi-Finland, so the Suomi’s (Fin’s) aren’t offended yet readers can sill understand.

    …Let’s focus on Suomi-Finland as they have the most to worry about: They have a super-long history of being dominated by outside forces, notably colonized by the Catholic Northern (also Baltic) Crusades, in which they were made a part of Sweden. Suomi gained autonomy “in the modern era” in 1809 when they were ceded to the Russian Empire, and gained their true independence in 1917 / ’18. Then, during WWII, they fought the Soviet Union TWICE, the first time defending its independence and the second time losing most of Karelia to the Soviets – now Russia, of course.

    So, if you’re going to talk about military alliances and pretend to give friendly advice, MY advice would be to know something of their history and speak to it instead of ignoring it.

    Given the history I’ve already laid out, it SHOULD BE clear they have serious reason to worry, especially given that Russia says it wants a buffer zone, the Nordic countries are an easy mark AND, Russians have long said they think ALL of Suomi belongs to them. (Bet the author didn’t know that! And, by the way, where else have we heard that claim? Hmmm…)

    Given what we saw Russia do in Ukraine, without justification in the eyes of most non-Russians, Suomi-Finland is right to be concerned as they know they’ve got no military to speak of, and know they’ve become a wealthy country. Taking Suomi-Finland would be easy!

    Sweden? Well, I’ve run out of time. However, A FRIENDLY LETTER would START with some understanding, not laughing and chiding. The author needs some maturity in my view as this was a well intentioned but childish rant.

    1. you know zero—I taught university in denmark—-finns aligned themselves w the nazis; you obviously do also; only a nazi will justify ukrop fascism, torture and murder of 15000+ since 2014—nobody cares about your nazi eyes—you are disgusting–you deny truth

  9. Your argumentation is ridden with non sequiturs, falsehoods , childish exaggerations and plain ignorance.
    Just a few examples;
    1.Sweden and Finland are arms exporters and being in NATO will increase the attractivity of their wares for many potential customers. LM have no special reason to be glad to have the Grippen as an alternative to F 35 inside the club. The only commitment is to come to the defense of another member under attack (Article 5) which is far from being a carte blanche to join in future wars.
    2.”Parts of your land will belong to the U.S. military;” Do you really believe these claims? The Swedish and Finn governments will still be sovereign and masters in their countries. And what has Saudi Arabia has to do with it? Does it look as an American vassal to you?
    3.Russia attack on Ukraine was indeed unprovoked and trying to pin it on NATO expansion is between pathetic to ridiculous. The last country to join NATO was Montenegro in 2017 !
    There has nor been any commitment not to extend NATO eastward (including Ukraine) and Russia specifically recognized this in the NATO Russia Founding Act in 1997.
    4.Russia has already put nukes in Kaliningrad .There is no strategic reason to have them in Belarus or for NATO to put them in Sweden or Finland.
    5. Sweden and Finland do not join NATO to finish the war in Ukraine but as an insurance policy against possible Russian aggression.
    6.NATO expansion in the ex Communist countries was motivated by their historical anti Soviet/Russian sentiment , as an insurance against Russian aggression and a proof of commitment to integration in the Western world.
    7.Your examples are either irrelevant or mistaken :
    -The Ruhr occupation ended because of Anglo-American financial pressure
    – Syria reduced its involvement in Lebanon due to its own troubles and civilian war.It has been fully replaced by Iran as a patron of Hizbollah
    – The first intifada main, if unintended, result result was to give Arafat the internal and international stature to recognize Israel and negotiate with it.
    – In 1968 the Soviet army occupied Czechoslovakia and replaced its government
    Let’s face it, no nonviolent resistance made any difference in countering a full blown attack as the ones NATO is supposed to guard against
    8.What Sweden and Finland joining NATO has to do with negotiations in Ukraine??
    9. Only wars that a NATO member has to join is in defense of another member under attack. NATO countries can participate in other wars or military operations for instance for enforcement of UN resolutions (as in the Balkans, Libya, Afghanistan). The extent of participation is solely decided by each country’s government.

    1. nazi altey lies again—“unprovoked”. are you are moron or does Soros pay you to post lies here?

      1. @giligan
        The only political organization I was a member of was Communist Youth.
        I never was a member or sympathizing of/ with the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) which what Nazis were.
        And I comment for free

  10. ultimately NATO is irrelevant impotent—-humiliated by Taliban…NATO is an amerikan scam –that prevents the complete collapse of the US economy —members submissively accede to colonization and exploitation by the US oligarchy. the social cultural and economic costs are now obvious

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