By John Ensor •
Published: 11 Jan 2024 • 17:17
Image of Swedish flag.
SWEDISH defence chiefs have been criticised for alarmist rhetoric after they admonished their countrymen and women to prepare for war.
In particular, Sweden’s young generation is grappling with the unnerving possibility of armed conflict.
Sweden, a nation, historically acquainted with peace and neutrality, is expecting a dramatic shift in its security outlook.
On Saturday, January 6, at the Folk och Forsvars conference, Carl-Oskar Bohlin, the civil defence minister, starkly announced, ‘there could be war in Sweden.’
His comments, coupled with other senior defence officials’ warnings, have sent ripples of concern throughout the country.
‘For a nation for whom peace has been a pleasant companion for almost 210 years, the idea that it is an immovable constant is conveniently close at hand,’ Bohlin remarked.
He further urged individuals to consider joining voluntary defence organisations, emphasising the urgency of the situation.
In the wake of these pronouncements, Bris, a children’s rights group, has reported a surge in calls from troubled youths.
The organisation, known for aiding young people with mental health issues and teenage pregnancy, is now fielding concerns sparked by these grim forecasts of conflict. Videos of the defence speeches, widely shared on TikTok, have particularly resonated with Generation Z.
Reportedly the hysteria surrounding the comments has led to people ‘panic buying emergency supplies after the government and military warned that people have to be prepared for war.’
Despite the ensuing panic, Sweden’s defence leadership stands firm on their stance. Pal Jonson, the defence minister, echoed Bohlin’s sentiments at the same conference.
‘An armed attack against Sweden cannot be ruled out,’ Jonson declared. This shift towards a more militarised national psyche coincides with Sweden’s impending NATO membership, which is expected to commence as soon as July.
The government has committed to doubling its defence spending to two per cent of GDP by the end of 2024.
In a live broadcast, Gen Micael Byden, the commander-in-chief, implored citizens to mentally brace themselves for potential conflict. ‘Look at the news from Ukraine and ask yourself the simple questions: If this happens here, am I prepared? What should I do?’
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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