02 March 2017

Some Perspective from Sweden

Driving to work this morning, I heard that Sweden was re instituting military conscription.

The story had a heavy "Red Menace", angle, implying that the Russians are freaking out the Swedes.

While the history of Russia and Sweden is rather frought, it appears that the actual reasons for this are rather less dramatic:
For readers from countries that haven't had the draft since the mid 20th century like the UK or US, the idea that young Swedes can now be called up for obligatory military training may sound archaic. So what's the background to Sweden bringing back conscription? Here are four things to help you understand.

1. Not enough people are joining the military
This one kind of falls in the category of, "Well, duh." If they didn't have recruiting fhortages they would not be reinstituting the draft.
2. The situation in the Baltic region has changed
Yeppers, this is the Russians.
3. Public support is strong
A mind-boggling 72% of Swedes like the return of the draft, and elections are going to happen next year, and a little bit of dick swinging plays well with the electorate.
4. It hasn't even been away that long
The draft only ended in 2010, so both the military and public are still familiar with the concept.

My guess is that the first bit is the main driver of this, and that electoral considerations are a close second.

In either case, it's rather less alarming that it was presented to me on my morning commute.


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