Democracy in America The Economist: "...but it is a frequent assertion that European social spending is only made possible by implicit American subsidies on defence; so let's take a look at this claim".
This is a good starting point for the discussion about whether or not Sweden wants to spend more on defence. First it is necessary to discuss the relation between the EU and NATO and then the so called capabilities gap between the US and EU countries. As EU members we have to help neighbors according to the Lisbon Treaty. Of all the current articles on Swedish defence none of the experts have done this so far.
Democracy in America says that European countries should not increase their budgets to match that of the US. When the US commits 30,000 troops to Afghanistan the EU commits 7,000. That is less than half which is the difference in spending on defence. Furthermore, many countries in Afghanistan prefer to be in places where there is relatively lower risk. This is a perhaps even greater problem that causes a lot of friction. Should the Swedish troops regroup instead of Sweden pays more for defence?
The Eubarometer results provide a tentative answer to these questions. The European people does not want to have the same foreign policy as the US. I guess we just have to wait for the overall picture to be provided by Lady Ashton. Recent attacks by Chinese cyber warriors might indicate where money should be spent rather than on people in the conventional circuit? We have to protect our industries. The Chinese, however, might not want to alienate Europe and rather put a wedge between the Atlantic powers which would make it necessary to choose which side you are on?
So if someone says we should put some guys on Gotland to scare Putin, I would not be able to comment. But for more helicopters for the troops in Afghanistan, I would not have any problems.