Tallyho! Hunting for a British role - The Globe and Mail: "It’s been nearly 50 years since U.S. secretary of state Dean Acheson whipped up a storm by saying Britain had lost an empire but not yet found a role. Role hunting has been a British sport ever since. Tallyho! goes up the cry, every time they have a new government, and off they gallop, led by the prime minister and the foreign secretary. The fox usually gets away in the end – and Britain sinks back into doing whatever it does."
Timothy Garton Ash complains in his way on the problem for a 60m country to have a say here on Earth as we speak. What does Sweden then have to say in the world with its 9m people, 2% of the population of the EU? Some people in Sweden talks nostalgically about "Stormakts Sverige", the time when Swedish kings like Gustavus Adolphus foraged around in Europe for fame and glory while ruining their country. The king in question died the same year as Baruch Spinoza and John Locke were born, by the way. The Social Democrats in Sweden introduced a pacifistic bent where Sweden represented the World Conscience.
The Social Democrat Ulf Bjereld made his dissertation on something as esoteric as a Swedish Middle East Policy and interestingly the current foreign minister Carl Bildt is fairly in line with the Social Democrats on these issues where he is more American on others as the Turkish question. It is interesting to note, by the way, that Germany's energy company RWE has shown interest in the Russian Turkey avoiding South Stream pipeline negotiated by Gerhard Schröder over the Nabucco ditto, despite a double cost estimate.
Considering Garton Ash's role search above, is it possible for Sweden to find a new path from the World Conscience one of the Social Democrats? I personally find the World Conscience one very unsatisfactory because it disregards power. If you want democracy to reign supreme it's wise to, like Britain, play a role as a firm supporter of the US. I'm surprised Garton Ash is not referring to this role? Carl Bildt is trying a new way in between Britain and Old Sweden: having relationships with powers you might not dislike and still work for democracy in other ways. I guess the power Poles and Swedes don't like is Russia, but as we just discussed, keep a relationship--and let Germany do the power thing.
Stand by your Man, Garton Ash!