Swedish Foreign Policy?

The so called crisis commission of the Social Democratic party, set up to frame the moment after two consecutive losses in elections, has generated a new policy that, for not being a copy of the center-right coalition, turns out to be a so called "vänstersväng", a return to the left.

Urban Ahlin, the porte parole of the Social Democrats for foreign policy, proclaims the following in a debate article in Svenska Dagbladet today:

1. Demands should be set on the junta in Myanmar. Burma, for not using the name of the junta, is squeezed in by India and China and as such has new influence that competes with that the West might have. China's influence is particularly strong and therefore success in dictating rules for the junta might be hopeful at best. My question would be if it in reality is useful for Sweden to have a foreign policy on this matter and if not acting via EU might be preferable. Ahlin wonders if the junta has broken rules against humanity which it in all probability has. It is also right that Aung San Suu Kyi's party should get legal status but that and free elections is the same as requesting a regime change. Not likely.

2. Ahlin claims what most people know that the US and the EU have had "short sighted" interests in Northern Africa for stability. After Tunisia and Egypt, this seems to be what people say. However, asking for democracy in this region has a little of the same ring to it like the beauty pageant "and I also want peace on Earth". At times like these people discuss whether or not democracy is a universal quest for mankind. I have begun to doubt this. It takes hundreds of years to prepare for it and many nations seems more prone to authoritarian regimes and tries to solve their problems in this fashion not having such a history. The current battle of ideas has to be won in order to proceed globally with democratization. It has become necessary again to prove that democracy leads to a better society. I, for one, am convinced it does.

3. EU should put demands on the collaboration with Russia according to Ahlin. This is in all probability very important. Russia is not developing in the right direction right now on human rights and the fight to lower corruption. Great care should be taken in the interactions with Russia.

4. Sweden should support Palestine to become an independent state, says Ahlin. Well, this is what the Israelis also have agreed to, given a set of conditions. I agree that these conditions are important. Especially now with the unknowns presented in the region by the revolt in Egypt. The security requirements for Israel have become more important all of a sudden than they were a month ago.

5. Sweden should stop charging for visa for people from the Eastern Partnership area in Eastern Europe. Strange demand since a person not affording a visum would not afford a ticket?

6. Ahlin wants Sweden to increase its engagement in the UN. It might seem appropriate to do so in The Age of Anxiety but I would think improving bilateral engagements with friendly nations should be better than flirting too much with the dictatorship stuffed UN and their weak leader. Sweden, with its earlier neutral past, really needs to improve such ties.

7. I also don't have any constructive suggestions on the tragic case of Dawit Isaak.

8. The Social Democrats want to set a side a billion SEK of the money allotted to international aid to the support of handling conflicts and work preventing war!?

9. The Social Democrats are going to monitor the governments acting in the Afghanistan assignment and will also demand a wide agreement in the Parliament about the structural issues of the foreign service. The Social Democrats apparently has had problems realizing that there are differences between the right and left concerning in which countries Sweden should have embassies. Naive!

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