Sunday, October 19, 2014

Would it be wise for Russia to conquer Sweden?

Well, the historical record is surely encouraging for Russia. It hasn't lost in numerous wars (mostly in the 18th century) against Sweden – the last one, the 1808-1809 "Finnish War", meant that Sweden had to transfer Finland to Russia.

We're told that Sweden has glimpsed some foreign submarine(s) 50 km away from Stockholm and detected emergency radio signals from the submarine(s) on one side and the Kaliningrad region on the other side. The idea is that Russia is beginning to violate the sovereignty of Sweden.

Of course, one must be careful about far-reaching interpretations.

The submarine hunts in Swedish territorial waters have been common for decades and the most famous one – sensationally involving the U 137 "fine-structure constant" Soviet submarine – occurred in 1981. Some of those operations may have been NATO false flag operations designed to affect the public opinion in "neutral Sweden", it may be true now as well, and all these things are very complicated.

Just to be sure, I believe that it is extremely likely that the newest submarine incident near Stockholm doesn't mean anything important. However, it seems reasonable to me to think about the possibility that it could mean something more important.

Sweden has complained about some recent incidents involving Russian aircraft, too. But what many people don't fully realize is that Sweden, just like Finland, Austria, Switzerland, and Ireland, is not a NATO member.

Except for Switzerland, these countries are EU members. On the other hand, Norway (like Iceland and Turkey – not to mention Albania that is hard to be imagined as a "friend") is "Sweden upside down" – a NATO member outside the EU.

Because Sweden isn't a NATO member, a possible invasion into Sweden could be considered analogous to the hypothetical incursions into Ukraine. Sweden's chances to defend itself would obviously be even lower than Ukraine would have if Russia decided to send its military against the neighbor state.

Just to be sure, I am not "accusing" Russia of any such plans and I don't think that the takeover of Sweden would be an adequate legitimate reaction to anything that has taken place. But the recent behavior of Sweden towards Russia has been quite loud and arrogant for such unprotected dwarfs.

And more importantly, I think that it would be a much more beneficial move for Russia to gain the control over Sweden than the hypothetical goals of taking some villages in Eastern Ukraine. I have already said that Sweden's defense would probably turn out to be irrelevant very soon.

But would the NATO member states defend Sweden in such a situation? I am not quite sure – and I am not sure whether they should, either.

If Russia invaded and occupied Sweden, it would undoubtedly find itself internationally isolated in a more visible way than the current undeserved isolation blamed on the events in Ukraine. But would this consideration be enough to discourage Russia from such a hypothetical invasion? I am not sure about the answer to this question, either. Russia knows that the sanctions are imposed by the West even if there is no reason for them – they are largely uncorrelated to what Russia is doing.

Carl XVI Gustaf is employed as a king of Sweden and is currently leading the search for a Russian submarine.

Instead, I am pretty sure that many people in Russia must be annoyed by the observation that the U.S. and/or NATO's behavior towards Russia resembles the education of a small boy. Some people in the West don't want to seriously think about the possible Russian military maneuvers against their countries and their cities, nuking of their cities, pretending that all these things are totally prohibited by the laws of physics. Well, they are not.

Russians were making "ABBA fun" out of Swedish official February 2014 pronouncements that Sweden would resist for a week without NATO.

So there are reasons why a takeover of Sweden could strengthen the position of Russia in the international affairs because Russia would make the point that a country participating in hostilities against Russia should better not assume that it is doing these things safely. Needless to say, the control over Sweden would also allow Russia to "surround" the Baltic states and Poland, make Russia much closer to the Western European capitals, and it would improve the abilities of Russia to defend its fossil fuel interests in the Arctic.

Again, I am not suggesting that such a scenario is likely – and I would find such events somewhat shocking.

But what greatly bothers me about the "mainstream" thinking in the West is the amazing (and constantly increasing) pettiness of the "threats" and "sins" (and usually just "hypothesized sins") that seem enough for the manipulation of tens of millions of people. The climate hysteria is a textbook example of this pettiness: tons of people have been brainwashed to believe that the temperature change by less than 0.1 °C in two decades which may have been affected by carbon dioxide in the air is something "so important" that we should introduce new taxes, perhaps ban coal power plants, and cripple the international relations because of that. It's like homeopathy – where people are led to believe the preposterous claim that an arbitrarily lowered concentration (often below one molecule) of a chemical compound is very important for the health.

Similarly, speculations that a few Russian soldiers helping to fight for some largely irrelevant towns somewhere in Eastern Ukraine may have some vague homeopathic relationships with the Kremlin is a sufficient justification for the West to totally poison the relationships with the territorially largest country in the world. Even if the accusation were right and those several Russian soldiers in Eastern Ukraine had been sent by the Kremlin, the reaction would be totally disproportionate.

Such an invasion into Sweden would be hardly justifiable, painful not just for Sweden, and dangerous for many reasons. But it may also restore some "sense of proportion" among many people in the West, convince them that the history as we have known it for centuries or millennia isn't over yet and the people claiming otherwise are hippie cranks, and that other powers than those controlled by the suffocating ideology of political correctness and the increasingly uniform and dumbed down popular media may also influence the world. And those may be important positives that could turn the hypothetical invasion into a mixed bag.

P.S.: Swedish sources began to say that the submarine is damaged – the justification is the Mayday signal – but Russia denied that any of its vessels has been damaged. I guess that it's compatible with the scenario that the submarine is alright and it's sending Mayday because it feels threatened by the Swedish military personnel.

Novaya Gazeta, a Russian opposition daily, argued that the submarine can't be Russian because the waters are too shallow for the nuclear ones and the others, smaller ones are just being repaired. Some other submarines are known to be in the North Sea.


  1. Islam is already conquering Sweden through demographics. And the subsequent flexing of their collective muscle in the form of sharia zones enforced by groups of young men as well as the infiltration of institutions.

  2. I have found this article written yesterday :

    It makes much sense and agree with you on many points.

  3. Just as historic curiosity: it was the Swedish vikings that founded Russia, Rus is finnish for Swede so I am told.

  4. Sweden did have Zlatan Ibrahimovic play against Russia (despite his injury) last week. That was enough of a bold threat for Russia to react, ;-) (result was 1-1)

  5. LOL, right,'_people#Etymology

    so it would be just the Swedes retaking their home. At least from a Finnish viewpoint, it should look kosher. ;-)

  6. The very fact that the boss of the Swedish national team has Bosniak and Croatian parents and this totally Slavic name (not to mention the root of the surname which is the Arabic word for the Jewish Abraham) shows quite something about the diluted identity of Sweden (and other Western nations).

  7. A nice article, plus some comments beneath it.

  8. Those people of VICE have some cool documentaries too, even for getting into the Islamic State... no shortage of guts, for sure.

  9. Diluted indeed. Sweden is the second destination for the illegal immigrants from Lampedusa (first is Germany, third UK, fourth France),

  10. I have found an interesting website relating to historical borders over time.

  11. 4.25 (0.25 being Alice Bah) out of 24 ministers are non-Swedes, one was having ties with or is a sympathizer of ISIS. This is gross. And I still think that several other, native, ministers are even worse.

  12. Conquering is easy. Maintaining the conquest is a very costly, time consuming exercise. Particularly these days. Look at the results of US efforts over the last few years. What sane nation would want to go there.

  13. I'm not so sure if I agree with you that Sweden's chances to defend itself from a Russian invasion are lower than Ukraine's. Yes, Sweden is smaller than Ukraine, but also much more advanced. Unlike the failed state Ukraine, Sweden has the technical know-how and resources to quickly develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons if need be. They had such weapons programmes in the past and the Swedish government, with the help of defense contractors like Saab, could restart those if there's an existential threat. Who knows, maybe the Swedes have such programmes covertly already? Within months, the 10 million Swedes could have the means to kill 100 million Russians. Therefore, I doubt the Russians would invade. The potential cost would be far too high.

  14. Only the Swedish government has no clue nor experience on how to lead a war.

  15. How about Russia invading Czech? lot to gain and no resistance.

  16. NATO shmato

    The uk, us and many other countries would defend Sweden.

  17. Three good reasons why Russian will not touch Sweden:

    1) Any country assuming Sweden's social costs would be bankrupted.
    2) Any invading force will be met with a barrage of bulging surströmming cans.

    3) IKEA. No more red Billy bookcases for youuuu!

    Real world, Sweden will be sacrificed to wholly satisfy Russia's appetite for expansion. Obama, waving a piece of paper, "I have a treaty with comrade Putin. This guarantees peace in our time."

  18. Must be your day for provocation, Lubos, but I do like […nuking of their cities, pretending that all these things are totally prohibited by the laws of physics. Well, they are not.].

    Your point on the infantilization of the Western public couldn’t be more germane. As the welfare state roots itself ever deeper in the West, with its claims of positive rights (the goodies) as rooted in heaven or someplace, it is obvious that the character of Western populations, in a statistical sense, becomes ever more effete. I actually think it is physics that such a situation cannot be stable and that some great discontinuity in events looms just over the horizon. Hopefully, nuking won’t be involved (or at least massively so), but I think the likelihood for some really nasty shit is very high.

  19. The Swedish defence was starved over something like 30 years; what's left of it may be qualified, but tiny and burdened with paperwork, with little or no real battle experience. The weapons and facilities are well-conserved, but it may take some 12 months to reactivate the professionals and a lot longer to get somewhere near full-readiness.

    At the current readiness level, the Swedish army may stand for about a week, although with huge territorial, also other, losses within hours and there goes out of the door our military doctrine, especially if Obama's playing golf that particular week. Then?
    Chemical, biological, nuclear? I don't think so (or pretty sure not). Weapons programmes are ongoing, sure. We are one of the largest armament exporters, although that's being strangled too. Some airplanes are badly needed since some time now.

    The potential costs may be too high for Russia, I agree. But not because we can put up a good fight. A bigger deterrent is even that Finland's in the way I'd say.

  20. LOL, the resistance by the Czech army would surely be much smaller than (even) from Sweden but 1) we're in NATO so others are obliged to defend us as well, 2) many of us wouldn't think that it's such a dramatic deterioration to switch from Brussels to Moscow as the external "hyper-capital". ;-)

  21. Yup, it was really the main point of this blog post. The "path to success" seems to be to optimize the P.R. to sell ever smaller problems and threats as a "big deal" and build careers on ever more unimportant bullšit.

  22. (1) Russia is a failed state.
    (2) Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin could possibly suffer from an undiagnosed brain tumor, hypothetically a glioma.
    (3) Putin's never accepted that communism is dead except in the brains of Western Greenies, journalists, and a mixed bunch of other loonies.
    (4) The present Swedish government is composed of another mixed bunch of rather "special" people - fanatic Green communists, the normal lot of unreformed old style communists, and a group of Social Democrats thrown in for good measure.
    To the set (1)-(4) please add
    (5) Many younger Swedish males have been turned into feminized pajama boys by deranged, stupid, and extremely uggly extremist feminists who keep hollering unintellibly in the media every day.

    By poking Swedish territory (by sea, by air) Putin is doing two things at one time: testing Obama's and NATO's resolve - will Obama and NATO come to Sweden's rescue? Highly unlikely. Putin's also testing Sweden's resolve (lo and behold) to defend herself. Well, according to the military guys themsleves, Sweden's got the capacity to defend herself for something like less than a week.

  23. Not sure if the Russians would like to incorporate a state that now has a relatively large Muslim population. It might cause problems for the Russians. However, the other point of view is that, if the Russians do not choose to take over Sweden, they might be looking at yet another Muslim-majority country nearby in a few decades.

  24. Dear Henry, 14% of Russia's population are Muslim minorities while it's only 5% in Sweden!

  25. I understand that. But, it is also my understanding that the Muslim population of Sweden is increasing rapidly, both due to a relatively high birth rate and substantial immigration.

  26. I assure you (or promise you LOL?) that both of these rates would be brought the the levels common in Russia if Russia were in control of Sweden.

  27. The people claiming that Obama suffers from a brain aberration seem to be more famous than you who claims similar things about Putin and they include PM Medvedev and Donald Trump :-)

  28. Андрей СмирновOct 19, 2014, 7:48:00 PM

    if you know russian

  29. Sailing around the oceans like they own them, who do the Russians think they are, the Americans?

  30. The Obama administration has loitered in the Middle East for six years at a $trillion/year, accomplishing nothing, and crippling thousands of soldier survivors (including concussion brain injuries).

    Ten thousand Swedes ran through the weeds,
    in the battle of Copenhagen.
    Ten thousand Swedes ran through the weeds,
    chased by one Norwegian.

  31. Sweden has no right to complain. They are an unabashed imperialist. Just ask the Finnish people who have suffered under their yoke for a thousand years. Hell, they still have to learn Swedish in Finland! Free the Finns!

  32. The reason I strongly doubt it is that John Kerry questions even the support for the NATO allies:

    "If the American people do not see European nations stepping forward to invest in their own defense when their own security is threatened, we risk eroding U.S. support for the alliance."

    De iure, Sweden isn't even an ally.

    It's not a trivial thing to enter such a war. With a Russian-Swedish war, London and New York would seem almost certainly safe. With a Russian-vs-alliance war, all these countries and cities are likely to be in danger.

  33. Man, it’s a lot more than questionable here in the USA. We are at the tipping point with half the population dependent on the government, i.e. the other half of the people. There’s some real bad eigenvalues within epsilon of 1 …

  34. True, but fame isn't necessarily correlated with judiciousness. ;-)
    In addition to that, I'm being more precise in my diagnosis (cerebral tumor, glioma) at least than Mr. Medvedev who's relatively vague.

    By the way, Lubos, speaking about Russian foreign politics, check out the incredible look-alike-ness between the actor doing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Sergey Lavrov. You'll be stunned, I promise. :D
    I happened to watch the UNCLE series on DVD last year.

  35. Vladimir Putin's paid agentOct 19, 2014, 9:41:00 PM

    You do realize that not liking someone is not necessarily a symptom of any disease, right? Or was this information absent wherever you heard about brain tumors?

  36. Americans know nothing at all of war. We have not actually been in one since the Civil War. We have sent our soldiers to plenty of places, but that is not the same thing at all.

    We are quick to start wars because we have absolutely no idea how destructive they are.

    When our cities are bombed into rubble, when all of our women have to sell themselves to feed their kids, when we resort to cannibalism, then we will understand war.

    Until then, we are just killing people, usually for nothing.

  37. Yep, nothing like cannibalism to get your attention.

  38. Gosh, you're a profound thinker.
    However, you'll have to do some homework until you appear here next time. Check this one out. You wrote:
    "You do realize that not liking someone is not necessarily a symptom of any disease, right?" Spot anything dubious here, grammarwise?

  39. I agree that Sweden would probably fall pretty quickly if Russia suddenly decides to use its entire military might to launch a massive assault. Such an attack is overwhelming and there's not much that Sweden could do at present. But if they have some time to prepare, and if the Swedish intelligence agencies detect the upcoming Russian invasion, I have no doubt they're a much harder nut to crack than Ukraine. You seem to dismiss the Swedish nuclear weapons programme, but it was quite developed 60 years ago already; they stopped right before the test phase. Given all the additional technological and scientific advancements over the past decades, I don't think it is far-fetched to assume that a small Swedish nuclear arsenal is possible in short-order. After all, the Swedes have the know-how, the technology and the resources. All the hard work was done already, they just have to build the warheads. And with a small nuclear arsenal, a Russian invasion would be off the table, because I don't believe the Russians would be willing to sacrifice some of their major cities, including Moscow, to conquer Sweden. Too high of a cost.

    As for deterrents at present, Sweden's relative isolation from Russia surely has defensive value. Unless the Russians violate Finland's territorial integrity as well, they have to use the Baltic Sea instead. Such a bottleneck is certainly not ideal strategically. But Sweden's geography aside, arguably an even bigger deterrent is the mutual defence clause in the Treaty of Lisbon. That's basically NATO-light. If the Russians invade Sweden, all the other European Union members are obliged to help. This includes the nuclear powers France and the United Kingdom. It also includes Germany. But it remains to be seen how 'hard' that clause really is. If the other European countries would be willing to stand up for Sweden.

  40. I wonder how much appetite for war do Russians have? I know little about the everyday life over there, how does an 'average' Russian live and feel about the rest of the world. But I am quite sure about one thing: American national psyche feels deeply troubled and unsatisfied if we are not at war with somebody. Americans absolutely adore war, whoever tells you otherwise is lying or talking about less than 5%. We also have almost 100 million of practically unemployed or on government dole in some way. That's already close to total population of Russia, right? As for the EU and unemployed masses there, I would doubt that you can send Greeks to war with Russia, even if they were dying of hunger. British, OTOH, would probably be delighted for a chance.

  41. I think "likely" is too strong a word. My guess is that both Russia and the hypothetical alliance would be happy to keep the damage confined to Sweden. As a resident of NYC I'd be nervous, but the chance of anything happening has to be less than 50%.

    Unless Putin is in fact insane, in which case we'd all be fucked.

  42. You provocateuresse you! ;-)

  43. Your assertions about the insignificance of Russia's involvement in eastern Ukraine would be more credible if Russia had not annexed the Crimea.

  44. Well, funny - but even more funny, it is actually perfectly possible that this underwater activity *was* American, like in so many other cases. The evidence for "this time is different" is virtually non-existent.

  45. Do you mean the left man here?

    Maybe. Not too similar.

  46. Sometimes Finland is counted as Scandinavia because it belonged to Sweden for some time.

  47. So the strategic advise to Finland and Sweden is to join nato.

  48. It also has a swedish minority (5 or 10%, do not remender exact number), and swedish is counted as official language in Finland too.


    I had this photo in mind. A better likeness.

  50. I also have relatively long index finger, but now I see I'm in good company:D

  51. What Cksv(e)nsk(a) said was also what immediately came on my mind.
    I said myself "Ah a Swede who knows his history." :)
    Indeed large scale wars are all about logistics. People who are unfamiliar with military organisations do not realize that to sustain 1 fighting soldier about 5-10 non fighting personnal was necessary during WWII and this ratio is increasing with modern armies.
    So like the Swede rightly said, to come to Sweden one has first to go through Finland.
    Russians have not a very good experience with Finland and their last attempt in 1940 failed quite badly.
    Not only is Finland a logistical nightmare but Finns have shown in the past a quite impressive stamina and resistance especially against Russians.
    The way to SUSTAINABLY supply armies in Sweden from Russia through the Finish bottleneck seems to be an impossible task with modern armament attacking the supply roads.
    As for Baltics one can forget that - I don't think that there is a single Russian leader who believes that Poland would just standby and watch Russian war and transport ships sailing a few km from Polish coast. Not mentionning the German too.
    Today a single missile is enough to sink a ship with extremely high accuracy as even Argentians showed against the UK Navy in S.Atlantic a few years ago.
    So while this article is amusing and provoking in a way (especially considering the Swedish demographics) , I don't think that anybody in Russia's military believes that successfully invading and even less sustainably occupying Sweden is logistically feasible.
    Swedish army may be worth shat but there are the Finish swamps and lakes in the way indeed :)

  52. Dear Tom, during the winter war, 400,000 men were fighting on either side. Today, about 30,000 are active personnel in the Finnish army and almost 300,000 in the Russian Ground Forces.

    I don't really believe that you believe that Russia wouldn't easily beat Finland today. After all, the USSR ultimately did win both the Winter War and the Continuation War.

    The Swedish army has 15,000 soldiers plus 20,000 guardsmen so I actually disagree even with your claim that to defeat Sweden, one would have to go through Finland. They would behave analogously to Czechoslovakia in March 1939.

  53. Every female should just accept uncritically that feminism is serving their best interest and has no downside for society at large? Only feminists and manginas buy that BS.

  54. strictly speaking...Oct 20, 2014, 5:21:00 PM

    The soviet union failed miserably at invading finland during WWII. Clearly this is why Russia is violating Swedish airspace and possibly territorial waters, while carefully avoiding Finnish territory. = )

  55. I don't know what all of you are talking about.

    The Soviet Union fought two wars against Finland during the Second World War, the Winter War and the Continuation War, and the Soviets won both of them although the fights were longer than hoped for, and the casualties were higher than planned. The USSR was far from the only power with overly optimistic expectations like that. The Blitzkrieg hopes of Operation Barbarossa also didn't work, right? The winning side was different - which isn't the case of the Winter War.

  56. Well, there is a former advisor of Putin who has quit his service because russia would no longer be a free country. And he claims for years that Putin wants to invade Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the Baltics and Finnland: recently, russian government officials threatened to start world war 3 if finnland joins nato: The obvious problem with this behavior is, that the more threats the russians make, the more easier it is for the threatened politicians to get a political majority in their population of joining NATO. So, by its behavior, russia brings in fact NATO forces more close to its borders. The more often russian airplanes break Swedish and Finish airspace, the closer amerikan military hardware comes to russia. Meanwhile, obama has ordered his stealth bomber fleet to eastern europe: for now, obama only sent two of these aircraft. But two of these were sufficient to bomb serbia to the stone age. Also, this is just for training. The B2 pilots should learn about the european landscape. Against ISIS in Syria, Obama now uses the F22 stealth fighter currently. But this makes no sense, since that is an aircraft that can not hold many bombs. Originally, F22 was designed to protect the B2 stealth bombers. And perhaps that is the plan. After the F22 have bombed ISIS in Syria, these aircraft have been used in battle, and thereby they can be used, to protect the B2 bombers in a real battle, if necessary. The defense minister of Obama has announced that the US military "has to deal with the russian army", and for this, the components are assembled now. Meanwhile, Putin plans to station nuclear missiles at Crimea

  57. I think that EU would regard a territorial incursion on a non-Soviet nation as an existential threat. They may have little conventional military power, but sizable commercial power, as well as access to nuclear weapons. If you believe that Russia taking Sweden down would be met with anything less than a European war, I fear you may be deluded. Luckily, Putin does not - he is a proven expert at realpolitik. Call him nuts if you wish, even a brain tumor victim, but any attempt to take Sweden by force would fall far beyond any rational cost/benefit analysis in the Kremlin. Maybe in a movie, but IMHO all Russia is doing in Sweden is tweaking them to see what the reaction may be. Maybe EU would let a member state go down the Russian drain, but I seriously doubt it. They would see a new Hitler in those moves, and might well respond in kind.

  58. Lubos,

    (Americans are removed from the reality of life in Europe; so I have a question about what you wrote above...)

    "...2) many of us wouldn't think that it's such a dramatic deterioration to switch from Brussels to Moscow as the external "hyper-capital". ;-)"

    Would your hypothesized switch of "hyper-capital"s have an effect on ordinary Czech citizens? I know it is an equation of what-you-get vs what-you-give, but is there a quanta benefit that Czech Republic gets from the EU?

  59. It is not similar to Ukraine, in that Ukraine had separate protection guarantees in exchange for giving up its nuclear weapons.

  60. Dear Michael, I think that the likes of Cameron or Hollande see different threats to the EU, e.g. if someone uses incandescent light bulbs.

    It's very popular to talk about Putin as a new Hitler but at some moment, it's very bad if the participants of such discussions don't realize that this talk is retarded and inconsistent.

    You say that Europe would respond *because* Putin would be like a new Hitler. But this is a completely illogical stupidity. If there were really a new Hitler, he would manage to do exactly what Hitler did. Western powers would sign treaties that he can take any territories he wants, he would be allowed to take over most of Europe within months, and keep it at least for many years.

    The very fact that this is not what they are planning to do with Putin shows that they don't really believe he is a new Hitler. Instead, people like you treat Russia and its leaders as dolls into which it is fashionable for all stupid and brainwashed cowards to kick (Russians are treated pretty much just like the Jews in the Nazi Germany) - I assure you that Hitler would have never gotten this treatment from whole nations, mostly due to fear.

  61. Dear Jim, loud people across parties etc. - most likely including myself - would of course vent their anger about the new supervision.

    Up to the moment when such a criticism would be "effectively discouraged" in some way, much like it was discourged so many times in the past. Most Czechs ultimately find out that they are just fine under any hyper-capital - we are an adaptive nation.

    Of course that most of the criticism against Russia is being voiced because it's completely legal and in fact, many people clearly profit from such a "popular" talk. It is to a large extent analogous to the criticism of the Western countries that people would offer during communism. I don't say that such "advantages" for the critics of the other bloc are institutionally helped by the constitution etc. - they are not - but in practice, when the power balance and fads are taken into account, they profit in a similar way.

    Every year, Czechia pays about $2 billion to the EU budget and gets about $5 billion, so it continues to be a net recipient. You may see lots of construction projects, roads, bridges, reconstructions of old buildings across our landscape etc. with billboards saying that it was funded or co-funded by the EU. Over one-third of this money was really taken from our pockets, so the full amounts overstate the money flows.

    The net inflows of order $3 billion a year are about 1% of the Czech GDP. It is not quite negligible but it is not a game-changer, either.

    Of course, the role of Western mother companies of our companies is extremely important - much of the economy would be in deep šit if most of these relationships (or even trade with the rest of Europe) were seriously suppressed. 2/3 of our GDP is exported.

    Concerning regulation and harmonized laws, I think that most of them make Czechia a worse place than without these laws.

  62. No Lumo, you misunderstand. It was likely a mistake to invoke the name of Hitler, but my point is that the EU would perceive an outright attack on Sweden as an existential threat. America is always looking for an excuse to play with their (military) toys. That is a dangerous stew. I perceive that Putin is smart enough to avoid that outcome. That is what my point was. You are maybe a bit too eager to project upon people your own prejudices regarding American attitudes toward Putin. I, for one, do not agree with that paradigm. Putin is merely playing the cards that are dealt him. Apparently he is playing chess while the West is playing checkers

  63. Dear Michael, playing chess well includes to sometimes employ dramatic moves, for example checkmate. How many great chess players who have avoided checkmate do you know? ;-) So I don't really agree that it's "always smart" to avoid big moves for someone who is playing chess.

    Even if the EU - or anyone else - thought that there was an existential threat in something, it doesn't mean that it would use the most straightforward plan that may mitigate it - but that may also make things much worse.

    At the end, I don't really understand what the phrase "existential threat for the EU" means. The members of the EU are constantly being added - and may be subtracted - so the EU isn't surely defined in the long run by its territory. It's also undefined by the policies and philosophy which are changing really dramatically, usually in the ever worse direction in recent years.

  64. Well, Michael, please note that I said that Putin's testing Obama's and the EU's resolve to support Sweden. At the moment I don't believe that Russia is an immediate threat to Sweden. However, the steadily increasing Russian military presence on and inside Swedish territorial borders that's going on now isn't without consequences for Sweden as well as NATO.
    Should Russia occupy Sweden it'd have serious ramifications for the strategic balance in the Northern Polar and Scandinavian regions. Russia would have driven a wedge between two NATO members (Norway, Denmark) and would have access to a backdoor into Finland.

    Kowtowing to Putin isn't gonna do the trick. Putin's got two main assets to my mind.
    (1) Putin hates islamism and he's hell bent on annihilating the islamists threatening Russia.
    (2) Putin couldn't care less about climate alarmism and he isn't gonna lift a finger to "mitigate" non-existing threats to the global climate.

    Otherwise Putin's closing down segments of the internet, curtailing free speech, threatening human rughts, closing down independent media, smacking down hard on international organizations active in Russia, defining them as "spies" and "agents." This kind of panicky behavior speaks volumes of Putin's mindset.

    Over and above what I said in the paragraph above, Putin seems to be a nice enough bloke, having spent quite some extended vacation time in Dresden before the fall of communism, associating with unsuspecting Dresdeners and chatting with them about the weather. Of course, we call that spying on behalf of the KGB but that shouldn't deter Putin's stupid apologists from their deranged rants about Putin the Realpolitik genius.

  65. Hmmm, still with the world-wide Jewish conspiracy theories, Shannon? Did the wandering jew just stroll by your window?
    Perhaps you should just expand your views of
    hierarchical religions to be all inclusive, like I do, but right now, like Christopher Hitchens' views, I see the spread of Islam as the most worrying. Proximately, the bizarre Christian fundamentalism in the USA is also worrying.
    Of course Catholicism has always been ridiculous, with its myriads of saints, pseudo-saints, and Scientology-esque mind control, but it is now sooo passe, and the current Pope actually seems to be decent.

  66. Wow thanks Lubos !
    I have learned something new.
    Interestingly my ratio at 1.03 is also far into the female territory ... Can it be that a majority of TRF readers shares that statistical property ?
    But I have a question.
    I noticed your answer to comrade Andrew and appreciated that you rightly recognised his soudružský status.
    Have you an idea where in the space time is he coming from ? And if yes, can you tell ?
    The temporal coordinate seemed to me to be the most important one and I am sure that you noticed *it* too.
    First I thought this guy (or girl ?) sounded like Rudé Právo from the deep 50ies.
    All the crap we heard as kids about "class consciousness" (that would be us), imperialist oppression (that would be the others), the leading role of the Party presided by the noble comrade Andrew (that would be the overlords), the just fight for human rights (that would be the executions) etc etc.
    But then I realised that he was actually worse than that, he was a carricature.
    All those badly assimilated and badly misunderstood elements of Marxism-Leninism coming out with badly inconsistent and circular arguments - even comrade Gottwald (and he was just a drunken moron) would have avoided such an amateurism.
    God, poor comrade Andrew, I could still run circles around him as far as Marxism-Leninism is concerned.
    I could give him lessons of class consciousness, the proletarian justice (important this one !) and much more.
    I have learned all that really well - I had to ....
    But somehow the only thing I feel for comrade Andrew is pity.
    The kind of pity one feels for a crippled and disabled person while it is not her fault that she is so.
    Did you feel the same way Lubos ?

  67. Dear Tom, I am honored to have a similar digit ratio as you! ;-) Whether this is the "cause" of our agreement concerning the "class consciousness" will remain an open question for me LOL.

    Yes, I feel kind of compassionate in these cases. It's like I would love to help them in some way because the misunderstanding of basic things about "why the world couldn't work in some completely different way" must be a source of immense torture for everyone. That's really why I sometimes get upset - it's about my perceived inability to help someone who is in this kind of trouble.

  68. Translation: Women are too stupid to realize how oppressed they are.

  69. Finland still has a reserve of ca. 240.000, because there is universal conscription. This is just the right number to defend a ca. 400 km border from a typical Soviet deployment, at least according to the Soviet strategy described in General Pentti Syrjä's book Gruppa Finljandija. (Relevancy to current Russia is left as an exercise to the reader.) 30.000 is only the skeleton crew in deep peacetime. I think it would be relatively easy to increase. For instance President Paasikivi had an army of 50.000 at his disposal in the late 1940s.

  70. Meanwhile in Finland: budget cuts leading to reduced air force deployments means that the F/A-18 Hornets that are supposed to defend Helsinki and the rest of the southern coast are stationed in Rissala near Kuopio, which is ~400 km from Helsinki. Given that Russian airplanes fly right past Helsinki every day (above international waters) that is just ridiculous. The last and most serious airspace violation wasn't a navigational mistake; the plane came within bomb-dropping range of the southern coast, which includes strategic targets like Helsinki, the Kilpilahti refinery, port of Kotka and Hamina, etc. It was an impudent threat, to "steer" Finnish politicians, while the Finnish populace continue believing in the Paasikivi-Kekkonen line. Due to the policy of neutrality, the West could do nothing. No second-strike capability (A single Iskander + the current Hornet base, Helsinki-Vantaa = ...). Swedish and Finnish neutrality is, in fact, a very dangerous and aggressive policy that should be backed with appropriate preparation and weaponry, and it's not.

    The depressing thing is that Finland is actually good, see my other comment. Sweden has pretty much dismantled its military, thinking peacekeeping operations is all that will ever happen. Most European NATO countries are completely relying on USA, whose interests are not always aligned. The assertion that Russia's actions are "small" is misguided, since that assumes the EU countries could resist Russian enroachments. You're thinking the EU has a strong sloping earthern wall that requires climbing to overcome; more likely it's like a paper house that you can poke a pen through. In other words, the function of resistance vs. response isn't continuous. Small perturbations in such systems are fail-deadly, causing chaotic unraveling with much energy released.

  71. OT(ish):

    Dear Luboš,

    Not physics exactly — but just to show the quiminazis are bitching on all fronts (a new salient in Operation Überbitch?): Did Bach’s wife write his finest works? :)

    For myself — I think women are wonderful, simply wonderful. I love 'em. Just imagine what it would be like without them!

    We wouldn't have any porn for a start, and I'd probably have to do my own cooking, iron my own shirts and tidy up after myself. Well blow that!

    Thanks, ladies. :)

    P.S. Gents, please to pile in on that link. See if you can top my number of upticks.

  72. Man.. People overrates the Swedish defensive capebilities. Yes, in the contex the military is small like most thing from Sweden in comparision but why is it always seem bad? Sweden is one of the most technologicly advanced nation which also applies to the army. I'm not really worried, yes help will be needed after a short time and definetly not after just one week already. That statement i belive was just a way to pressure the government to realise they need to care and invest more in the military.

    They russian army unlike Sweden is pretty outdated (basically WW2 material) and will be so for another 10 years. In deed they need further improvments in different areas to strenghten it's different capebilites to better ensure. But right now the army is doing fine work. No matter what Russia wouldn't dare to go further to worry Sweden than doing these minor violations. Don't underestimate Sweden.

  73. The author is whether highly ignorant of the situation in Ukraine or, he is a simply a russian stooge who is working for the russian propaganda machine.

  74. Lubos,

    Thought you might find this interesting:

  75. This ape only makes idiot comments or talks in innuendo. I maybe dim but what is LMC can't be LOWER MIDDLE CLASS can it? If so why you as he sent me the identical message on a different subject 5 mins ago !! ie Very LMC ! Hilarious. here is some more about new Putin plan.