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Sweden's Security Policy: Engagement - the Middle Way

01 October 1997
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Since 1814, Sweden's security policy has been anchored to varying degrees of neutrality. Throughout this timeperiod, its interpretation has been flexible and trademarked by an ability to adjust to different external conditions; effectively enabling the country to combine participation in international affairs with an adherence to non-alignment.

In this paper, Sweden's evolving foreign and security policy will be analyzed from a sequential point of view, using the "origins" of Swedish neutrality as the date of departure. Specifically, it will be shown that Sweden's policies, following a step-by-step process, have gradually moved towards greater involvement and participation in European security matters. The period after the Cold War will be particularly emphasized, using three stages (transition, entering the framework, and taking initiative) to demonstrate the evolving pattern. In the final section of the paper, some of the outstanding factors (ranging from budget cuts to NATO enlargement) will be addressed to provide an idea of where the issues may drift in the future.

However, before embarking on this task, it is helpful to retract somewhat in time and consider the origins of Sweden's neutrality to build some reference.