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War Rhetoric in Sweden Driving Some to Paranoia

Recent bellicose statements from Swedish officials (see separate report have initiated a debate in the country after it was reported that their statements caused panic among some of the public. Swedish Civil Defense Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin said on Jan. 8 that “there could be war in Sweden” with Russia, and demanded citizens prepare, even suggesting that they join local defense organizations. Bohlin’s comments were then backed up by Sweden’s commander of the armed forces Gen. Micael Byden a few days later, when he gave an address and showed pictures of bombed out buildings in Ukraine, asking: “Do you believe that this could be Sweden?” He called on Swedes to “mentally prepare for war.”

Shortly after this, Swedes began to panic. It’s reported that grocery store chains saw a dramatic increase in items associated with emergencies, such as radios and camping stoves, with many reporting emptied out shelves. Children’s rights organization Bris said its hotline began receiving a large number of calls from youth worried about a coming war, and wondering what they should do. Bris spokeswoman Maja Dahl blasted the emotional appeals: “They should have provided information meant for kids when they come out with this kind of information for grown-ups,” Dahl told BBC. Bris general secretary Magnus Jagerskog said: “Many children already have a level of anxiety that was made worse by this news,” reported the Daily Tribune.

Former Swedish prime minister and the current opposition leader Magdalena Andersson also weighed in, telling an interviewer on TV4: “This is a serious situation but it’s also important to be clear that it’s not like war is at the door.”

What’s been left unsaid by all coverage of these events, however, is that this is exactly the kind of “mental preparation” which today’s war party intends to promote across the trans-Atlantic in their efforts to scale-up for war with Russia.