Peace Magazine: No Nuclear Weapons in Nordic NATO

Peace Magazine

No Nuclear Weapons in Nordic NATO

In a reaction against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO and the application is being ratified rapidly by the other member states. Two other Scandinavian countries, Denmark and Norway, are founding members of the alliance, but they have never allowed nuclear weapons to be based on their territory. Would Sweden and Finland take the same position upon joining?

• published Jan 01, 2023 • last edit Apr 11, 2023

In a reaction against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO and the application is being ratified rapidly by the other member states. Two other Scandinavian countries, Denmark and Norway, are founding members of the alliance, but they have never allowed nuclear weapons to be based on their territory. Would Sweden and Finland take the same position upon joining?

On November 1, 2022, General Micael Bydén, Sweden’s supreme commander, was asked in a press conference about the prospect that Sweden would host nuclear weapons. He declared that he was advising the government not to set any preconditions, even as to whether the country is willing to accept such weapons on its soil. However, this announcement was promptly countered by the Swedish Foreign Minister, Tobias Billstrom, who stated that his country would follow in the footsteps of Denmark and Norway, banning such weapons from Sweden.

Finland takes the same position. On November 18, Sauli Niinistö, Finland’s president and commander-in-chief of the Finnish Armed Forces (FAF), said that Finland has no intention of allowing nuclear weapons to be located on its territory.

Source: SABA News; Sverges Radio

OUR POPULATION PASSES 8 BILLION

The human population now exceeds 8 billion and is growing by over 70 million per year, with 80 percent of it in the poorest countries. Africa has the highest fertility rates and population growth.

If a nation’s fertility declines rapidly, its savings increase and its businesses can borrow and expand, creating jobs and building a middle class. For example, South Korea and Thailand’s economies have grown this way, while lowering their carbon footprint.

Most people today know about contraception, but not everyone uses it. We need to educate girls, stop child marriage, and make family planning services available everywhere.

Source: William Ryerson, Population Media Center, and The Hill, Nov. 14, 2022

PUBLIC OPINION IN RUSSIA

The Chicago Council on World Affairs released on December 12, 2022 a public opinion survey by Dina Smeltz, Emily Sullivan, Denis Volkov, and Stephan Goncharov. Its key findings are:

• Three-quarters of Russians actively or passively support the Russian military operation in Ukraine (74%).
• But an increasing percentage are unsure of the reasons behind the ongoing military action and what benefits it might bring to the country.
• A narrow majority of 53 percent of Russians think the operation in Ukraine has been successful, compared to 31 percent who say it has been unsuccessful.
• By a 5 to 4 ratio, Russians think their government should start peace negotiations (53% vs. 41%) over continuing the special military operation.
• When Russians are reminded of the costs associated with the war, they also express a preference for negotiations. Russians prefer peace negotiations over continued fighting that would bring the deaths of more Russian soldiers (62% vs. 31%) or higher prices for Russian households (53% vs. 41%).
• Despite some support for negotiations, the territorial concessions that Russia would likely be asked to make are unpopular. Solid majorities say it is unacceptable for Russia to return Crimea (78%) or the occupied Donbas region to Ukraine (66%).

Source: Fred Weir post in Facebook

ARCTIC LAKES DISAPPEAR

As ice melts in the Arctic, there should be more surface water, so lakes should be growing. But not so. A paper in Nature Climate Change by Elizabeth Webb was based on satellite imagery. It says lakes have shrunk or disappeared completely across 82 percent of the Arctic’s lake-rich regions. Some large lakes, having existed for millennia shrank drastically in what appears to have been only months.

The cause? The ground is becoming more permeable. There are always spaces between particles of rock and minerals in the soil, and in most regions of the world, the surface water drains into them. But in the Arctic those pore spaces are filled with ice. When it thaws, water can flow downward, as elsewhere. The northern lakes are seeping into the soil below, which may deprive some indigenous communities of fresh water.

Source: December 2022 issue, Scientific American

Published in Peace Magazine Vol.39, No.1: Jan-Mar 2023
Archival link: http://www.peacemagazine.org/archive/index.php?id=2942.htm
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