Sweden Imposes Military Draft, Citing ‘Threat’ of Russia

DM: Trouble Filling Military Ranks With Volunteers

Just under seven years after abandoning the practice of military conscription for men, the Swedish government has announced it is imposing a new draft, starting in 2018, which will cover both men and women. They say the goal is 13,000 called up per year, with 4,000 of them receiving training.

Officially, the Swedish government is blaming Russia for the imposition of a new draft, saying that Russia is posing a “growing threat” to the Baltic region, and leading to a “deteriorating security environment.” It is hard to see, however, how 4,000 additional troops for the nation will make a huge difference militarily, particularly when Sweden and Russia aren’t on particularly bad terms.

Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist was a bit more frank about the real reason for the new draft, however, confirming on public radio that they were having trouble attracting enough volunteers to the military to staff it fully “and that needs to be addressed somehow.”

The “somehow,” like with every other military wish in Europe and North America, is to act unilaterally and blame Russia. This is a calculated risk for the leftist government, however, as the lack of volunteers reflects that many younger Swedes don’t want to be in the military, and forcing them to do so will doubtless be unpopular.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.