His Excellency Peter Hultqvist joined the Johns Hopkins SAIS community for a discussion on European security and transatlantic relations. Hultqvist gave an overview of longstanding ties between the US and Sweden, noting that the nations share a commitment to respect for human rights, democracy, and the international order established after World War II.
Sweden has undertaken many responsibilities for the global good, Hultqvist said. The nation is currently working to deepen its international relationships and upgrade its military capabilities in order to protect stability in the region. European cooperation on security was dealt a setback when Russia annexed Crimea and began stirring conflict in Ukraine, he said. Russia's increased military activity in the Arctic is also putting pressure on its neighbors.
Hal Brands of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs asked if Russian incursions would convince Sweden to formally join NATO, to which Hultqvist argued that growing NATO would upset the balance of power and provoke Russia into more aggression. Vali Nasr asked for the Swedish perspective on the fight against ISIS and the challenge of integrating refugees in Europe. Hultqvist explained Sweden's contributions to the campaign against ISIS in Iraq and highlighted Sweden's leadership in the resettlement of refugees from Syria. Additional questions touched on cybersecurity and the Arctic Council.
His Excellency Peter Hultqvist, Minister for Defense of Sweden Hal Brands, Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs, SAIS Vali Nasr, Dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS