Most of our viewers have either forgotten or never experienced a world, in which left-wing ideas influenced the international political discourse. But it once existed.
In the late 60s the unity of the western world, or the “free world”, as it liked to call itself, experienced the unintended and ever growing fallout from the attack of the USA on a small country in Indochina. The Vietnam War, although officially never declared, became the starting point of a tidal wave of protests in the western democratic countries.
It was mainly the young generation protesting against an establishment which had started or supported this war. In Germany a whole generation received its name from these events, as the protest of the “68er” soon became much more than demonstrations against a military operation. It became a cultural civil war in the political sphere, dominated by the then most powerful, but not the only existing superpower, the USA, which had the Soviet Union as its adversary, a superpower led by concrete blockheads, which was not the alternative role model it pretended to be.
The US attack against Vietnam turned out be an attack on itself, a war against the credibility of the western world in US dominated NATO countries. In most nations the students demonstrated against their governments. In Sweden it was the Social Democratic Prime Minister Olof Palme, who led the demonstrations against the Vietnam war, marching with the ambassador of North Vietnam beside him. A picture US politicians would never forget. Richard Nixon used to call Palme “that Swedish asshole”.
Sweden belonged to the western world, but it was not a member of NATO. A powerful Swedish elite was, however, as we know now, by means of clandestine diplomacy “a secret member” of NATO since early 60s. Had there been an attack of the USSR on Europe, this Swedish elite would have tried to make Sweden an unsinkable aircraft carrier for the USA although not yet attacked by the Soviets. On the other hand, parts of Sweden were seaking a true neutrality, which would deny the US access to Swedish air bases if not attacked by the Soviets.
But no one was stronger than Olof Palme in bringing the concept of true neutrality and non-alignment to life. Under his rule Sweden became a worldwide household name, the symbol for a “third road” between capitalism and communism, an independent socialist policy between the ideologies of US led NATO and the USSR led Warsaw pact.
Social Democracy then was very different from the ruin it is today. Olof Palme´s Sweden had an unsurpassed international importance and influence, which even meant power to some degree. Sweden was a role model. It´s power came from the ideas and the social democratic reality of a truly peaceful country in which the state fulfilled it´s obligations in it´s domestic policy to a degree not known anywhere else.
But it also fulfilled an international role, as the world´s ideological leader of the non-aligned world, urging the abolishment of NATO and Warsaw Pact, and nuclear disarmament.
The social democratic Sweden became powerful as the role model for the “Prague spring” uprisal of the then soviet ruled Czechoslovakia, helping independence movements worldwide, especially the ANC of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, but also the leftist rebels in Angola and Mosambique, the Palestinians and many more. Palme was hailed in Cuba, and when he visited Nicaragua after the Sandinistas took over, the whole government was lined up at the airport to greet him.
Palmes independent and successful policies made him the target of the USA. In the end, a US led psychological warfare operation of Ronald Reagan, aimed against the non-aligned, independent, socialist Sweden led to the murder of Olof Palme.
And with the death of Palme Sweden ceased to be the moral superpower of the world.
In a series of interviews with Swedish intellectuals “KenFM International” host Dirk Pohlmann will explore this forgotten world and the US led heinous “regime change” coup against Olof Palme´s Sweden.
The first interview is with Ulf Svensson, a left-leaning diplomat under Olof Palme and Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Office of Security Policy and Disarmament. Svensson implemented the Vietnam policy of Olof Palme and was responsible for the “Common Security” conference in 1983, which brought together politicians from USA and USSR, from NATO, WP and non-aligned countries as well as security scholars and peace researchers. The “Common Security” policy, developed mainly by Egon Bahr on request of Olof Palme and strongly favoured by Michail Gorbachev, was stalled by the submarine incursions into Swedish waters of allegedly soviet submarines, which recently turned out to be submarines under US and British commad. Svensson was also a Swedish diplomat in Yugoslavia, then under Marshal Tito another important non-aligned state in the crosshairs of the USA.
Svenssons experience from working at the core policies of Sweden under Olof Palme, which directed the ire of the USA at the Scandinavian country is a good starter for the exploration of a lost world of left-wing intellectual leadership.
KenFM strives for a broad spectrum of opinions. Opinion articles and guest contributions do not have to reflect the views of the editorial staff.
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