A potpourri of Nordic news follows: some of it universal, usually COVID-19-related; and some regional and even country specific.
As a result, we get a mishmash of political correctness and common sense.
As far as COVID-19, the pandemic continues to claim its toll in Scandinavia.
Sweden’s minimalist, and socially Darwinist, approach has garnered applause because of its relative mildness, or, if you will, because it is not Austria’s overreaction to the disease.
But, as I have said, it is a relative mildness. Newsflash: Stockholm has gone cyborg with its COVID-19 resonse: one can now implant a microchip listing his or her vaccination record into their hand.
Also, the Swedish stepped up their anti-pandemic measures already before Christmas. Old restrictions are back. Because of the latest bout of Omicron, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) put Sweden on its warning list of undesirable European destinations.
Meanwhile, with the highest infection rate in Europe, Norway has also been struggling with a new wave of the coronavirus. It has introduced a bar/restaurant prohibition on alcohol and deployed its army to facilitate the administering of vaccinations.
Norwegian health authorities have admitted that the usual COVID passport is useless because of the new Omicron variant.
Despite many guests being vaccinated, a Christmas party in Oslo turned into a super spreader event, prompting the Norwegian government to tighten its pandemic restrictions even further.
Denmark and Finland pretty much keep their tough restrictions in place, making them more stringent as needed.
On the non-COVID-19 front, there is good news and bad news out of Copenhagen.
The Danes have figured out a way to deal with the criminal portion of its legal and illegal immigrants. The idea is to dispatch hundreds of them to a prison in Kosovo which is run by the Danish.
It may not because the Danish woke are vigilant. And they call the shots all too often.
For example, a former prime minister of Denmark has just been sent to prison.
What was Inger Støjberg’s crime? She disallowed male migrants to bring along child brides and separated the couples in immigration centers to prevent child abuse.
Now Støjberg will serve time, but she has no regrets. Good for her.
On the other hand, Finland’s female prime minister, Sanna Marin, says she’s sorry.
She got busted partying maskless in violation of her own COVID-19 strictures.
She’s not sorry, however, that her nation has put on trial a Lutheran bishop for upholding traditional Christian teachings on family and alternative lifestyles.
This is plainly an assault on religious freedom.
Norway, meanwhile, has officially endorsed a gay Santa Claus.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles in Scandinavia now.
Sweden has just elected its first female prime minister, Magdalena Andersson.
Technically, her first stint as the head of the government lasted less than eight hours. Andersson resigned but, on the following day, she was duly re-elected to head a one-party minority government.
She’ll have her hands full not only with COVID. Her government promises to build bridges for animals to circumvent highway traffic. Interesting.
However, it will also investigate two scholars who researched sexual assaults and discovered that most rapes are perpetrated by immigrants.
The offense, "conducting and publishing illegal research."
Similar findings pertain to the question of gang violence: "The risk of being registered as an offender is greatest among persons born in Sweden to two non-native parents, followed by persons born abroad. . . The risk of being registered as a crime suspect is 2.5 times as high among persons born abroad as it is among persons born in Sweden to two native-born parents. For persons born in Sweden to two non-native parents, the risk is just over 3 times as high."
Most significantly, Scandinavia has been strengthening its defense as a consequence of Russia’s belligerence. Norway has recently strengthened its military ties to the U.S. as far as anti-submarine warfare. Denmark remains as firmly committed to NATO as ever and counters Moscow’s Nordstream-2 with the Baltic Pipeline.
Finland has just bought 64 F-35s from the U.S. – Helsinki’s most serious arms deal ever. Sweden has improved the readiness of its armed forces, most notably keeping Gotland remilitarized.
All in all, Scandinavia flows as the rest of the West, for better or worse.
But each Nordic nation sports its own characteristics.
Perhaps the most important is that they wish to remain sovereign, hence they arm themselves. Common sense beats political correctness, at least here.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe's Three Seas region; author, among others, of "Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas." Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz's Reports — More Here.
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