The trailblazer taking on Putin in the Baltic
While “strategic autonomy” is a relatively new buzzword in Brussels, Fortress Sweden was once its embodiment: historically nonaligned, outside of NATO, with citizens prepared to fend off superpowers in a “total defense” posture. Yet today, Stockholm is emerging as a forceful advocate for deepening Western military partnerships in the face of growing threats from Moscow and Beijing.
So even as Skoog Haslum, chief of the navy since January 2020, oversees the biggest expansion of the marine defenses since the Cold War, she is keeping tight ties with the U.S. and Brexit Britain.
Skoog Haslum, 52, the first woman to lead a branch of the Swedish armed forces, is also waging a quieter campaign for a new vision of “total defense,” one in which citizens are hardened against disinformation, psy-ops and the personal instability that can fray society from the edges in.
“Globalization has of course made us dependent on others,” she said in a video call from Stockholm. “We can’t be independent as we maybe were before.”
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