//www.youtube.com/embed/a2idVI73ais?rel=0One of the most well-known songs from Kristina från Duvemåla, Benny Andersson’s wonderful musical about the Swedish emmigration to the US during the 1800s.


The relationship between Sweden and the US has a complicated history, ranging back all the way to the massive emmigrations during the 1800s, to the sharp criticism during the Palme administration, which was done in parallel to secret alliances and collaborations not known by the public. Since then, the relationships have become more openly friendly, and today a new level of interaction has been reached: Barack Obama, a sitting US president, is visiting Sweden in a bilateral visit for the very first time.

This has been followed by lots of debate about what we are going to use the visit for. And, many people have believed that no tough questions will be asked, and that the important issues – drone strikes, NSA surveillance, Syria, etc – will be avoided, to keep a warm and cosey athmosphere. For these reasons, there have been a lot of pressure from various places, and e.g. Anna Troberg, the leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, wrote an excellent debate article on the topic, saying that we need to pressure them regarding surveillance. I also recently wrote an open letter to Carl Bildt, pressuring him to step up and act on the global arena – as Sweden has had the good reputation of doing in the past – and not just brag about all the different meetings he is attending.

And…lo and behold, I just discovered that The Guardian is running this story, where it says the following:

Answering a question at a joint press conference with Swedish prime
minister Frederik Reinfeldt on Wednesday, Obama said there were
“legitimate questions” about the NSA. He said existing laws may not be
sufficient to deal with advances in technology that have allowed the NSA
to gather much more data than before. There have been calls for new legislation from members of Congress to
limit the powers of the NSA, but this is the first time that Obama has
hinted he might back such a move.

In other words, Reinfeldt did end up asking questions about this topic, and this has led Obama to – for the first time – acknowledge that things may need to be done in this direction. A wonderful example of my favourite principle: “When the people lead, the leaders can follow!” And I am a little bit more proud to be a Swede again 🙂