Swedes may not think they have something to offer

published Sep 16, 2005 07:07   by admin ( last modified Sep 16, 2005 07:07 )
Michael Moynihan blogs at Stambord about how half all Swedes who responded to an on-line poll did not want to give emergency aid to the US in connection with the Katrina Hurricane.

However I'm not so sure the reason people have answered they way they have, has so much to to do with anti americanism. I believe this for two reasons:

1) The on-line readership of Aftonbladet. Aftonbladet is a left-wing tabloid voicing a lot of anti American views. But the on-line readership (the freeriders so to speak) is not as left wing as the paper, and its meatspace readers at all. On line polls at Aftonbladet about which party is preferred is regularly and easily carried by the non socialist parties, which is counterintuitive. The on-line readership of Swedish newspapers is male and anti socialist by and large, and this is true for Aftonbladet as well. It is therefore likely that their on line readership is also pro-American (in symmetry with the anti socialist part, not necessarily the gender part).

2) Many people over here have underestimated the scale of the hurricane and maybe overestimated the resources of the U.S. itself. The idea that the U.S. would need help is probably seen as preposterous by many. Offering aid in such a scenario would just be a token, a sign of solidarity, but offering no real physical relief. There are ample resources in the country already, the thinking goes. I think that is the line of reasoning by many of the respondents. There is a healthy (or unhealthy) number of Swedes who see anything offered beyond actual, material help as fluff, a bit like offering oil to Norway. (There is also a fair number of left leaning Swedes who do grandstanding and try to take the higher moral ground on the backs of stronger and more decisive powers. But that fluff is another story).