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Look What You've Done, Carl Bildt!
When you find yourself in the thick of it... Based on an idea by Lena Mellin.
Carl Bildt! Really. You could have just pretended you were young and stupid and gung-ho US. Then you wouldn't have the mess you have today.
But you didn't do that. What you did instead was disingenuous, arrogant, and scornful. You created your own mess. And that was stupid.
You're a fast talker. We all know that. And that often gives you a step up in direct confrontations. But when Aftonbladet (Josefin and Johannes) interviewed you about your contacts with the US embassy in the 1970s, you were a bit too fast. You blew it.
You said in that interview that what you told Kissinger's special envoy Ronald Woods was nothing special, the type of stuff found every day in every newspaper.
Oops. For Aftonbladet had already researched the matter and could show that absolutely nothing was leaked from those sessions. All the papers did back then was speculate about what was going on - no one knew, and for a very good reason.
[One of the foremost reasons was the constituency for the leading Centre Party: they got the votes - and led the others to victory - precisely because they categorically opposed nuclear energy, whilst the governing social democrats did not (and refused to look further into the matter). This wasn't the only reason the social democrats lost, but it's the reason that mattered most to the Centre Party. The Centre Party could not be seen to compromise on what their voters regarded as a 'no compromise' issue - they'd risk losing everything. Ed.]
Two of the party leaders from back then are still around. Your mentor and part-time father-in-law Gösta Bohman has passed on, but Centre Party leader Thorbjörn Fälldin is still around, and Liberal Party leader Per Ahlmark is still around, and they both refute you. Fälldin states unequivocally that those were closed door sessions, that there was a high level of security, and that what was going on was certainly not meant for consumption by a foreign power.
Josefin Sköld took the time to go back in time through all the papers back then - through DN.se, Expressen, and SvD - and search for anything about those 1976 sessions. And no, nowhere could anything be found.
One needn't bear one's teenage crimes throughout one's life, Carl dear. Should you have been smarter and said you - most likely - were 1) young; 2) naïve; 3) a bit too keen in playing obedient lapdog for the US: then yes, the whole affair would have blown over you almost immediately.
A story that's 37 years old has to make its way onto the pile of forgotten historical anecdotes.
But no. You panicked, did a bit of improv, your mouth was again faster than your brain, and you made up stuff that could easily be fact-checked and debunked - like that bizarre 'unconstitutional' remark you made to Jennifer Robinson at Almedalen, remember? The Swedish papers in September and October of 1976 were so not full of articles about those closed door sessions - the doors were closed.
Some of the papers speculated a bit, but no more. They had no more to print. That was the idea. And the speculation proved to be way off the mark.
And you, who somehow got to sit at daddy Bohman's side through the whole thing, were surely present and accounted for when those three party leaders agreed that everything must be kept secret. And Gösta would of course have pointed this out to you one time, two times, three times. Sorry, Carl, but you are, for lack of a better word, a liar.
Should you not want to formally admit you lied, you must at least admit that you actually did not tell the truth. But that's not the end of it, unfortunately. You reacted with arrogance and scorn. That's what really blew it.
Your best soundbite was undoubtedly the following:
'There are those who think it's good sport to try to nail Carl Bildt, but you have to be a bit better than that to get him. Going after Carl Bildt is nothing for beginners.'
You created your own mess, Carl Bildt. A bit of common humility and you'd have avoided it all.
[Carl Bildt could never in his wildest dream have reckoned with those secret dealings with the US embassy someday coming to light. But once we'd been given Collateral Murder and the Afghan War Diaries, his Langley friends certainly warned him of the danger. Carl Bildt's reaction - panic, arrogance, scorn - were to be expected. And when one factors in the fact that the PlusD materials were actually online all along (albeit in an extremely user-unfriendly form) then one realises he must have felt the heat in his trousers each day, every day. What Carl Bildt did was an act of betrayal - he betrayed his mentor and employer Gösta Bohman, his colleagues Thorbjörn Fälldin and Per Ahlmark, and his country. None but the most despicable of human beings runs to and sucks up to foreign powers, and shows them more loyalty than to one's own countrymen. Period.]
Hold your head up you silly boy
Look what you've done
When you find yourself in the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you
- Paul McCartney