According to a recent report in The Local, a highly-regarded source of Swedish news in English: Due to the historic murders of Prime Minister Olof Palme and Foreign Minister Anna Lindh , Sweden has been labelled as a "high risk" country by a US security team in the lead-up to President Obama 's official visit in September.
Here are a few higher-risk-than-Sweden locations which are not normally publicly noted as such: The entire United States of America, particularly its South and the Obama home city of Chicago, the murder capital; the entire Middle East, particularly Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan; the Far East, particularly the Koreas and China; the American neighbor Mexico, particularly along the border; Russia, particularly Moscow and anywhere else near Vladimir Putin; and, for that matter, nearly anywhere else in the world -- except Scandinavia, and particularly Sweden.
The tragic murders of Olof Palme and Anna Lindh, many years apart, stand out exactly because they are so exceptionally unusual in Sweden, a nation of gun control, with the historic tradition of treating its national leaders, and its citizens, with respect. Both of these assassinations were so traumatic that they are still treated today as aberrations, in total violation of Swedish traditions.
But then, perhaps it is not surprising that the Obama special security team, which roams the world in advance of American presidential visits abroad, would so misjudge Sweden and the Swedish people. After all, some members of this team have so much else to consider, as in Columbia when official time was spent recruiting and then partying with high-end hookers. Not to even mention all of that time and effort spent to monitor the conversations and emails of world leaders -- such as those of the G20 nations, who will meet again in September in Russia.
So, speaking as someone who divides his time between Sweden and the United States each year, let me reassure the advance presidential security team as to the safety of Barack Obama here in Sweden. This has been a nation which respects human dignity, and the rule of law, for many centuries. Sweden is also a nation which respects, and protects, the rights of all of its citizens, including their right to privacy, which is more than can be said of the United States for some years now. Swedes are indeed shocked by the intrusive spying on Americans by their own government, in violation of law, custom, and the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.
While there can never be absolute guarantees of safety for any world leader anywhere, President Obama can expect to be considerably safer in Sweden than in his home country. He can also expect to find many profound questions awaiting him here, as to how his administration is handling, or mis-handling, its responsibilities to the rest of the world. Lycka till, Barack!.