There have recently been news about US protests over Sweden signing an anti-nuclear treaty:

US Secretary of Defence James Mattis sent a letter to Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist warning the Nordic nation of a negative impact on relations should they sign an anti-nuclear bomb treaty, according to a report in a Swedish newspaper.

However the entire concept of Sweden (which is a nation without nuclear weapons) signing an agreement against nuclear bombs seems silly to me. Non-nuclear nations are definitely not in a position to force the nuclear ones to give up their weapons and since they didn't own nukes in the first place their signature wouldn't really affect anything.

Note that Sweden has already signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, so they're already committed to avoid developing their own bombs. Hence any new agreements could only be useful if they convince other nations to drop their nuclear programs.

So what's the point of this anti-nuclear treaty? What do the countries signing it hope to achieve?

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    Sweden was well on the way to develop their own nuclear weapons. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_nuclear_weapons_program – liftarn Sep 1 '17 at 12:20
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    If this is already silly, then a potential US protest over it would be silly squared, wouldn't it? – Trilarion Sep 1 '17 at 12:35
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    Ok, but this could apply to Sweden too. – Trilarion Sep 1 '17 at 13:00
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    They're fools. NATO and the EU will forever be under the US thumb if they fail to proliferate nuclear tech across the continent. – easymoden00b Sep 1 '17 at 15:42
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    The current US president should emphasize how fleeting and whimsical "national policy" can be. A nation with no interest today might not feel the same in a few years, or many years. The point is not only to stop likely, active development, but to take the option "off the table," for all time, for countries not currently inclined. Just as countries with very small economies and low carbon footprints are asked to sign onto greenhouse emission protocols now, before they develop, it makes perfect sense to bring everyone on board. Plus it's then going against a nearly unanimously accepted deal. – PoloHoleSet Sep 1 '17 at 16:36

The article you cite seems to answer both of your questions:

"The implication is that if the government signs the convention banning nuclear weapons, including on Swedish territory, it would impact both defence cooperation during peace time and the possibility of military support from the USA in a crisis situation," SvD claims.

In other words, the US would no longer be able to store nukes in - let alone launch them from - Swedish territory.

The treaty also includes provisions to reject US ships carrying nuclear weapons from using Swedish ports. (h/t S Vilcans)

  • But did the US actually store their nukes there? – JonathanReez Sep 1 '17 at 12:00
  • Cursory googling suggests that no. But Sweden has close ties with NATO, so it's imaginable that the US or some other country might need to land a nuke-armed bomber or sail a nuke sub there - in the event of a conflict for instance. – Denis de Bernardy Sep 1 '17 at 12:08
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    It would also include rejecting US ships carrying nuclear weapons from Swedish ports. – liftarn Sep 1 '17 at 12:17
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    I imagine all agreements will go out the window in case of a real nuclear conflict. – JonathanReez Sep 1 '17 at 12:21

I guess it is seen as a reinforcement of the Swedish anti-nuclear stance. Therefore it is partly symbolically. The UN vote which Sweden supports seems to go beyond just their own country. It could become international law in some way or another.

...Under the new treaty, signatory states must agree not to develop, test, manufacture or possess nuclear weapons, or threaten to use them, or allow any nuclear arms to be stationed on their territory. ...

Instead of scrapping their nuclear stocks, the UK and other nuclear powers want to strengthen the 1968 nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT), a pact that aims to prevent the spread of the weapons outside the original five nuclear powers: the US, Russia, Britain, France and China. ... The new treaty reflects a frustration among non-nuclear states that the NPT has not worked as hoped.

The reason they might think that the NPT has not worked as hoped may be that more and more nations have nuclear weapons (countries with nuclear weapons).

  • It cannot become international law as long as the Security Council is vetoed by 5 nuclear nations. – JonathanReez Sep 1 '17 at 12:50

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