Head of State

Carl Bildt is Foreign Minister of Sweden. In the 1990s he was Prime Minister of Sweden. Today, he has an op-ed on internet freedom that opens with an anecdote:

A decade and a half ago, when I was prime minister of Sweden, then-President Bill Clinton and I had the first e-mail exchange between heads of state. Already our two nations were at the forefront of the technological revolution about to transform our world.

I don’t necessarily expect Americans to grasp the distinction, since our President is both head of state and head of government, but Sweden’s prime minister is not a head of state. The King of Sweden is the head of state and when he dies Crown Princess Victoria will take over.

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As for his take on Internet freedom, I’m all for Internet freedom. But what does something like “We should now forge a new transatlantic partnership for protecting and promoting the freedoms of cyberspace” really amount to? I wish I could say that this nitpicking distracts from Bildt’s real point, but I’m not sure what his real point is.