Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership received the strongest possible support in Washington. It is not just that they are sympathetic states.
United States strongly supports Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership. The message was conveyed firmly and clearly when President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson visited the White House this week. A first-class reception with bands and keynote speeches was reserved for northern guests in Washington.
According to President Joe Biden, Finland and Sweden meet all NATO membership requirements “and a little over”. Countries also make NATO stronger “not just because of their capacity but because they are strong, strong democracies”.
During the spring, the US leadership has given Finland and Sweden more attention than small countries could reasonably have hoped for. This is because Finland and Sweden have played an important role in this historical situation.
The United States and Europe drifted apart for a long time after U.S. attention shifted to Asia and the EU, like Hamlet, was tormented by whether or not to be an independent military force.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has opened this deadlock, at least for now. The Americans have found that the success of the Ukrainians on the battlefield offers an opportunity to significantly weaken Russia’s military power. On the other hand, it also has an impact on the balance of power on the main stage of the big game in Asia.
NATO has once again become important. The Russian threat has caused the alliance to return to the starting box. Biden said, “Standing together, we reject the faith where power is justice, and we proclaim a stronger faith: one for all and all for one.”
Security policy moreover, it is a matter of a struggle for ideas. In the United States, isolationism personified by Donald Trump has intensified in recent years. It sees the world as a zero-sum game where other countries try to take advantage of the United States, so the United States should stay away from world affairs unless there is a direct benefit.
Under discussion of Ukraine’s latest support package, Trump signaled that “Democrats will again send $ 40 billion more to Ukraine as parents in the United States fight to get food for their children”. Such thinking, in its cynicism, is close to the ideological world of authoritarian leaders and nationalist populist parties.
It is a great luck for Finland and Sweden that during the crisis, the White House has Biden and not Trump, who said at the Helsinki Summit in 2018 that he trusted more in Vladimir Putin than in the Americans’ own intelligence. Also important is that Senate Republican President Mitch McConnell has promised to advance the project quickly.
The United States the losses in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan strengthened support for isolation, but the war in Ukraine may reverse the trend. Behind the cynicism is the disappointed idealism. Actually, Americans are happiest to see themselves leading the forces of good against evil. Such a role just hasn’t been around for a long time, not until now.
The war in Ukraine has turned out to be a classic battle between good and evil – where good still wins. That’s the kind of stories Americans love. Despite Trump’s teasing, even 68 percent of Republican voters think Ukraine should provide military assistance. The war in Ukraine could give the Republican leadership a chance to take the party back from the Trump.
Finland’s and Sweden’s membership of NATO is beneficial in many ways in this situation: it is a defeat for Russia and a victory for NATO, but it also polishes NATO’s democratic and moral shield.
The editorials are HS’s statements on a topical issue. The writings are prepared by HS’s editorial staff and reflect the magazine principle.
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