The West is rapidly equipping itself to hold its own in the new world order.
NATO countries gathered in Madrid for the summit outwardly united but internally fractured. Even though mutual tensions were tried to be hidden, they were especially visible to Finns and Swedes. Cross-pulling is a risk for NATO, because the strength of the military alliance is based on unity.
On the eve of the summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was under pressure to clear the way for Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership. It worked. Turkey agreed to support the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden – at least until the NATO countries get the accession protocols of Finland and Sweden signed on Tuesday.
The memorandum of understanding drawn up by Finland and Sweden with Turkey still comes back to Finland and Sweden in many ways. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a bitter reminder of this at the end of the summit. Erdoğan threatened to delay the ratification of the accession protocols as long as he wants. However, next week’s stages are not blocked by Turkey, and that is important. As observer members, Finland and Sweden can participate in NATO meetings.
Last the series of summits in the past few days – first the leaders of the EU countries, then the G7 countries and, finally, NATO – make it clear that the West is rapidly equipping itself to hold its own in the new world order. The old world order was torn apart on February 24, when Russia illegally invaded its sovereign neighboring country, Ukraine. Finland responded to the attack by joining NATO.
NATO is a central part of the new West, and Finland and Sweden are part of NATO’s major transformation. Russia is no longer a partner, but an enemy. There is a threat of a great war in Europe. On the front lines of Ukraine, the war cools down into a raging war of consumption. For the European NATO countries, the return of the Cold War means a new round of equipment and the militarization of security policy.
Now we talk with guns, even though the values are opposite. Two systems can be compared: democratic and authoritarian. However, authoritarian China is still watching from the sidelines how Russia is doing. For the new West, China is not only a competitor, but also a potential security threat. For the United States, Russia is a persistent nuisance. The great power’s strategic focus has already shifted to the Indo-Pacific region.
It annoys Turkey that NATO’s attention is in the north and Russia and that Turkey does not get support for its own security concerns in the south. Turkey does not want to commit itself very strongly to the confrontation between NATO and Russia. It was heard in Madrid.
Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted NATO to be Finnish, but he got Finland to be Finnish, summed up US President Joe Biden at the summit in Madrid.
Biden’s jubilant comparison is somewhat embarrassing for Finland, but it can be considered as one indication that the United States is, at least right now, very committed to guaranteeing the security of Europe and that NATO is strong.
It hasn’t been long since the American president was feared to dissolve the entire NATO. Even if Biden gets a successor who does not have a strong relationship with Europe or even NATO, it is strategically wise for Finland to face the challenges of a new period of uncertainty as a military alliance.
If the United States were ever to withdraw from NATO’s Article 5 joint defense, NATO’s credibility would go and the alliance would disintegrate. The new European security community would probably be built on the basis of NATO’s European structures. Even now, however, the new west is still taking shape.
The attention paid by the United States to Finland’s security concerns is vital. If Biden wants to call Finland’s adolescence a nativation, that’s an honor.
The editorials are HS’s positions on a current topic. The articles are prepared by HS editorial staff, and they reflect the magazine principle line.
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