Finland Likely To Apply For NATO Membership, In Blow To Putin

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Finland “is expected to announce its interest in NATO membership as soon as this week after its Foreign Affairs Committee drafts a response to the government’s security report — which includes the option of joining the alliance,” a new CNN analysis says — and for Finland to seek NATO membership would be a high-profile strategic blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin. (UPDATE: A different committee in the Finnish parliament recommended membership, and the process is continuing.)

It’s Putin’s war against Ukraine, of course, that’s provided some of the immediate backdrop for Finland’s contemplation of joining NATO. Finland and Russia share a land border that’s some 800 miles long, and although hundreds of miles worth of NATO members’ territory already sits alongside Russia, adding Finland to the mix would obviously represent a substantial increase. One of the most high-profile elements of the alliance is the agreement by members to participate in the defense of other member countries if they’re attacked, meaning that Russia couldn’t militarily attack a NATO member without garnering consequences in the form of a U.S. military response. President Joe Biden recently reiterated that the U.S. remains committed to participating in the defense of NATO members’ territory.

Following Finnish parliamentary debate, “At this point it is very likely NATO would invite the country to talk about accession to the alliance,” that CNN analysis states. “It is broadly believed this would happen very quickly, as Finland already meets most of the criteria and it’s highly unlikely any NATO members would object.” And many members of the general public in Finland evidently support the idea of joining the alliance. Multiple surveys have found support for the idea standing at least at 60 percent, a marked increase from previous caps in public support within Finland for joining NATO of around 30 percent.

Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb — who’s obviously in an authoritative position to speak about the issue — credited his country’s security stance to elements including “realism.” “Finnish security has always been based on two concepts: first geography and history; second idealism and realism… In an ideal world we want to cooperate with Russia, which we cannot escape being our geographical neighbor. But we also know from history that the greatest realistic threat to our national security is Russia. Over time, the reality that Russia is willing to create greater chaos in our region has become even clearer, so joining NATO becomes the pragmatic option,” Stubb said. Sweden, which neighbors Finland on the side opposite from Russia, has also been reportedly moving towards applying for membership in NATO, although neither country has yet formally declared their intentions to do so. “I do not exclude NATO membership in any way,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson recently remarked.

Putin claimed in a recent speech that Western interests were supposedly “preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea” before the war in Ukraine, which is obviously nonsense — although the notion of Western aggression towards Russia has been supported by Fox’s Tucker Carlson, who claims Western interests are intentionally cultivating conflict with Putin’s regime. “It’s always been bonkers, the idea that a Western country would invade Russia, but we have tried to minimize those concerns by boosting trade and cooperating in other areas,” Finnish global security researcher Charly Salonius-Pasternak recently stated of his country. But that’s not working out. Read more at this link.