Finland Parliament Committee Formally Recommends Joining NATO

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The Defense Committee in Finland’s parliament has formally recommended that the country join NATO, which would represent a substantial strategic blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It’s Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, of course, that’s provided much of the immediate backdrop for Finland’s recent deliberations.

Hundreds of miles worth of NATO members’ territory already sit alongside Russia, but Finland alone has a land border with the Putin-led country measuring over 800 miles — which would obviously substantially add to the total. Sweden, which sits alongside Finland on the side opposite Russia, has also been reported to be moving towards applying for membership in NATO, although neither Finland nor Sweden have formally undertaken the move — yet. According to Reuters, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto is “expected” to announce his stance on potential NATO membership for his country this Thursday. As summarized by Reuters, the defense committee in Finland’s parliament concluded that joining the alliance “is the best option for Finland to guarantee its national security.”

The committee was deliberating after updated policy statements from Finland’s government. Committee chairman and opposition leader Petteri Orpo, who’s with the National Coalition party, said: “Membership in NATO is the best solution for Finland’s security. It strengthens Finland’s national defence capability with the support of the union’s significant military resources.” It appears as though the Finnish parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee was also preparing its own findings on the prospect of linking up with the alliance. One of the most high-profile features of the alliance is that member countries agree to participate in the defense of other members if they’re attacked, which means Russia couldn’t attack a member of the alliance without garnering a military response from the United States. Although Ukraine has sought membership in NATO, it’s not a member.

Going forward, President Joe Biden has reiterated that the U.S. under his leadership remains committed to participating in the defense of NATO members’ territory. U.S. troops have participated in recent NATO troop build-ups on the eastern side of members’ territory in Europe, although there remains no indication of any plans for U.S. troops to participate in military confrontations with Russia, inside or outside of Ukraine. That reality contrasts with false claims from individuals like Fox host Tucker Carlson that Western interests are cultivating military conflict with Russia — Democrats are “taking us to war with Russia,” he said, which is simply utterly false. Putin himself has falsely claimed that Western interests were preparing to attack Russian territory before Putin’s war in Ukraine started in February — so Carlson is talking in a way that strikingly mirrors the murderous authoritarian Putin himself.

Carlson also said “many more Ukrainian civilians will die — certainly — thanks to the Biden administration’s policies” — which is utterly insane. He characterized American officials as prioritizing conflict over negotiations, which doesn’t accurately reflect the facts. Ukrainian and Russian representatives have engaged in extensive negotiations since early in the present conflict. And in the meantime, what are U.S. leaders supposed to do? Support the notion of Ukraine caving to Russian demands? Russian forces have inflicted utter devastation in locations they’ve occupied within Ukraine. Around the capital, Russian troops killed over 1,200 civilians — in Mariupol, they’re believed to have killed tens of thousands. They’ve forced civilians in occupied territory into so-called filtration camps where detainees have faced the possibilities of torture and execution if suspected of ties to interests like the Ukrainian government. Deals with Russia at any juncture that are favorable to Putin could potentially include giving territory over, since that’s what Putin is pursuing — allowing for more of these uncovered atrocities.