Sweden Snubs Putin & Announces Intention To Join NATO

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The Swedish political party currently leading the country’s governing coalition has revealed support for joining NATO, “all but guaranteeing that the Nordic nation [will] end 200 years of neutrality and seek membership in the powerful Western military alliance,” The New York Times said on Sunday. The party in question is the country’s Social Democratic Party — the affiliation of Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

“We Social Democrats believe the best for Sweden and the Swedish people’s security is to join NATO… Military nonalignment has served Sweden well, but our conclusion is that it won’t serve us equally well in the future… This is not a decision to be taken lightly,” the prime minister said. Joining NATO, of course, would come against the backdrop of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s February invasion of Ukraine, which also led Finland — which lies between Sweden and Russia — to contemplate and eventually opt for applying for NATO membership, although their application isn’t submitted as best can be told. Putin and his regime consistently oppose NATO, making the potential addition of Finland and Sweden to the alliance yet another strategic setback for the authoritarian Russian leader.

Andersson indicated her party was opposed to joining NATO on March 8, but as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has dragged on, and as domestic political interests in Sweden have contemplated the most constructive path forward, the party’s stance has shifted. According to the Times, a substantial portion of the opposition in Sweden’s parliament is already supportive of joining NATO. The alliance rests in part on a commitment by members to participate in the defense of other member countries if those fellow members are attacked, meaning that Sweden and Finland joining up with the alliance would mean Russia couldn’t attack either country without apparently garnering a military response from the U.S. President Joe Biden has reiterated that the U.S. remains committed to participating in the defense of NATO members’ territory under his leadership. Trump established that he’s not committed to the same (although he’s obviously not in power but could be in the future) — which could easily provide an opening for Russia to target U.S. allies.

According to the Times, Sweden and Finland are slated to hold parliamentary debate Monday over applying for membership in NATO. Not all voices in Sweden’s government back seeking membership in the alliance in question — Ali Esbati, a Swedish MP in the country’s Left Party, said the country “want[s] to keep our freedom to decide what conflicts we want to get involved in, and it’s not clear that being part of a military alliance with a nuclear doctrine makes Sweden safer.” Besides NATO’s stance against Putin, leaders of the G7 group of nations are also continuing their united front against the Russian regime’s devastating violence. Officials from those countries recently said in a joint statement that they “commit to phase out our dependency on Russian energy, including by phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil” — a likely major hit to the Russian economy helping explain why reported internal numbers from Russia’s Finance Ministry suggest the country will see a 12 percent reduction in gross domestic product this year.