NATO to extend its umbrella over Finland and Sweden
With Finland and Sweden about to officially reverse their decades-long neutral geopolitical stances by becoming NATO member nations, here is a quick reminder of what NATO is. From NATO’s website (bolded text by me):
Security in our daily lives is key to our well-being. NATO’s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.
POLITICAL - NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
MILITARY - NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under the collective defence clause of NATO's founding treaty - Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations.
President Biden on Thursday welcomed Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö to the White House Rose Garden to announce their desire to make NATO stronger. In his prepared remarks, Biden said:
The bottom line is simple, quite straightforward: Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger. Not just because of their capacity but because of their strong, strong democracies.
Let me be clear: New members joining NATO is not a threat to any nation. It never has been. NATO's purpose is to defend against aggression. That's its purpose, to defend.
*strong, strong democracies
In 1949, the 12 founding NATO members signed the Washington Treaty to collectively counter the Soviet Union and the growing Eastern Bloc. The military alliance may have initially constituted democracies but NATO can no longer be considered a pure bastion of democracy today. Granted, Finland ranked 2nd in the World Justice Project rule of law index in 2021, but Turkey, a current NATO member, ranked 117 out of 139 nations. (Note: Sweden was unranked and Russia ranked 101.)
In May 2019, Foreign Policy wrote of Turkey:
Turkey’s Supreme Election Council annulled Istanbul’s recent mayoral election, triggering many analysts and journalists to declare the end of Turkish democracy. But these pronouncements fail to reckon with a basic historical question: How could something end that never was?
That same year, Brookings wrote:
Erdoğan’s abandonment of inclusive politics in favor of exclusionary policies further aggravated Turkey’s societal polarization along conservative-religious and secular-progressive lines, complicating efforts to defend shared democratic values.
And yet Turkey remains 3 years later a proud NATO member. Only too often does the United States tout inspirational ideals to have facts rain on its parade.
*New members joining NATO is not a threat to any nation
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